No One of Us Is as Smart as All of Us—Treat People as Partners
New Book Giveaway!
20 copies available!!
Leave a comment on this guest post by Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley to become eligible for one of 20 complimentary copies of their new book, “Simple Truths of Leadership: 52 Ways to be a Servant Leader and Build Trust.“
Deadline for eligibility is 2/5/2022. International winners will receive electronic version.
NOTE: Giveaway has been fulfilled.
“No One of Us Is as Smart as All of Us” is a simple truth of leadership that is common sense—why isn’t it common practice?
Some leaders think all the brains are in their office.
Self-serving leaders spend lots of time trying to prove they are in charge. They think it’s their job to look over everyone’s shoulder and check that things are being done ‘correctly’. Sadly, these leaders miss the reality that people are capable of much more than they are given credit for.
Trustworthy servant leaders let people bring their brains to work.
These leaders see team members as partners, not subordinates. They understand leadership is about working side-by-side with people, freely communicating and sharing information.
How can you encourage and strengthen high-performing teams?
#1. Face the facts.
The people around you already know you don’t know everything.
People don’t buy it when you act like you have all the answers. They know you don’t. There’s no shame in admitting you aren’t perfect. In fact, it will demonstrate vulnerability and help you earn their trust.
#2. Ask for help.
When you have a problem to solve, let your people know you need their suggestions. Involving people in decision-making is smart—and the best way to respect people’s experience and insight.
#3. Respect contribution
Worried that some team members are thinking of joining the “Great Resignation”? Acknowledge their hard work and explain why their role in the company is important.
When people feel valued, they think less about jumping ship.
You know how much you need everyone on your team. So tell them. Treat them as partners. Let them know you value their strengths and their input. You’ll quickly realize it’s the best way to lead.
How might leaders treat people like partners?
Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley talk leadership with Dan Rockwell:
Listen to Ken and Randy talk about pivotal moments in their journey. Ken talks about Egos Anonymous.
Ken Blanchard/Randy Conley:
Ken Blanchard is the bestselling author or coauthor of more than 65 books including the iconic The One Minute Manager®, and Chief Spiritual Officer of The Ken Blanchard Companies®. Randy Conley is Vice President of Global Professional Services and Trust Practice Leader for The Ken Blanchard Companies and author of the award-winning Leading with Trust blog. Their new book, Simple Truths of Leadership: 52 Ways to Be a Servant Leader and Build Trust, illustrates how, when servant leadership is effectively implemented, trust abounds among leaders and their people.
Note added 2/1/2022 at 1:40 p.m. ET: The number of books Ken and Randy are giving away is 20. I mistakenly posted the number as 25.
I have a hard time asking for help.
I am working on that right now. Servant leadership is the best leadership model.
Love the idea of letting people “bring their brains to work.” It does show trust.
What the world needs now is to read this book!! Especially everyone in congress and the senate !!
Working with a ‘know-it-all’ is a real challenge; I love centering the concept of “everyone already knows you don’t know everything”; it invites others in to be part of a team-based effort, and helps to create real esprit de corps. As Jerry Greenfield once said: “If it’s not fun, why do it”?
Allowing others to contribute and add ideas is always good. Sometimes others outside the situation think they need to add direction, thus muddying the waters or causing paralysis.
Does a quote count as a comment? 😉
I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow.
#1 is a real challenge for those who are afflicted with Imposter Syndrome. And I’ve experienced organizations that don’t tolerate “not knowing”.
Excellant thoughts here, thank you!
This is some great advice. So true!
Develop a corporate culture that empowers and embodies collective wisdom!
These are great points. Allowing time and a forum for team members to share their input, ideas, and concerns is crucial. We are moving so fast that often not seeking team input is more due to being too busy, than not valuing their brains. Nevertheless, too busy and unvalued are perceived the same. Oh, and once we ask for ideas… we have to provide feedback to the team members that offer them!
So many leaders I know have trouble with some of these ideas but they go such a long way to strengthening a team. I love this.
Thanks for the opportunity to constantly develop my leadership skillset (both formal leader and informal) and so appreciative of these bite sized posts. Servant leadership is my style of choice and look forward to reading this “Simple Truths…” book, regardless of how I receive it. Thank you!!!
