Extreme Ownership sounds daunting and all encompassing. If you recall, this name came up in my National Read a Book Day article. This concept was developed by two former Navy Seals, Leif Babin and Jocko Willink. Babin and Willink used this philosophy to plan and execute successful missions during their careers. So how can a military tactic work for the corporate world?

Well, when Babin and Willink returned from Iraq and began consulting for companies in the private sector, they noticed how the principles they utilized to be successful can be applied to build effective leaders. This propelled them to open their own consulting firm, Echelon Front. Please keep in mind, that not every principle will apply to you and your company.

12 Principles of Extreme Ownership

The 12 Principles.
The 12 Principles of Extreme Ownership
1) Extreme Ownership

You own everything in your world. The responsibility, the tasks that you control directly and indirectly that decide whether your mission is successful.

2) No Bad Teams, Only Bad Leaders

It starts with the leader. They need to assess themselves as well as the team’s performance for any weaknesses and challenges that can be strengthened.

3) Believer

Individuals in position of power need to believe in the mission. If you find yourself or your leader questioning the “why” of this particular mission, then a deep review and discussion is needed.

4) Check the Ego

Check them at the door. Egos are nothing but distractions hat impede the flow of your progress and ability to grow the company. Be open to friendly advice and critique. Don’t lose track of the ultimate goal because of your need to outshine others.

5) Cover and Move

Forming teams within a team is nothing new. It is how a company breaks down manageable projects. What becomes a problem is competition. Your teams may start trying to one up each other. Remind them that each team is a piece of the larger puzzle.

6) Simple

Leaders, keep those plans as simple as possible. Complexity leads to mistakes and those mistakes can be catastrophic to the team and company.

7) Prioritize and Execute

Locating the highest priority task should be the leader’s goal. Juggling multiple tasks is overwhelming for both you and the team. The probability of failing is high if this happens.

8) Decentralize Command

Empowering junior leaders should be a focal point for senior leaders. When a junior leader feels confident in their decision-making and leadership capacities, they will no doubt achieve ambitious standards.

9) Plan

Sharing the plans with all frontline managers ensures that no significant flaw is found as well as brings forth a better understanding and, ultimately, belief in the plan. This means an effective execution will follow.

10) Leading Up and Down the Chain of Command

Bypass the adage “my boss is not supportive” and instead bring the blame back to yourself (leader). You are the one on the frontline with the team, planning, and executing. So, if your boss is not as proactive, that means you need to take action and start educating him/her. Your boss may not understand how important this task is or what precisely needs to be done.

11) Decisiveness and Uncertainty

There will never be a 100% right solution. Leaders need to be comfortable with making prompt decisions with the knowledge that they have on hand at that time. Businesses evolve and solutions/plans change constantly. Although, you should do research, keep in mind that sometimes a decision may need to be made with little or no information to go on.

12) Discipline Equals Freedom — The Dichotomy of Leadership

Discipline that is too restrictive in nature can lead to a low team performance. Finding a balance between discipline and freedom is a delicate one, but one that is possible. You want the team to embrace and strive off of your discipline, not shut down on it. Leaders should be aware and make sure they do not over impose.

Is Extreme Ownership Right for My Business?

Entrepreneur looking at question marks on table
Entrepreneur looking at question marks on table

As a non-business owner, I would say absolutely. The tools these principles give is priceless. They each talk about leaders and how to build effective ones. We all know when you have strong, impactful leaders the mission and drive you are shooting for can only go up. Now, it’s not to say that your business won’t have its ups and downs. But when it is down, a great leader will build it back up with its teams. If you want to start slow with implementation, I suggest you utilize tips 2, 3, 4, 6, and 12. Review often and remember to practice what you preach.

Are you ready to implement the Extreme Ownership philosophy for your business? Let us know in the comments below.

This article originally published on GREY Journal.