How to Nudge People Toward Dragons

Opportunity often knocks before you’re ready.

A brief dialog from the movie, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, illustrates the power of “nudges”.


if you're refering to that incident with the dragon all i did was give your uncle a little nudge out the door

Frodo Baggins: “Before you (Gandalf) came along, we Bagginses were well thought of. We never had any adventures or did anything unexpected.”

Gandalf: “Indeed. If you’re referring to that incident with the dragon, all I did was give your uncle a little nudge out of the door.

Frodo Baggins: Whatever you did, you’ve been officially labeled a disturber of the peace.


If you’re fortunate, someone “nudged” you.

Remember the first meeting you led? The first tough conversation? You wanted the opportunity. You needed a nudge.

My first public presentation was to a high school assembly. I was sixteen. I only THOUGHT I was ready.

How to nudge:

#1. Ask people to do things they haven’t done.

FIRSTS are exponential growth moments.  Usually growth is gradual. Sometimes, like learning to ride a bike, it’s frightening.

You grow when you do something for the first time.

#2. Instill confidence with 4 questions.

  1. What qualities do you have that will serve you well in this new challenge?
  2. How have you succeeded with challenges in the past?
  3. What do past failures warn you to do now?
  4. What does support look like to you?

Don’t simply tell people what you see in them. Ask them what they see in themselves.

#3. The secret to growth is feedback.

Two nudge-lessons from my first presentation.

First, I was too foolish to know the principal was giving me this opportunity because he was committed to my future. I needed to hear, “I want you to succeed.”

Second, I didn’t receive feedback. Perhaps silence was perceived as kindness. It wasn’t.

Timely feedback stabilizes growth and expands potential.

How might leaders nudge people out the door?

What might a growth-feedback plan look like?