Trust is extremely important when it comes to Servant Leadership and empowering your people as most often they will step up to the challenge as long as the support is there. Additionally, I think truly listening to people is a critical component in leadership, and not simply listening to respond but truly hearing them out and partnering with them on solutions. I have found these areas make an incredible difference in being an effective leader.
These are great reminders on how to engage as a better leader.
Also, by using a “team approach” rather than a “me approach”, you gain buy-in from your team. They become mentally and emotionally invested in the work when they are involved and help shape the work.
Really smart the non controling humble leader should be like
I was just talking about this very thing yesterday. Such a timely post for me.
Being Transparent and honest when working problems is the best approach! People appreciate it and it helps build a collegial team.
Not a big fan of ” Common Sense” , common to who? COMMON SENSE is not diverse or inclusive, one person’s common sense is another person’s mystery.
I favor saying…sound judgment.
I’d love a discussion on what Mitch brought up — group think leading to analysis paralysis. Does seeking contributions have to be done as a group or 1×1? Is there a difference between a group creating a process (think whiteboards and brainstorming) vs. seeking out feedback but still having one person (or small group) create the process? What can a leader do to move the group forward without bogging down or appearing to be dictatorial?
I think this might another version of the travel far/travel fast idea. The group intelligence is much more likely to hit paralysis by analysis. The single intelligence has higher chance of being wrong. Choose your risk, I guess!
Ken is one of my favorites! Servant Leadership has to be more than a trendy phrase to use….it has to become the foundation of how teams think about driving culture. I look forward to reading this book!
I’m an educational administrator. Just yesterday, I gained three additional teachers to lead when a colleague took a different position in our school. My initial email to my “new” teachers had the subject line “A new partnership!” This post affirms I am on the right track with that mindset. I look forward to reading “Simple Truths” and practicing a new principle each week for a whole year of growth.
I love this, “The people around you already know you don’t know everything.” How reinforcing to know leaders aren’t/and don’t have to be perfect! The 3 ‘smarter together’ points form a solid foundation for leaders in any role!
Thank you so much.
It is a real gift to be in the ‘same room’ as the three of you.
‘Leadership is about who you are (values) rather than what you do. It starts with a heart transplant,’
But we struggle with that, because we want a quick fix.
‘Wasting time’ starting the day slowly, as per John Maxwell, doesn’t appeal to us, because there are so many things we could do and fix in that time!!! Until we burn out and have nothing to give.
And, yet, we still think we need to be prefect to be good…
Having served in leadership positions for many years, the inverted triangle works well – being a coach and mentor, rather than “the boss”. If people can speak openly vs.. what they think you want to hear is a magical moment for most…I look forward to reading the book
Excellent post. Certainly something to strive for in the workplace.
Great advice! There is no doubt my colleagues know that I don’t know it all.
Great article as usual. So many things that one thinks one knows but still needs to learn.
In this tumultuous time, it is more important than ever for leaders to include their team in the processes which create growth, both personal and organizational. This tends to fill the need to be heard and to contribute to the “big picture”. It is a basic tenet that individual will go where they feel they are contributing and are appreciated.
This is so true and hard to teach and explain to my younger leaders. I will be sharing this post with them to help them better understand that they don’t have to know everything. It is more important to coordinate what is happening, then to try to know it all. If we can collect the right people in the right jobs, we can better utilize everyone’s skills and knowledge and everyone feels like they have some ownership in what we do. A great and timely post!
This is so true. I try to surround myself with people who bring different talents and different perspectives.
This is wonderful. I have just started a new leadership position where I will be building a new department and team and I really want to be a servant leader where my team feels heard, seen, respected, and incredibly valued so that we can really do some incredible and innovative work together.
This also highlights the importance and value of diversity. Diversity of thought, contribution, perspective, ideas. Our best decisions are made with multiple inputs of information and ideas.
I enjoyed the line “The people around you already know you don’t know everything.”
This is a tough one, having been on both sides.
I’ve had the leader that doesn’t pay attention to the others, and we knew what they didn’t know.
I’ve also been the lead on a team, where I’ve had the thoughts of “I’ll talk with these people, but not these people” as not everyone on the team appears (my interpretation of events) to care enough, or recognize the direction they should be headed (they do what people ask and expect).
