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Book Notes from 'Extreme Ownership' by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

  • Check the Ego
    • Task Unit Bruiser, we were confident and perhaps even a little cocky - but I tried to temper that confidence by instilling a culture within our task unit to never be satisfied; we pushed ourselves harder to continuously improve our performance.
    • If U.S. forces were to win in Ramadi, I saw right away that all of us had to work together and support each other.
    • But if the US forces were to win this difficult fight here in Ramadi, we would all need to check our egos and work together.
    • We established a precedent that in TU Bruiser we would treat our Army and Marine brothers with nothing but the highest professional respect and courtesy
    • We sought ways to work together with these units in support of one another.
    • The goal was simple - secure and stabilize Ramadi.
    • Highest level of discipline.
    • Discipline in such a situation started with little things - with that, the more important things fell into place.
    • Discipline created vigilance and operational readiness, which translated to high performance and success on the battlefield.
    • We had to all work together towards the same goal of defeating that insurgency, we couldn’t let ego get in the way.
    • Our mission is to defeat this insurgency, we cant let our egos take precedence over doing what is best to accomplish that.
    • It was about the mission and how we could best accomplish it and win.
    • When they attempted to pass this valuable information on to the new unit - their advice was shunned. Overconfidence was risky in such a hostile environment.
    • Be ready to support each other.
    • Everyone had to share operational details of plans as much as they could in order to ensure an synchronized effort.
    • It was essential to coordinate and keep other units informed in order to give everyone the greatest chance of survival and prevent fratricide.
    • Principal
      • Ego clouds and disrupts everything - the planning process, the ability to take good advice, the ability to accept constructive criticism.
      • It can even stifle someone's sense of self-preservation.  - the most difficult ego to deal with is your own.
      • Everyone has an ego - ego drives the most successful people in life.
      • When ego clouds our judgement and prevents us from seeing the world as it is - then ego becomes destructive.
      • Implementing extreme ownership requires checking your ego and operating with a high degree of humility.
      • Admitting mistakes, taking ownership and developing a plan to overcome challenges are integral to any successful team.
      • We can't ever think we are too good to fail or that our enemies are not capable, deadly and eager to exploit our weaknesses.
      • We must never get complacent.
    • Application to Business
      • Why do you think he would do that?
      • That means you will have to check your ego in order to have a constructive discussion with him and get this under control
      • It is critical that the troops grasp how what they do connects to the bigger picture.
      • As a leader, it is up to you to explain the bigger picture to him - and to all your front line leaders - that is the critical component of leadership
      • This is another critical component of leadership - dealing with people egos
      • Ownership of everything - this isn't his fault, it's yours - you are in charge, so the fact that he didn’t follow procedure is your fault.
      • If you approached it as he did something wrong, and he needs to fix something, and he is at fault, it becomes a clash of egos and you two will be at odds.
      • Its natural for anyone in a leadership position to blame subordinate leaders and direct reports when something goes wrong.
      • Our egos don't like to take blame.
      • Remember it's not about you - it's about the mission and how best to accomplish it.
Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 9:40 AM Agile , TeamBuilding | Back to top


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