Last week I talked about one of the best leadership books I’ve read in a long time, Extreme Ownership. I pulled out four leadership lessons from the book and taught them to our staff at cypresschurch.tv. Today is Part 2 from the last half of the book.
Here is what stood out to me:
1. Grasp the Power of Simplicity
Everything in life has layers of complexity. When life gets complicated, simple things are easy to remember and complex equations get lost in the shuffle. As a leader you must communicate in a clear, concise, simple manner. It’s easier to remember one or two main points, than 15 sub-important topics.
2. Prioritize & Execute
The authors described how in the “heat of the battle” as different scenarios are all playing out simultaneously, it is easy for a soldier to become overwhelmed in the moment and hesitate or freeze. There can be devastating effects to their life and wellbeing as well as the other members of the team. The objective of the mission can be adversely impacted as well.
One of the great responsibilities of leadership is to prioritize what is most important to the team accomplishing the mission, and then directing resources (people, time, money) to see that the objective is complete. I thought the authors made a great point when they described the relationship of thinking ahead and planning as related to prioritizing and executing.
“A particularly effective means to help Prioritize & Execute under pressure is to stay least a step or two ahead of real-time problems. Through careful contingency planning, a leader can anticipate likely challenges that could arise during execution and map out an effective response to those challenges before they happen.” (page 161)
Leading down the chain involves clear and SIMPLE instruction of the mission and teaching how this particular mission helps fulfill the greater objective.
Leading up the chain is all about helping those whom we report to, so they can better grasp “situational awareness.” The question we must ask is, “What does my boss need to know in order for their confidence to grow in me as I do my job. What does my boss need to know in order to feel good about the allocation of resources to enable me to do my job more effectively?” Extreme Ownership people take this responsibility upon themselves to be sure their boss is up-to-date and in-the-loop.
4. The Disciplined Way is the Way to Real Freedom… for Individuals & Teams
Being disciplined seems, at first glance, to be restricting by nature. In actuality, discipline is the very thing that provides freedom. As teams become more disciplined in their functioning, it allows the team members and the team (as a whole) to function more efficiently. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) are the tracks that allow the train to roll! The Navy Seals live according to a disciplined methodology in everything they do. Otherwise, life is left up to being a free-for-all of individuality that combats one another rather than strengthening one another.
A couple weeks ago my wife, Serena, and I went to visit our oldest son at college for his birthday. As we were walking across the campus, he asked me how old I was when I felt like I had “figured it out” in regards to understanding the Bible, leadership and teaching. As I thought about his question, my mind had a million thoughts that ran through it in about two seconds and then I said, “I don’t know. All I can tell you is that I’m 46 years old and I know I haven’t gotten there yet. I wake up each day knowing I need to learn something new if I’m going to keep growing to draw closer to Christ and be more useful for Christ.”
Leadership is heart & skill. It is art & science. It is really simple, but it is not easy.
Continue on your journey and see that the mission is accomplished.