I guess with the “We’ll be around longer if we do what the higher ups ask.” people I will need to focus more on #3 “Respect contribution” Even if I feel the contribution is minimal to the real objectives and more focused on appearing helpful and valuable.
I’m still learning about balance when it comes to chasing business objectives or appeasing the requests of those a level above.
Thank you for posting about Servant Leadership. The concept that originated from Stanley Greenleaf has certainly taken hold in many organizations.
Exactly the kind of culture I want to cultivate in my role as a supervisor. The best ideas come from collaboration.
Good stuff! Big Blanchard fan here.
I have seen lack of acknowledgement of #1 be the downfall of too many leaders. A previous comment attributed it to “imposter syndrome.” I disagree. I attribute it to narcissism.
The shift from I to we is one of the many shifts we need to make when we first step into a leadership role. It is not always easy especially since you probably achieve your role by your own smarts.
I love this! Another great one Dan. Leaders, break those silos and lower the high perched thrones, YOU are NOT always the smartest in the room…the collective of all minds are! hmm… was Borg right? lol
I absolutely Love #2. Especially if the problem involves the team! The people closest to the problem are the best to solve it. I hear many leaders shy away from asking for help because they’ve been burned in the past when they asked the team for feedback and then didn’t use it. The team feels like they “weren’t heard” and are disgruntled. In my experience, asking for help isn’t a one-way, once and done conversation. Keep the team engaged so they understand how and why their feedback was used.
This is all too often a lesson that many coworkers and leaders fail to realize. No one knows it all and collectively we know so much more!
Your tagline “No one of us is as smart as all of us” is perfect for helping to understand why an inclusive and diverse team operates best. Timely for me.
In 1980 I asked my boss for his best advice on stepping up to manager. Dennis Burggraf didn’t hesitate on this: When you’re the boss, people will give you perhaps 70% of their best because you’re the boss. They may give you 75% because they think your actually competent. And maybe as much as 80% if they like you. But people will give you 110% when they know you have their best interest at heart.”
That is the spirit of servant leadership, to care enough about the people who report to you to make it about them, their lives and families, to see yourself in a fiduciary relationship to serve them and the ultimate customers of the enterprise.
Great reminder from Dan, Ken and Randy on the heartbeat of servant leadership!
Well said. Your Manger was a very smart man. I am stealing his quote and adding it to my list of quotes.
Great post in shifting the paradigm for those who lead. I work in education as a leader and you would think this would be the norm, but we still have those who are do not work to talk the contributions of others nor work as a team, which does not help the community or organization move forward. Thank you for validating the work I am building as a budding campus leader!
Great topic and always important and impactful stuff from Mr. Blanchard & co.
I strive to be a partner with my teachers instead of the boss. It is difficult because so many times, the buck stops with me. I must trust our teachers and staff as they develop the mindset of doing what is right for our kids. “We” teach our students, and as a leader I must recognize the expertise in our teachers – they are with the students far more than I am. Trust each other.
I’ve been following Blanchard since it was Blanchard & Hersey back in the mid-1980s. Excellent content and practical applications to move toward a more effective leadership method. If people are treated with respect and with a sense they have also have expertise, then the open feedback to solve problems will never occur.
Love this! I always try to make sure I have everyone’s best interest in mind. Things get accomplished when we work as a team!
I find this approach becomes even more important when you are working with cross organizational teams. I work to get out of the way of the experts on the team and play to everyone’s strength. I see my role as providing vision, framing up the problems we need to solve, high level direction, etc… and then letting the teams work together to come up with the plan & the solutions.
I believe leaders think they have to be perfect, whether that is real pressure or something they’ve internalized as an attribute of a “leader”. Perfect is such hard work. Great lessons about a great leadership model.
Spot on! One of the best qualities of a leader is to be humble. Together we are stronger than alone! I have been extremely fortunate over my many years of leadership to have worked with many such leaders, mentors, and coaches. You don’t have to be in a formal leadership position to be a leader – yet – you must be real and genuinely include others. You absolutely MUST build relationships and respect the value we ALL have! It’s palpable when this does or doesn’t exist in a culture. And it’s amazing to watch people bloom and grow a solid and healthy team. 🙂
This is excellent advice! I love it.
