Extreme Ownership - How Navy Seals Lead and Win by Jocko Willink, Leif Babin


Jocko Willink, Leif Babin

  Leadership, Culture, Performance

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Combat experiences can help you become a better leader.

Winning the War Within

1. Extreme Ownership-

Taking responsibility is not enough. Take Extreme Ownership of anything that could be detrimental to the mission. Acknowledge blunders and admit failures by taking ownership of them. Formulate a strategy to succeed. 

2. No bad teams, only bad leaders-

The most crucial factor in a team’s performance is leadership. Excuses are not meant for good leaders. It is the leader's responsibility to implement high standards and strengthen the team. 

3. Believe-

Understand the mission and its purpose. A leader must believe in the greater cause. Teams regard the belief and understand it fully and begin to believe in what they are doing.

4. Drop the Ego-

Ego can cloud your judgment. Do not allow that. It can lead to poor decisions. Extreme Ownership involves suppressing your ego and staying humble. 


The Laws of Combat

1. Cover and Move-

Always help each other, work together and support one another. Everything is about teamwork. Every individual in a team is critical for achieving success.

2. Simple-

Always simplify concepts. Your plan should be simple, clear and concise. It is essential as it will help increase your outcome of success.



3. Prioritize and Execute--

Determine the task with the highest priority and execute it. Prepare and plan for possible contingencies.

4. Decentralized Command-

Break down teams into 4 to 5 operators. Each operator must be assigned a corresponding leader. Those leaders must understand the overall mission its ultimate goal.


Sustaining Victory

1. Plan-

Identify precise directives for your team. Failure to do so may result in weak execution. Delegate planning down the chain to subordinate leaders.

2. Leading Up and Down the Chain of Command-

Up the chain-

Take complete ownership of plans and find out a better way to communicate with team members.

Down the chain-

Focus on situational awareness up the chain of command. 

3. Decisiveness Amid Uncertainty-

Leaders should get comfortable with uncertainty. Learn to make the best decisions based on the information available. Avoid indecisiveness.






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Focus on the basic laws of combat. Applies to leadership too

Laws of combat - cover and move, simple, prioritize and execute. Decentralise command.

- extreme ownership
-no bad teams, only bad leaders
- believe
- drop the ego

- cover and move. Work as a team. Across levels
- simple. Incentives, missions, tasks. So that each can rapidly adapt.
- prioritize and execute. Don't pick up too many things. Find one put all might behind it. Move the needle. Pick next. Repeat.
- decentralised command.

Sustaining VICTORY
- plan. Mission objective should be clear. To all. Lets subordinate leaders plan their pieces. See the bigger picture.
- leading up and down the chain of command. Leading down- greater ownership of plans. Understand the big picture. Up the chain- detailed reports and what support is needed. Help them make decisions, stay aware. Lead better.
- decisiveness amind uncertainty. You may not know all variables. What is reversible vs irreversible.
- discipline equals freedom.

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