Extreme Ownership: How Navy SEALs Lead & Win Book Review

Applying special forces training to the boardroom, these Navy SEAL authors show that business and combat require similar leadership skills in this book. Extreme Ownership means that the leader is responsible for everything. The leader must own everything in his world. There is no one else to blame. The leader must acknowledge mistakes and admit failures, take ownership of them, and develop a plan to win.

This requires leaders to look at an organization’s problems through the objective lens of reality, without emotional attachments to agendas or plans. It mandates that a leader set ego aside, accept responsibility for failures, attack weaknesses, and consistently work to build a better and more productive team.

Extreme Ownership encourages dynamism. It pushes you to act. It is no longer possible to wallow in complaints and criticism. Count the number of times you blamed somebody else or an external circumstance, and instead of complaining, actively look for how you could solve the problem. Then you will be using Extreme Ownership.

No bad teams, only bad leaders

A leader must take the blame for everything under his watch. The first principle is that there are no bad teams, only bad leaders. In any organization, all responsibility for success and failure rests with the leader. Such a leader, however, does not take credit for his or her team’s successes but bestows that honor upon his subordinate leaders and team members.

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One of the main characteristics of SEALs is their ability to work as a team. Indeed, there is nothing worse for a SEAL than to be individualistic or perceived as such. Lone individuals cannot survive in the extreme conditions of Special Forces operations. Jocko Willink is the ranking officer of his SEAL Team in Ramadi, Iraq. Tensions are high on the battlefield because soldiers fight in an urban environment. Every piece of trash is a potential IED. Every window is a possible enemy firing position. The book opens on a tragedy—an incident of friendly fire. And although Jocko wasn’t at the scene, he takes the blame. He knows that he could lose his job over it. But the buck stops with him. After all, the best leaders don’t just take responsibility for their job. They own everything that impacts their mission. Total responsibility for failure is difficult to accept, and taking ownership when things go wrong requires extraordinary humility and courage. Jocko’s level of responsibility for the event ended up saving his job. Because Jocko’s officers knew that leaders make mistakes, but the best ones take accountability for them, they let him remain in command.

In Navy SEAL training, the candidates are all in roughly the same physical condition. So, it comes down to whether they have the mental strength to succeed as a SEAL. The lowest performers in SEAL training’s worst-case-scenarios are those that blame their subordinates or the scenario instead of carrying the burden themselves. In contrast, those who do the best take on the blame and seek correction from their superiors.

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Your attitude passes down to team members. If management doesn’t take responsibility for mistakes, their employees won’t either. Nobody goes anywhere. But for those leaders that take accountability for problems, their team members are willing to do the same. Everyone becomes more efficient when a leader has a positive outlook on their role in the good and the bad.

Identify priorities and act on them one at a time to remain efficient when the pressure mounts.

You are what you tolerate. When setting expectations, if there are no consequences for substandard performance, then poor performance becomes the new standard. Therefore, leaders must enforce rules. Ownership and enables leaders to build high-performance teams that dominate on any battlefield.

Effective leaders believe in the mission.  

To convince and inspire others to follow and accomplish a mission, a leader must be a true believer in the mission. If a leader does not believe, he or she will not take risks required to overcome the inevitable challenges necessary to win. And they will not be able to convince others. In many cases, the leader must align his thoughts and vision to that of the mission. Once a leader believes in the mission, that belief shines through to those below and above in the chain of command.

One of the authors was on a mission to rescue an Iraqi taken hostage by Al-Qaeda. Not long before the mission, his intelligence officer let him know that the hostage was guarded by machine guns in bunkers and surrounded by explosives.

What would you have done had you suddenly learned that the risk of your operation had escalated? The Navy SEAL was already prepared for such risks and continued with the mission. His planning already included the dangers presented to him before he even knew they were present.

Leaders should know and act on their responsibility to determine and plan for the potential risks. Because of the diligence of his position, the team was ready to move ahead with the operation without any delay. The SEAL teams now use this as a training scenario when bringing up new soldiers.

