Extreme Ownership

The Jewish holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, serve as a good time for reflection. What do you regret from this year? Can you apologize to someone for it? How do you want to act differently in the new year?

The holidays coincided with my finishing a book by two Navy SEALs about Extreme Ownership.

Leif and Jocko, the two SEALs that wrote the book, believe that good leaders exhibit “Extreme Ownership”. To me this theme compliments the holidays. We own what we do — good and bad. And, according to both theories, secular and religious, when we make a mistake, we must own it, learn from it.

I want to employ more Extreme Ownership this year. I must own mine (and my team’s) mistakes. Without excuses. Instead of “this happened because…”, I want to move to a place of “I made a mistake with X, Y and Z. Next time I will do A, B, and C.” For example, I sent that email to early. I made a mistake in not fully thinking through its implications first.   

And, as a leader, Jocko and Leif stress that you own not only your mistakes but also those of your team. Did someone on your team do something wrong? If so, the leader owns that as well. The leader didn’t teach them enough, explain the situation well enough, share the higher motivations enough. Example: My team member didn’t meet their quota. I need to teach him or her how to do that more successfully and make sure I do a better job explaining why it’s important. Conversely, when a team member excels, you do not own this. The team member does.

I enjoy the rituals and customs of religion. in some ways, to me, religion to me seems a lot like an older version of leadership and morality books: how to lead better, how to help others, how to connect with yourself.

Extreme Ownership

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