Putting the mission first is simple. Check your ego. You may find yourself in a situation where all of your efforts are in support of another department, team, or person. Since you are supporting them, that means they will get the bulk of the credit for any successes they experience. You may find yourself resentful in some respect—after all, were it not for your hard work, they would likely not have achieved the success for which they are now getting the credit.
I wore a gold shirt to my first Echelon Front event. Think about that for a second. The first time I worked with Jocko Willink and Leif Babin at an Echelon Front training event with a client, I was dressed in a bright gold polo shirt.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have been developed in the military so that commonly performed tasks can be completed in the safest and most efficient manner possible. The military has also developed SOPs to deal with contingencies. When a contingency occurs, training takes over and team members are able to perform under high stress situations like a firefight.
The best way to introduce, develop, and maintain a culture of Extreme Ownership with your team is to model it. When your new recruits first arrive to work, they will see right away how you lead, and over time they will embrace it.
The first Law of Combat is Cover and Move. At its core, Cover and Move means teamwork. Individuals and teams must mutually support one another, working together in order to accomplish the mission. But how do you get individuals and teams to most effectively work together? The answer, that I’ve seen tested and proven in combat, business or in any other arena in life, is to build relationships.
Belief is one of the most important factors in determining the success of a team. As Jocko wrote about in Extreme Ownership, if the team believes in the mission, they will do whatever it takes to accomplish the goal. But if the team doesn’t believe in the mission, it’s unlikely they will persevere through challenges or do the hard work necessary to achieve mission success. But getting a team on board isn’t as easy as telling them about the mission. Spreading belief, like many other facets of leadership, requires balance. It’s another of the infinite dichotomies in the Dichotomy of Leadership.
It’s human nature to get comfortable with success. Victory breeds confidence. Successive victories multiply that confidence which can lead to complacency. When leaders and teams get complacent, they fail to thoroughly plan for contingencies since the potential for challenges and obstacles seems far-fetched. However, this mindset sets the team up for disaster.
A good leader needs to have a strong relationship with everyone on his or her team. The more you know about them and the more connected you are, the more effective you become. So on the one hand, you need to be close with your subordinates…but not too close.
While powerful, communicating in written word can be dangerous when the reader receives a different emotion than the writer intended. The dynamic of the correspondents’ relationship at the time and the current work situation are factors that can cause a difference in the perception of the message.
The most common answer I hear from leaders who have a hard time letting go is a feeling of ‘loss of control.’ They worry that the ship will crash when they begin taking their hands off the wheel. This is human nature. As a junior officer in the SEALs, I thought I had to lead everything because of the nature of my title. However, it was a series of great mentors who taught me that the true sign of a leader is how the team or organization performs when the leader leaves.
The 4th Law of Combat, Decentralized Command, is fundamental to having an agile and flexible organization. For Decentralized Command to be effective, everyone on the team must understand the “why” behind their individual part of the mission.
And if it’s simply a short-term deal to pay the bills, or save for a trip, teach them that the discipline they learn when they do good work in an unfulfilling job will serve them well as they move on to bigger and better things. 
One of the most common issues I am asked to discuss when talking with clients is how to work with Millennials. The appearance of a generation gap is stark, and the descriptions of many younger employees are not flattering: Entitled, lazy, unmotivated, disconnected, and the list goes on.
Extreme Ownership is all about you. Rather than try and force others to change their behavior, you can change yours.
We have all worked for leaders with an “open door” policy. Some of us have implemented them ourselves. We want to be accessible to our team and make them comfortable to speak candidly on any issue. No one wants to see a closed door or feel like the leader doesn’t