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In a management position, you are responsible for knowing the hazards ahead of any project you take on. Your preparation for these inevitable inconveniences will help the success of your team. And even though some risks are more difficult to plan for, you can still win by focusing on what you can control.

If you want to maintain leadership of your team, never give the impression that you don’t understand or don’t approve of a decision ‘from above.’ If you don’t understand the reasoning behind a strategy, find the information so that you, too, can ‘believe’ and trust the decision taken by your hierarchy.

Check the Ego.

Often, the most difficult ego to deal with is our own. Ego clouds and disrupts everything: the planning process, the ability to take good advice, and the ability to accept constructive criticism. It can even stifle someone’s sense of self-preservation.

“The enemy is outside the wire,” Jocko responded to a fellow Navy SEAL who expressed insecurity about an Army unit that just joined their base. That unit might be better than the SEAL team. So a rivalry was born. When we see someone in our organization as a threat, we forget that we are fighting an enemy outside the walls of our company.

Our egos don’t like to take the blame. When a supervisor is upset with a subordinate for a significant decision that the subordinate made without that supervisor’s input, the supervisor’s first emotion is to blame the subordinate. But that is not extreme ownership.

hamilton lindley ego

Imagine that a supervisor approaches a conversation as if everything is the fault of the subordinate. It causes a clash of egos. Both people will clam up. That is human nature. But if the supervisor takes the blame, it will allow the subordinate to see the problem without being clouded by ego. This dialogue shows extreme ownership of the manager’s ego:

“Our team made a mistake. It’s my fault because I was not clear enough in explaining why these procedures are in place and how failing to follow them costs the company hundreds of thousands of dollars. You are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable employee. It was up to me to explain the parameters that we must work within, and why some decisions must be run through me. Now I need to fix this, so it doesn’t happen again.”

Cover and Move.

Teamwork makes the dream work! In urban warfare, moving even a short distance is life-threatening. There are thousands of potential threats in walking the length of a football field. All the training and weapons of the strongest military in the world are worth very little without teamwork.

So the military requires one stationary group to cover the moving group at all times. The cover positions watch the movers so they can get to safety. Just as, when walking, you wouldn’t lift a leg before putting down the other. This, as you can imagine, entails being able to work as a team and with other groups with flawless communication and trust. Each team is engaged in the mission, either when moving or when covering the moving team. United, in the one perspective, accomplishing the mission, the objective is to ensure the security of every member of the operation.

hamilton lindley cover and move

In business, this means teams across the organization must mutually support each other to complete the mission. Leaders must keep perspective on the strategic mission and remind the individuals that they are not just part of their team, but the entire organization is aligned to complete the mission.

Within any organization, smaller teams become so focused on their own tasks that they don’t see how others depend on them. Leaders must keep perspective on the broader mission. Pointing fingers and placing blame on others only causes more dissension and less teamwork.

When another group has disappointing results, the leader must engage with them. Ask others whether they think they think the disappointing group wants the company to fail. Of course, they don’t! So try to understand their perspective and understand how you can help each other instead of undermining each other.

Simple.

Remove unnecessary complexity from everything. An elite military unit transferred to Jocko’s outpost. That unit wanted to operate as if it was still in the relatively peaceful city from where it came. But Ramadi was complicated. That unit didn’t appreciate that their plans were too complicated for the enemy lurking in Ramadi. The enemy disrupts plans. When a plan is simple, each person can adjust when they are attacked. In this situation, an immense firefight was created by that unit’s complications. The story illustrates that simplicity is critical to success.

