“Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

For all the definitions, descriptions, and characterizations of leaders, there are only two that matter: effective and ineffective. Effective leaders led successful teams that accomplish their mission and win. Ineffective leaders do not.

Extreme Ownership“How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win” is the subtitle to this #1 New York Times Bestseller. The book was given to me at the end of a meeting with the owner of a marketing firm that has experienced multiples of growth over the last decade. As she handed it to me she said, “I want to give this to you. When we read and implemented the concepts of this book, our company went from $x – $xxx.” <actual numbers left out for privacy purposes>

With a recommendation like that, the book immediately pushed its way to the top of my reading queue. I did enjoy the book. Navy Seals are some of our country’s greatest defenders and recent history has brought that to light like never before. From a business standpoint, I did not get the “Aha” to do list I was hoping for. Most of the concepts layed out align with the principles ingrained into my hard-working, conservative upbringing. The message I got was to:

  • Keep grinding
  • Don’t get distracted by business fads
  • Keep your eyes open
  • Keep learning
  • Be responsible
  • Own it

In summary, live the way your dad taught you to live and things will work out.

Here are a few quotes I took note of while reading:

  • Of the many exceptional leaders we served alongside throughout our military careers, the consistent attribute that made them great was that they took absolute ownership… not just of those things for which they were responsible, but for everything that impacted their mission.
  • Once people stop making excuses, stop blaming others, and take ownership of everything in their lives, the3y are compelled to take action to solve their problems.
  • There can be no leadership where there is no team.
  • Leadership requires belief in the mission and unyielding perseverance to achieve victory.
  • Without a team – a group of individuals working to accomplish a mission – there can be no leadership.
  • The only meaningful measure for a leader is whether the team succeeds or fails.
  • For all the definitions, descriptions, and characterizations of leaders, there are only two that matter: effective and ineffective. Effective leaders led successful teams that accomplish their mission and win. Ineffective leaders do not.
  • The leader is truly and ultimately responsible for everything.
  • There are no bad teams, only bad leaders.
  • Leadership is the single greatest factor in any team’s performance.
  • Whether a team succeeds of fails is all up to the leader.
  • The leader’s attitude sets the tone for the entire team.
  • It’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate.
  • In order to convince and inspire others to follow and accomplish a mission, a leader must be a true believer in the mission.
  • Leaders must determine the highest priority task and execute.
  • Instead of letting the situation dictate our decisions, we must dictate the situation.
  • Discipline equals freedom.
  • Discipline is the pathway to freedom.

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