Extreme Ownership – Author Interview



so one of the things about extreme ownership is that it applies not just a business but to life and and so you know we're working with a an individual who told us that extreme ownership saved his marriage I said really how it allows that I can explain that he said look I you know I was I was blaming everything on her and putting on a put it all on her an extreme ownership made me look in the mirror and say what can I do differently how can I you know what can I change that that that will change the outcome here and so that that totally turned turn things around for for heavens wife and I think that's just one small example of how you know if you look inwardly at yourself about what you can fix instead of worried about everybody else blaming things on other people and making excuses then then you can really change a whole lot in your life as well as in your business as well as if there's anything you were when we were overseas when we were in combat you know that attitude of extreme ownership and completely spread throughout our our entire task unit and you know I wasn't out there on the frontlines leading people telling them what to do and where to go they were taking that initiative themselves and that's that shows you the power I mean I wasn't micromanaging lay for for the other platoon commander or the the subordinate leadership inside the inside of our unit I was hands-off and making sure that they had the support they needed and making sure that they could continue to execute the mission at the highest level and I didn't really have to worry about how they were going to get it done I just knew that they were going to get it done and from a leadership perspective that allowed me to look at the strategic picture it allowed me to deconflict other operations that were happening and it allowed me to look up and out instead of constantly looking down and I think that was a had a huge impact on the results that we that we were able to accomplish during our deployment to Iraq I'll get asked from time to time you know when is it appropriate to fire someone when you know when is someone considered untrainable and you know my response to that is usually it's pretty obvious when it's time to fire somebody and my personal check on how I know that it's time for them to be fired is that I do not have any guilt about it now I'm not saying you know I don't feel bad that you might be affecting someone's career certainly in the SEAL Teams if you fired somebody it was horrible for their career but at the same time if you didn't feel any guilt about it that means that you had done your job as a leader to mentor them to help them to coach them to try and get them up to speed and if you've done all that and they can't get themselves to the level that they need to be and they're going to negatively impact the team then it should be pretty it's pretty obvious what needs to happen and that is that they need to be fired and temples up you know the book has a bunch of different principles and sometimes I'll be asked you know which one is the most important one and I have a pretty canned response for that for me you know one of the most important characteristics of a leader is being able to balance all these different opposing pressures and forces that are on you you know and if you go too far in one direction or the other you become off-balance as a leader and your decision-making process can become off-balance and you'll end up making mistakes none of the principles in this book are mutually exclusive and there'd be no reason to say hey use this principle but not this one they're interconnected they're mutually supporting you use them together and that's how you end up with a best leadership decision-making process in combat the enemy gets a vote meaning regardless of what your plan is the enemy could do something that's going to disrupt that plan and the same thing happens in the business world whether it's market conditions whether it's competition and the maneuvers that they make there's going to be factors that disrupt your plan and you have to be ready to adapt to them the enemy gets a vote so decentralized command is critical for any team in any organization and so a unit that exercise decentralized man in a military property centralized command which means that rather than just have total chaos which what you've got junior leaders run around doing their own thing decentralized command means that that each team within the team has very specific guidance and what we call right and left limits of responsibilities they understand you know what the strategic goals are trying to accomplish and they can maneuver and make decisions in order to to further those Tsukiji goals so that's really what proper decentralized command is and so the advantage over a competitor is that folks that don't do that that are very centralized there it takes longer to make decisions has to go up through a big bureaucratic chain if one person you know is making the decision that at the very top and and so it's it's a huge advantage because the folks on the front lines and decentralize Kamiya can actually react to a current situation as market conditions change as different technology comes online they can actually solve problems and make things happen that the senior leaders may have not even thought about and they can actually go out and accomplish those strategic goals in combat as the overall leader I had to absolutely push down authority levels to my subordinate leadership something when they were on the frontlines in a firefight they could make decisions and execute without guidance from me because they already understood the underlying plan the same thing has to happen in business those frontline troops cannot be micromanaged from four or five bureaucratic layers up they need to have the power to execute the knowledge to understand the strategic vision and the parameters from which they can operate our mission to writing this book was to provide lessons learned for leaders and teams to help them build more effective high performance winning teams that can go out and dominate on their battlefield writing this book was an opportunity for us to take those lessons learn from combat and capture them in a in a pretty concise format so they can be passed on to other leaders in every industry so that they can take those lessons apply with their world lead and win you

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