People do not understand complicated orders. When things inevitably go wrong, complexity compounds issues that can spiral out of control, creating a total disaster. Leaders must communicate plans in a manner that is simple, clear, and concise. So leaders must encourage frontline workers to ask questions when they do not understand the mission or the critical tasks for performance. If your team doesn’t get it, you have not kept things simple. You must brief to ensure the lowest common denominator on the team understands.

hamilton lindley

An engineering team created a bonus plan that wanted to incentivize the production team. But the idea was so complicated that the frontline workers did not understand how their paychecks were affected. They understood their own jobs, but not how they fit together. That bonus plan made sense to the engineers who wrote it, but it was not communicated to the team. It was needlessly complicated and did not improve results. When the engineers created a simplified bonus plan, it led to increased quality, productivity, and costs.

Prioritize and Execute.

Determine the highest priority and execute. Don’t be paralyzed by indecision. Imagine that you’re deep in enemy territory, and a comrade suddenly falls 20 feet after stepping on a tarp that he thought was a roof. Now you’ve got an injured soldier, and your team is at risk of being harmed. What’s more, there’s an enemy bomb at the exit of the building. What do you do?

You might think, “don’t panic,” and you’d be right. But how do you go about that? It’s as simple as “prioritize and execute” as the SEAL training teaches. SEALs further explain this principle by the mantra of “relax, look around, make a call.”

hamilton lindley

The key to executing effectively under pressure is to look at each priority and handle them one at a time. That means your first act will be to decide what must be taken care of first. In the scenario above, the leader prioritized his team’s safety, then taking care of the soldier that fell, and finally making sure all his men were present. His process of slowing it down and taking a step back mentally helped him do his job despite intense pressure.

Business is the same way. When the tension mounts and you must make decisions quickly, start by identifying your highest priority. Then, make sure that your team knows what this is and seek their input for solutions. Finally, concentrate your efforts on the implementation of your plan.

Decentralize Command

When a leader has more than six people reporting to them directly, that leader loses focus and cannot effectively lead the team. SEALs have teams within teams for maximum effectiveness during a mission. Close quarters urban warfare is chaotic, dynamic, and rapidly changing. In that environment, leaders at all levels must be empowered to make decisions. The decentralized command model is a crucial component of victory. People are not capable of effectively managing more than six people. The best teams must be broken down into manageable elements of four to five operators, with a clearly designated leader. Those leaders must understand the overall mission and the goal of that mission.

In urban warfare, soldiers number buildings to communicate their position and that of the enemy. Imagine that a sniper recently killed an American soldier. Emotions are high. And now, a few days later, another soldier, American Sniper Chris Kyle, spotted what appeared to be an enemy sniper in a window of building 94. Kyle informed his supervisor that he could not confirm whether the target was an enemy or a friendly—just a shadow with a gun. Troops confirmed that there were no friendlies in building 94. Every second of delay could mean another good guy killed. But Chris Kyle had great experience, and if he wasn’t sure, then his supervisor should defer to him. So he did. After several moments of back and forth, the frontline commander confirmed that there were no friendly soldiers in building 94. But Kyle’s superiors made the other soldier count the buildings again. They had been looking at the wrong one. Kyle had his sights on a friendly soldier. The friendly soldiers had miscounted which building that they were occupying. This example shows that junior leaders like Kyle must be empowered to make decisions on critical tasks necessary to accomplish that mission most effectively and efficiently possible.

This principle is the payoff for developing a culture of ownership. Your entire team knows why they are on this mission, how to cover and support one another while fighting the real enemy, how to keep communications simple, how to prioritize, and execute. Now they can independently lead their own teams in a coordinated movement that supports the overall mission.

What is the mission?

It is evident that everything cannot be organized and planned in advance and that the saying “no plan resists the first contact with the enemy,” regularly makes total sense for men in the SEALs units. However, the more precautions are taken to anticipate problems and mishaps, the higher the chances of success. It is thus the leader’s responsibility to plan for a maximum number of scenarios and alternative plans so as to adapt to a situation that can change at any moment.

In a hostage rescue situation, the SEALs had made a plan. Shortly before the mission, they received new intel that there were IEDs in the yard and machine-gun nests in the building. They followed the plan, secured the target. They reenacted that situation years later in training. Many of them thought they should have aborted the mission. But a good plan would already account for those types of contingencies.

