I recently finished reading a quite extraordinary book, called EXTREME OWNERSHIP: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win. Written by two former navy SEAL officers, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, it is a must-read for anyone who purports to lead anything.
Through a series of stories direct from the battlefield, they are able to show how their experiences translate into principles you can apply in business and in life. Many of these principles speak to the nature of leadership and the relationship between leaders and their teams--topics that are essential to the success of every enterprise.
The core principle they present is that, as the leader, you own everything your organization is here to do. Yes, all of it. No matter who else you believe might be responsible for some part of it, the long and the short of it is, according to Willink and Babin, you are! You are responsible for it all.
Extreme ownership means that the leader is always responsible. The team's mistakes are the leader's mistakes. The team's shortcomings are the leader's shortcomings. Extreme leadership starts with extreme ownership.
In a recent article, I spoke to you about The Leader being the one who defines the Mission and communicates it throughout the organization. EXTREME OWNERSHIP addresses this point as well: clarify the mission, communicate plans clearly and concisely, and ensure that the entire team believes in the mission as if their lives depended upon it.
If you believe that you know all of this, keep in mind what Willink and Babin so forcefully say--that while we may know this, we don't do this. "No bad teams, only bad leaders," they say. Chilling, yes?
And that's what makes EXTREME OWNERSHIP such an extraordinary book. Its riveting point is made through heartrending stories of the SEALs in the battle of Ramadi in Iraq. The most gut-churning stories you will ever read when it comes to the subject of leadership and glory. What those men and women accomplished there is a little understood reality, and beyond anything the vast majority of us would dare to go through, not for country, not for love, not for anything.
And that's the problem, isn't it?
That there's little in our lives that we would fight to the death for.
That there's little in your company that's worth breaking your bones to protect, to defend, or to love.
But, isn't that exactly what great companies are, or should be, for the men and women who create them--a world worth dying for?
Think on it. Or read Willink and Babin's extreme book. You've never read anything like it.