Extreme Ownership Notes & Summary

Amazon.com: Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win ...

Link (Amazon)

Not only do you get practical tips on how to be a better leader, but you also get real war stories from two former Navy SEALs. A book that reminds you: we’re all leaders (because we’re all leading our own life). Most important lessons: take ownership of everything in your life. Reading and applying these tactics will make you a better person.

  • On decision making: “Relax. Look around. Make a call.”
  • Effective leaders lead successful teams that accomplish their mission and win.
  • Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.
  • Placing the blame on yourself actually increases the trust others have for you.
  • Admitting your own faults softens criticism.
  • There are no bad teams, only bad leaders.
  • Whether a team succeeds or fails is on the leader (if you’re the leader of a group, family, etc… you’re the one who ultimately is responsible for its success)
  • In difficult moments, focus on the small goals… helps if these goals are visual
  • On setting expectations: if substandard performance is accepted and no one is held accountable, that poor performance becomes the new norm
  • If you aren’t winning, you’re not making the right decisions.
  • There are always ways to understand the other person’s perspective.
  • What you’re most upset about can actually be a positive
    • When working with Iraqi soldiers, their local and cultural knowledge were advantageous to understand the enemy
  • Leaders must be true believers in the mission they’re trying to carry out. They must understand they are part of something greater than themselves and their own personal interests.
  • If you ever get a mission or task you don’t understand, don’t sit back and accept it. Ask why.
  • Discipline with the little things creates big momentum.
  • It’s important to own up your mistakes even when you don’t make them because other people will respect your ownership and it will check all ego involved.
  • Cover and Move = teamwork
  • As a leader, it doesn’t matter how well you feel you have presented the information or communicated an order, plan, tactic, or strategy. If your team doesn’t get it, you have failed.
  • “The enemy gets a vote.” No matter how you think an operation will unfold, the enemy gets a say as well. They will do whatever they can to disrupt your mission.
  • Awareness. In the heat of battle, in order to make the right call, you need to remain calm, step back from your immediate emotional reaction, and determine the greatest priority for your team (verbalized: “Relax, look around, make a call.”)
  • Make statements over questions as a leader. “They couldn’t ask, ‘What do I do?’ Instead they had to to state ‘This is what I am going to do.’”
  • Human beings are generally not capable of managing more than six to ten people.
  • Post-operational debrief. No matter how exhausted from an operation or how busy planning for the next mission, time is made for this because lives and future missions success depends on it.
  • The true measure of a brief – will the troops actually understand it? Everything else is bullshit.
  • Leadership doesn’t just flow down the chain of command. It goes up too.
    • In real world: if your boss isn’t making a decision in a timely manner or providing necessary support for you and your team, don’t blame the boss. First, blame yourself. If someone isn’t doing what you need them to do, look in the mirror and determine what you can do better.
    • Don’t ask your leader what you should do, tell them what you are going to do.
  • Leaders cannot be paralyzed by fear. Waiting for the 100% right call leads to delay, indecision, and inability to execute. Speed is the game.
  • Not making a call is a decision, too. You are deciding not to decide.
  • Good leaders have discipline (for example: alarm clock is the first test of discipline in the day. Do you get out of bed or go back to sleep?
  • The Dichotomy of Leadership (all about balance). A good leader must be:
    • Confident but not cocky
    • Courageous but not foolhardy
    • Competitive but a gracious loser
    • Attentive to detail but not obsessed with them
    • Strong but have endurance
    • Leader and follower
    • Humble but not passive
    • Aggressive but not overbearing
    • Quiet but not silent
    • Calm but not robotic

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