Planning begins with mission analysis. Leaders must identify clear directives for the team. Once they understand the mission, they can impart this knowledge to their key leaders and frontline troops tasked with executing the mission. A broad and ambiguous mission results in a lack of focus, ineffective execution, and mission creep. To prevent this, the mission must be carefully refined and simplified so that it is explicitly clear and individually focused to achieve a greater strategic vision for which that mission is a part. The mission must explain the overall purpose and desired result, or “end state,” of the operation.

The test for a successful brief is simple: Do the team, and the supporting elements understand it? The best teams employ constant analysis of their tactics and measure their effectiveness so that they can adapt their methods and implement lessons learned for future missions. Often business teams claim there isn’t time for such analysis. But one must make time.

A leader’s checklist for planning should include the following:

1.    Analyze the mission.

  • Understand higher headquarters’ mission, Commander’s Intent, and end state (the goal).
  • Identify and state your own Commander’s Intent and end state for the specific task. Identify the personnel, assets, resources, and time available.

2.    Decentralize the planning process.

  • Empower key leaders within the team to analyses possible courses of action

3.    Determine a specific course of action.

  • Lean toward selecting the most uncomplicated course of action.
  • Focus efforts on the best course of action.
  • Empower key leaders to develop the plan for the selected course of action.

4.    Plan for likely contingencies through each phase of the operation.

  • Mitigate risks that can be controlled as much as possible.

5.    Delegate portions of the plan and brief to key junior leaders.

  • Stand back and be the tactical genius.
  • Continually check and question the plan against emerging information to ensure it still fits the situation.

6.    Brief the plan for all participants and supporting assets.

  • Emphasize the Commander’s Intent. Ask questions and engage in discussion and interaction with the team to ensure they understand. Conduct post-operational debrief after execution.
  • Analyze lessons learned and implement them in future planning

Leading Up and Down the Chain of Command

This principle requires leaders to take responsibility for leading everyone. If someone isn’t doing what you want, look in the mirror first and determine what you can do to enable this better.  

All of us have a chain of command. We have superiors that we report strategic objectives to, and subordinates that carry out the tactical missions. A good leader manages and communicates strategic and tactical objectives up and down the reporting structure. Without managing up the chain of command, they don’t get mission approval. Without managing down the chain of command, they don’t communicate the strategic vision and get buy-in from the operators.

Any good leader is immersed in the planning and execution of tasks, projects, and operations to move the team toward a strategic goal. Such leaders possess insight into the bigger picture and why specific tasks need to be accomplished. This information does not automatically translate to subordinate leaders and the frontline troops. Junior members of the team—the tactical level operators— are rightly focused on their specific jobs. They must be in order to accomplish the tactical mission. They do not need the full knowledge and insight of their senior leaders, nor do the senior leaders need the intricate understanding of the tactical level operators’ jobs. Still, it is critical that each understands the other’s role. And it is paramount that senior leaders explain to their junior leaders and troops executing the mission how their role contributes to big picture success.

As a leader employing Extreme Ownership, if your team isn’t doing what you need them to do, you first must look at yourself. Rather than blame them for not seeing the strategic picture, you must figure out a way to better communicate it to them in terms that are simple, clear, and concise, so that they understand. This is what leading down the chain of command is all about. Leading up the chain of command requires tactful engagement with the immediate boss (or in military terms, higher headquarters) to obtain the decisions and support necessary to enable your team to accomplish its mission and ultimately win. To do this, a leader must push situational awareness up the chain of command. Leading up the chain takes much savvier and skill than leading down the chain. Leading up, the leader cannot fall back on his or her positional authority. Instead, the subordinate leader must use influence, experience, knowledge, communication, and maintain the highest professionalism.

The major factors to be aware of when leading up and down the chain of command are these: Take responsibility for leading everyone in your world, subordinates, and superiors alike. If someone isn’t doing what you want or need them to do, look in the mirror first and determine what you can do to enable this better.