Thank you for the great advice. Recently moved from lead worker to supervisor – learning the ropes as I go along. Loved: “The people around you already know you don’t know everything.” Had my first unit meeting with my staff yesterday and admitted to just this thing. Thanks again for the great lessons about leadership. It is very much appreciated.
Such great concepts to live by presented so clearly! These are not always easy to do, but the long-term rewards make them so worthwhile.
I really liked the comment “The people around you already know you don’t know everything.” !! It’s a great reminder that no-one expects us to be perfect or even perfect managers all the time. I agree with some of the other comments made that some companies don’t reward you for ‘not knowing’ and often our teams come to us because they think we have most of the answers…..yet admitting that no-one has all the answers is a good step in team-building. No-one is an island, no-one knows everything, and we can work together to find the answers….making us all smarter.
right on target
Appreciate the overview of this new book and will add it to my reading list. I work in education and have faced the toughest leadership time in over 20 years. Always seeking new strategies to engage the team, shift perspectives and encourage growth. Love the idea of respect contribution and finding ways beyond affirmation to draw that out more for the good of the team and for the benefit of our students.
Great post, but these posts are always spot on. Enjoy reading this every day. 🙂
I’m always working to be a servant leader. I look forward to reading this book!
I love the fact that my company uses servant leadership regularly.
#1 is tough, not because leaders think that they actually know anything but I know a lot of leaders (myself included) who feel that they need to “bring something to the table” so they come off as having all the answers. This book would be an interesting read.
I love this statement: “You don’t have to be great to serve, but you have to serve to be a great leader”. Thanks for sharing. I’ll definitely check this one out.
Servant Leadership is great skillset when executed masterfully!
I love more knowledge on servant leadership, as a servant leader moving from being self-serving to serving others.
Self-aware servant leaders are focused more on the success of their team and organization than on their personal achievements or advancement.
I do not think I have all the answers but I also do not know how to pick my colleagues brains without being a burden for them.
Assuming that you are being a burden on them is underestimating their strengths and leads you to be a RESCUER (which in my opinion is depriving people of opportunities to learn).
Hope this helps.
I love this! One of my favorite quotes is “build a team so strong you don’t know who the boss it” and I think this post supports that ideology. It is so important that your team feels that their environment is a safe space to share ideas and feedback. Those who are doing the day to day tasks are often the ones who have the best ideas for improvement.
So true! We are only as strong as our weakest link and our best leaders “ask” and “listen” to what the staff suggest. Putting those suggestions into action takes the whole team. thank you
I think this is really powerful. It brings me back to the sayings that circulate that say something to the point of “Don’t hire smart people and then tell them what to do.”
As a leader, I want to bring in the best talent possible. I don’t want to them hamstring them or curtail their progress by being a know-it-all.
Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Not knowing is OK! As long as you’re honest and open and build that trust.
I would love a copy and learn how to implement servant leadership skills.
I cannot wait to read this book! We talk about servant leadership as a school admin team and this book will continue to guide our vision.
I try to focus on the end goal and ask the team to figure out how to get us there. Along the way if you can change anything to make it better please do. Throw out a form, skip a step, drop an unnecessary process.
“When people feel valued, they think less about jumping ship” – YES!! As a leader, getting to know your team on a personal level is one the most important steps you can take to build their trust. When they know you have their back and that you will listen to their concerns, they feel valued and are more willing to put in the hard work for the success of the team.
Great reminders regardless of the title or role. Even on a personal level with a spouse or significant other, these are such . There’s something about reading it and seeing it that makes us ponder and be reflective. Strive to leave the day better and with a caring open-mind.
Teamwork has long been a key to success. Instilling a sense of being part of THE team is an essential first step. Good article, thank you.
Great reminder of the importance of distributes leadership. Building leadership teams can be quite a process and in my opinion when these teams are effectively built processes and products will be enhanced
So true! I have to say it has it home when you work for an organization does not practice this. When not practiced the culture and the productivity suffer.
Trying to shift a culture from the model of the leader is in charge, has been a struggle. Employees have long been shown that someone is watching over you and essentially is controlling your success or failure with the organization. As a servant leader, it is about trusting that my contributions are what help the organization to succeed. I am committed to bringing my best self to work, because not only do I value success for myself, I also value that success for the organization.
When your leader is vulnerable and willing to show their opportunities and acknowledge their mistakes, employees build trust with their leader and will begin trusting the organization as well. Great article today!
