What Battle Are You Fighting with David Burkus

If you want to make real and lasting change in your work environment, you have to start from a place of clarity about your actual situation. You have to understand where you are at relative to your company’s mission and what things are in your control to change for better outcomes. This week, author and speaker David Burkus shares ideas for finding what your team will fight for, and understanding the stakes that show why that fight is necessary.

“There is a bad future that will happen and a good future that will happen, and we’re actually in control of that based on how seriously we take it,” Burkus says. Oftentimes, companies talk about the idea of purpose, instead of a fight. While purpose focuses on something positive that teams can work together to create, a fight demonstrates the stakes and gives teams the challenge they need for bonding and motivation. It’s a rallying cry, he says, that brings together every member of the group in service of something greater.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Find something for your team to rally around
  • Move from accepting a purpose to understanding the stakes
  • Choose to change
  • Find the connections that lead to opportunity
  • Start from a place of clarity


“I think that work-life balance is a myth or is a fool’s errand because if you work in an environment that’s toxic, that drains you, that frustrates you, you drag that home with you; you drag that to your friends. … The spheres of our life intersect.” -David Burkus

“We’re terrible at forecasting and so the devil you know, the enemy and the toxicity that you actually know and can handle sounds better than looking for something else.” -David Burkus

“Just as odd to me that people don’t leave and go do something that’s more inspiring, it’s odd to me that a lot of leaders don’t feel the urgency to level up their actual organization, as well.” -David Burkus

“You have to pick a fight because you’ve got to find that thing that your people (think is) worth fighting for. You’ve got to give your people an answer to the question: what are we fighting for? But you also have to choose your fight wisely.” -David Burkus

“The fight doesn’t change when your circumstances change. Your tactics change. Your strategy changes.” -David Burkus


You can find out more about David Burkus and his work on his website, https://davidburkus.com/ or on Facebook @drdavidburkus. Through his website, you can sign up for his free course, “Three Days to a More Motivated and Aligned Team,” at https://davidburkus.com/3days. Burkus is the author of three print books: The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas, Under New Management: How Leading Organizations are Upending Business as Usual, and Friend of a Friend: Understanding the Hidden Networks That Can Transform Your Life and Your Career. His latest audiobook is Pick a Fight: How Great Teams Find a Purpose Worth Rallying Around. He is also active on LinkedIn where you can find him by searching for his name.

Mentioned this Week:

Facebook Comments

Join the discussion


Episode 197