Decisiveness and Uncertainty

For a SEAL, there is nothing worse than indecision. When the situation is beyond tense, and people risk their lives, it is not possible to remain paralyzed and not take any decisions. It is sometimes possible in everyday life to tell oneself that faced with a lack of information, concrete facts, or simply uncertainty. We will wait to see how things pan out. In the Special Forces, however, this is rarely possible. There is real danger in letting a situation degenerate due to a lack of firmness and decisiveness.

The authors recommend making a decision rather than “wait and see.” Often a situation in everyday life will follow the same pattern and degenerate due to a lack of decision. Sometimes these decisions are difficult to make, such as firing a person who has become toxic for the company and his team. However, the more one waits, the more the situation degenerates, and the more everybody suffers from it.

hamilton lindley uncertainty

Part of a leader’s responsibility is to lead her team courageously and decisively, no matter what stress and confusion is happening around her; presumably, this is part of the reason she has earned her position as the head of the team. Sometimes, a leader will only have limited information available to make a critical decision. In these cases, she must be comfortable making the best decision possible with what she has.

At times an educated guess will be the best option available, and this is when a leader’s knowledge and experience are especially critical to compensate for missing information. But leaders or not, there are times in life when we all must make decisions based on an incomplete picture — for example, in healthcare decisions when you know only the likelihood of a risk but not its certainty, or in deciding whether to evacuate before a forecasted severe storm.

Leaders can’t afford to waste time with too much deliberation, waiting on further research or hoping to reach the absolute right solution. They need to be able to make decisions quickly and to adapt those decisions just as quickly if new information or circumstances arise.

Additionally, a leader must be decisive to reinforce her team’s confidence in her ability to lead. If a leader appears indecisive or unconfident, that her employees are more likely to start questioning her competence. Leaders must be decisive amid uncertainty.

A leader must be decisive and adaptable. They must adjust the course when new data comes in. Intelligence gathering and research are essential, but they must be employed with realistic expectations. They must not impede swift decision making that is often the difference between victory and defeat. Waiting for the 100 percent right and absolute solution leads to delay, indecision, and an inability to execute. Leaders must be prepared to make an educated guess based on previous experience, knowledge of how the enemy operates, likely outcomes, and whatever intelligence is available in the immediate moment.

Startups face life or death business decisions early and often. With capital at risk, missions in flux, and competitors actively working to outmaneuver opponents, professional careers and paychecks are at stake. Outcomes are never certain; success never guaranteed. CEOs must be comfortable in the chaos and act decisively amid such uncertainty.

Discipline Equals Freedom—The Dichotomy of Leadership

A leader must lead but also be ready to follow. A true leader is not intimidated. A leader must be aggressive but not overbearing. A leader must be calm but not robotic. A leader must be confident but never cocky. A leader must be brave but not foolhardy. Leaders must have a competitive spirit but also be gracious losers. A leader must be attentive to details but not obsessed with them. A leader must be strong but likewise have endurance, not only physically but mentally. Leaders must be humble but not passive. A leader must be close with subordinates but not too close. A leader has nothing to prove but everything to prove.