Great ideas! I like the idea of leadership is working side-by-side with people. This gives leaders a visual of what that looks like! Thank you!
We are a 110 year old hospitality company and use EOS and the Great Game of Business to build a meaningful business for our employees. I could tell you dozens of ways our company has progressed by bottom up management.
Denise kicked off the conversation saying she had trouble asking for help. I like to think of it as being curious. What would you do in this situation? Exploring someone else’s experiences, values, contributions, ways of articulating the situation — all can provide grist for your own grind mill.
It happened to me last week when someone suggested an approach. Yep, there was a faint (maybe more than faint) sense of embarrassment that she brought a great idea that I thought I should have had but more importantly was the sense that we crafted an approach together that was better than what we would have done separately.
And since she is new, it gave us a chance to build a deeper connection.
Thank you Dan for the post from Ken and Randy! Servant leadership is definitely the way to go and has been amazing to see in action at each step of my journey. That is until my most recent stop! Question….how do you overcome team members that see you daily model servant leadership but know they don’t have to pick up something off the floor or move a box or keep something organized because they know if they wait long enough you will eventually do it? And these are younger folks who are good people but it seems the motivation is not there no matter how much servant leadership I model or cast vision or inspire to hit goals or sit down and listen to their dream and goals for life, etc. Help please! I would appreciate your advice and guidance on this. I will definitely have to read this book!
It has been said that if you are the smartest person in the room then you are in the wrong room. Thank you for being upfront about the leader being open to input. You hired these people to help your vision. If you didn’t trust them you shouldn’t have hired them. Listen to them and then do what great leaders do… make the best decision you can based on the data you have. This type of leader is who people want to follow. We all want to be valued.
Thank you for the inspiration and forcing me to always reevaluate myself. It always make me a better person!!
Working with a new Leader right now and this is very helpful in reinforcing the importane of asking for help and being vulnerable.
a healthy, productive, and inspiring approach. appreciate the opportunity to continue to learn and grow with this insight.
All I can say is Amen! I agree 100%. All team members should be treated as valuable, intelligent people. We all have 50-70 talents to be shared!
One person can’t do it all, in fact, that’s a dangerous narrow way of thinking. That’s why you hire a team to help the organization with their mission. I firmly believe, if you hire the right people and collaborate well together you can do nearly anything. When we have tough issues at my organization, we often say let’s take it to the “Brain” – meaning let’s ask the group/team about it. I’m interested in reading the book as there is always something new to learn!
Really great tips. We need others around us to make a strong team. No one should be flying solo. I need to remember that someone else’s contribution doesn’t lessen mine.
As we work through uncertain times, this post really resonates with me. Together we are more innovative, creative and stronger that we are as individuals.
If our goal is truly to develop a strong organization, everyone needs to know and feel that their input is desired, respected, and when called for, acted upon. Most importantly, this cannot “just” be said. It has to be seen by all to have a chance to be believed by all.
Servant leadership is one of the most valuable approaches to leadership I have ever been exposed to. So glad to see this new book from two esteemed leadership thought leaders. Their cumulative wisdom is certain to bring lessons to us all.
I definitely like to involve team members in decision-making and tapping into their experience and insight!
Building trust is key to any partnership, work or personal. And it can be negatively affected by so many variables, known or unknown. Having a solid foundation is important for leaders.
Thank you for providing us content that really explains the benefits to society of appreciating and honoring our differences as a positive influence for the whole. When leaders understand this concept they are better able to coach and lead our employees and our world to peace and better outputs. Thank you for this treat this morning.
Although the saying is an old one, it is important to review. We are not always guilty of not accepting input because of our egos. We sometimes get too much in a hurry or the frantic pressures of the job compels us to think inward.
Thanks for the reminder for inclusive leadership. The book looks like a great one.
I will be very interested to read this book. Servant leadership is a model I tend to be rather cautious of when I see it in others. Are they truly servant leaders or do they derive their personal value on what others think of them? If it’s the latter, they can’t be relied upon to stick to their values in an unwavering manner in an ethical dilemma. In fact, they will be hard to trust at all. That said, it’s always a delight to be proved wrong. 😉
“Every person you meet knows something you don’t.”
