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Master the Commander’s Intent

The commander's intent is the idea that instead of managing people's actions directly (or micromanaging), you create a shared understanding/context of the goal to be achieved, the value obtained by achieving it, and what success looks like.

You then create the space for the people doing the work to decide how they will achieve the goal and what things they'll need.

This creates ownership, allows the team to be autonomous on their way to achieving the goal, and creates less work for you.

You should spend time explaining the strategy to the team, what parts of that strategy you need them to achieve, how that fits into the broader strategy, any assumptions you've made, and let them tell you how they will do it and measure their progress.

To put things together in an example, imagine you are leading an army and need to take over a hill. One way would be to meticulously plan every detail of the operation and assign tasks to everyone involved.

The problem is that plans go out the window when deviations need to be made - as they often do in business.

Your teams will experience a sense of powerlessness as they are not equipped with the context and understanding of what needs to be done or the decision-making ability.

It then falls to you as the leader to set a new course.

A better way to approach the situation is to explain the importance of taking the hill to the teams, how it fits into future plans and what it enables, a map of the area, and what intelligence we already have that has shaped our assumptions.

From there, leave the room and let the teams figure out their approach and what help they need - then get them what they need.

With this approach, when situations change on the fly, the goals don't change as often, but the team can change their approach without your direct management.