hamilton lindley leadership
  1. The Ultimate Dichotomy — a leader, must care about the troops, but at the same time, the leader must complete the mission, and in doing so, there will be risks and sometimes unavoidable consequences to the troops. Failing to balance those two opposing goals would result in his failure to do either.
  2. Own it All, But Empower Others —Extreme Ownership means that all responsibility rested with the leader. It didn’t mean that the leader personally did everything. The leader must find the right balance between taking all ownership and allowing his team to take ownership. But once again, the key is balance, maintaining an equilibrium the troops have the guidance to execute but at the same time the freedom to make where decisions and lead.
  3. Resolute, but Not Overbearing — There is a time to stand firm and enforce rules, and there is a time to give ground and allow the rules to bend. Finding that balance is critical for leaders to get maximum effectiveness from their team. Some have used the term “leadership capital” as a means to understand the careful analysis required for a leader to balance this dichotomy. Leadership capital is the recognition that there is a finite amount of power that any leader possesses. It can be expended foolishly, by leaders who harp on matters that are trivial and strategically unimportant. Such capital is acquired slowly over time through building trust and confidence with the team by demonstrating that the leader has the long-term good of the team and the mission in mind.
  4. When to Mentor, When to Fire — Most underperformers don’t need to be fired, they need to be led. But once every effort has been made to help an underperformer improve, and all attempts have failed, a leader has to make the tough call to let that person go. This is the duty and responsibility of every leader. The dichotomy in this situation is balancing between taking care of individuals by keeping them around even if they lack the skill set to do the job properly and protecting the team by removing people from positions where they negatively impact the team and the mission. A leader must be loyal to his individual team members and take care of them, but at the same time, he must be faithful to the team itself and ensure that every member of the team has a net positive impact and doesn’t detract from mission execution.
  5. Train Hard, but Train Smart —Training must be hard. Training must simulate realistic challenges and apply pressure to decision-makers. There is no growth in the comfort zone. If training doesn’t push the team beyond the limits of what is easy, the team, and particularly leaders within the team, will never
    develop the capacity to take on more significant challenges. But training is designed to make the team better, to enable its members to function in realistic conditions they might face. It can’t be so difficult that it crushes the team, demoralizes it, or overwhelms participants to the point where they fail to learn. As in everything, leaders must find the balance in training and focus on three critical aspects: realism, fundamentals, and repetition. “We don’t have the budget to train” isn’t a valid excuse. “We don’t have time to train” isn’t a valid excuse.
  6. Aggressive, Not Reckless — An aggressive mindset should be the default setting of any leader. Default: Aggressive. This means that the best leaders, the best teams, don’t wait to act. Instead, understanding the strategic vision (or commander’s intent), they aggressively execute to overcome obstacles, capitalize on immediate opportunities, accomplish the mission, and win. To be overly aggressive, without critical thinking, is to be reckless. That can lead the team into disaster and put the greater mission in peril. To disregard prudent counsel when someone with experience urges caution, to dismiss significant threats, or to fail to plan for likely contingencies is foolhardy. It is bad leadership.
  7. Disciplined, Not Rigid — Disciplined standard operating procedures, repeatable processes and consistent methodologies are helpful in any organization. The more discipline a team exercises, the more freedom that the team will have to maneuver by implementing small adjustments to existing plans. Disciplined procedures must be balanced with the ability to apply common sense to an issue, with the power to break with SOPs when necessary, with the freedom to think about alternative solutions, use new ideas, and make adjustments to processes based on the reality of what is actually happening.
  8. Hold People Accountable, but Don’t Hold Their Hands — Accountability is an important tool that leaders must use. However, it should not be the primary tool. It must be balanced with other leadership tools, such as making sure people understand the why, empowering subordinates, and trusting they will do the right thing without direct oversight because they fully understand the importance of doing so. Make sure its members have ownership of their tasks and the ability to make adjustments as needed. Make sure they know how their task supports the overall strategic success of the mission. Make sure they understand how important their specific task is to the team and what the consequences are for failure. Instead, balance accountability with educating the team and empowering its members to maintain standards even without direct oversight from the top. This is the hallmark of the highest-performing teams that dominate.