I may be guilty of asking for too much input? Is that possible?
I don’t know if it’s just a need for approval or what… I really do care what my team members think, and I know they see things where I might have a blind spot.
This works best when you have hired well.. I’ve made a couple of “less than positive” hires, and then asked for input, and it was not a good thing.
I’m trying very hard to instill in my team leaders the skill of asking and listening from their team members… but it goes much farther when I’m consistently do this!
Randy has created an interest in Rachel Botsman’s “Who Can You Trust? How Technology Brought Us Together and Why It Might Drive Us Apart” Trust is a key to successful leadership. How to establish and how to maintain is paramount to success.
I am guilty of not asking for help, but then asking for peoples input. Want to be a servant leader and it is so important to earn peoples trust. Would love to win a book!
Great advice within this statement….”Involving people in decision-making is smart—and the best way to respect people’s experience and insight.”
So very thankful for mr Blanchard and his heart
Thank you for this article and for these book give aways.
We’re doing a module on Trust in one of my doctoral classes. One of my students forwarded this to me because she thought it was perfect with our topic. I shared it with the rest of the class. Great ideas to stimulate discussion! Thank you!
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Thank you for this opportunity to gain insight from you and your guests! Shared decision making is one of the most challenging aspects of leadership. It’s true that the best ideas to explore are those from someone else. We never learn anything from speaking. If you surround yourself with similar thinkers, you may be missing the boat on progress. It’s also hard to accept that we must hire a diverse group of thinkers in order to be creative with problem solving. Thank you, Dan!
Servant Leaders are the future of customer-centric organizations.
While serving the customers, internal staff need to be treated equally like partners to deliver the best products or services to match their expectations. Today’s competitive market place demands innovative ways of rendering customer satisfaction to make them loyal and committed. .
I think we all have times when we think we know best and we try to do it all alone.This is a good article the reminds us why that is a bad idea.
In education we talk a lot about collaborative leadership and the importance of building and maintaining relationships so that we can make decisions together. This has been particularly important over the past two years as we have changed our instructional delivery models multiple times.
Learning to lead, learning to serve, and learning to ask for help!
As humans we have a tendency to over complicate things and allow our pride to get in the way. Pride can be such a barrier for most of us when we work with others. Being humble is hard but allows for the most rewarding relationships as a professional and as a human being. This whole post is about not letting our pride become an obstacle. That can take years and plenty of experiences to recognize and master. The most humble leaders are the most respected and best teams leaders.
“I don’t know” is a perfectly acceptable answer to any question as long as you then follow up by trying to find an answer.
I love it when you offer more help with the give aways. It’s double the knowledge….
I think that one of the focus of diversity initiatives is value that it places on the opinions of a larger group of people with different backgrounds and experiences. Unless you are a servant leader and follow these principles as outlined it won’t matter who expresses a view on a topic, since you will ignore it.
Interesting, Looks like a good read.
“The people around you already know you don’t know everything.” so true! We can spend so much energy in trying to hide that we don’t have all the answers that we forget that the person in front of us just might have it!
The tension that I have is that I know that I’ve done all the thinking that I can think of on my own, yet asking for help is a work in progress.
These are good reminders. Before becoming a manger and a leader in my former organization, I remember how much I appreciated being invited to contribute, being asked what I knew, having my understanding and knowledge validated by my supervisors. Now in a new organization w/ a new team, I am revisiting these tactics to build and retain trust among my new colleagues. Great post!
I have long loved Ken Blanchard’s work and the Simple Truths publications. I often recommend these wonderful “little books” as I call them to my attendees when I present locally and nationally as wonderful mentoring, team workshop or in-service meetings or sessions. Can’t wait to read this one and add it to my collection. Great post as always and a great reminder to all of us in leadership roles.
Being a servant leader in this day/age is tough. We have so much working against us socially, culturally, and there are precious few models of servant leaders to point to. It’s so easy to grab social significance and miss the reality that what’s missing is internal significance. Those who aren’t afraid to allow others to excel are the people who are most assured of their own identity and value. You can’t lead people effectively if you’re constantly needing them to submit to you.
I am definitely going to remember the “the people around you already know you don’t know everything” for myself and the nonprofit leaders I coach.
Great piece! Humility and admitting to not knowing all the answers?! KEY POINT!