  9. A Leader and a Follower — Every leader must be willing and able to lead, but just as important is a leader’s ability to follow. A leader must be willing to lean on the expertise and ideas of others for the good of the team. Leaders must be willing to listen and follow others, regardless of whether they are junior or less experienced. If someone else has a great idea or specific knowledge that puts them in the best position to lead a particular project, a good leader recognizes that it doesn’t matter who gets the credit, only that the mission is accomplished in the most effective manner possible. Confident leaders encourage junior members of the team to step up and lead when they put forth ideas that will contribute to mission success. When the team wins, much of the credit goes to the leader, whether or not that leader was the person driving the operation, tactics, or strategy, and a good leader pushes the praise and accolades down to their team. Leaders who fail to be good followers fail themselves and their team. But when a leader is willing to follow, the team functions effectively, and the probability of mission success radically increases.
  10. Plan, but Don’t overplan — You cannot plan for every contingency. If you try to create a solution for every single potential problem that might arise, you overwhelm your team; you overwhelm the planning process, you overcomplicate decisions for leaders. Rather than preventing or solving problems, overplanning creates additional and sometimes far more difficult issues. It is essential, however, that leaders manage the dichotomy in planning by not straying too far in the other direction — by not planning enough for contingencies. When leaders dismiss likely threats or problems that could arise, it sets the team up for greater difficulties and may lead to mission failure.
  11. Humble, Not Passive — Humility is the most important quality in a leader. When we had to fire SEAL leaders from leadership positions in a platoon or task unit, it was almost never because they were tactically unsound, physically unfit, or incompetent. It was most often because they were not humble: they couldn’t check their ego; they refused to accept constructive criticism or take ownership for their mistakes. A leader cannot be passive. When it truly matters, leaders must be willing to push back, voice their concerns, stand up for the good of their team, and provide feedback up the chain against a direction or strategy they know will endanger the team or harm the strategic mission.
  12. Focused, but Detached — Naturally, leaders must be attentive to details. However, leaders cannot be so immersed in the details that they lose track of the broader strategic situation and are unable to provide command and control for the entire team. Detachment is also an ongoing issue with which many leaders struggle. Leaders cannot allow themselves to get so obsessed with the details that they lose focus on the bigger picture. It is essential for leaders to understand that this should be their default mindset, so they can always be aware of it. If they don’t maintain a position above the fray, then leaders are failing their team and failing the mission.
  13. Communication: With others, you could hear the panic in their voices. Listening to hundreds of radio calls like this taught Jocko and the rest of the Task Unit Bruiser leadership that staying calm on the radio was a mandatory trait if you wanted to lead effectively.
  14. Positioning: When Jocko ran the training for the West Coast SEAL Teams, one of the lessons he regularly taught was that the most important piece of information you could have on the battlefield is the knowledge of where you are. Without that, nothing else matters. The next most important part of information is where other friendly forces are located. Only then does it matter where the enemy is; without knowing where one’s own unit is and without knowing where other friendly groups are, it is nearly impossible to engage the enemy.
  15. Growth: As a general rule, it was “flank or be flanked.” Either you maneuvered on the enemy, or the enemy would maneuver on you. Stagnation on the battlefield will get you killed.

Hammer Time

This book was an easy read. There are three main sections and each chapter is divided into three as well — military example, principle and the business example. That makes it easy to come back and read or for future reference. I give it five our of five hammers!

hamilton lindley

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    My brother suggested I might like this website. He was totally right.This post actually made my day. You can’t imagine simply how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

  15. Robert Kendall

    I don’t remember how I first ran across Jocko Willink on the internet, but visiting him on Twitter has become a daily motivational fix for me. Here’s a man who was a Navy SEAL for 20 years, including combat experience in Iraq, and service as a Navy SEAL instructor.

  16. Sharon Nakers

    This is not a good leadership book. First and foremost, not all decisions deliver immediate consequences as is clearly stated in this book.
    A great leader has to learn how to work with all factions of people. We don’t get a heavily vetted group of individuals to mold such as they do in the Seals.
    I read leadership books to better myself. This is a book of very interesting war stories and that really is it.

  17. Michael

    This is not a 5 star book. There is some good information here, and some great stories about Navy Seals….but leadership advice…not so much. Let me save you some money – Extreme Ownership is taking complete responsibility for everything that happens in your organization, regardless of the circumstances. Just about everything else in the book surrounds anecdotal stories to drive this point home. Cheers.

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