Book Recollection: It’s My Fault

Extreme Ownership

To make it an incredible three months in row (cheers, streamers, jubilation, cars overturning, cow tipping…), I’m going into bonus time to bring you another book recollection.  The title of this book is: IT IS ALL YOUR FAULT.  Now, to be honest, who would want to read a book with that title?  Truth is, that is not the name of the book – it is really named Extreme Ownership: How US Navy SEALs Lead and Win.  It is authored by Jocko Willink and Lief Babin.  Two SEAL leaders that served in Task Unit Bruiser in the Iraqi war.  You may recognize that unit if you read or watched the American Sniper show.  Chris Kyle served in that unit during the same time.  Many of the accounts given in the book about the battle for Ramadi will actually ring true with the events that happened in Chris’s work – unfortunately, down to the heroes that lost their lives serving our country only to have their accomplishments diminished by politicians living in the safety earned by our military.  The two authors have since gone on to form a business consulting firm (Echelon Front LLC) that translates the lessons learned from the battlefield to everyday business scenarios.  The book itself is structured with an account from an Iraq mission or SEAL training followed by a translation into business principles and then an account of how they applied those concepts in a real world company.

I thought the first parts (the military account) was quite interesting and felt it gave a lot of missing detail from the American Sniper accounts (link here).   On the business side it could have been shortened to just a few pages because the message was always the same (say it with me) It is your fault.  If you are questioning your leaders then it is your fault because you didn’t dig deeper or ask enough questions to understand the mission appropriately.  If your leadership objectives failed, then it is (say it with me) your fault because you didn’t plan or communicate effectively for your subordinates.  I can accept this to a point but it seems like a convenient out for everyone else.  I like the concepts of decentralized leadership, critical simplicity and prioritize to focus.  I am also highly supportive of the concept that once a mission (or business objective) is agreed upon it is imperative that the team get behind it and execute.  Continually rehashing the same arguments, passive aggressive behavior and outright sabotage has felled many a good initiatives.

In summary, I thought the  military accounts were very good, giving insights into just how the SEALs go about taking over an entrenched enemy territory – translated, thank god there are heroes willing to give the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe with a true love for our country – if only I could say the same about our current political leaders.  I’ll let you be the judge on how well the military principles really  apply to the business world.  I think it would have been more effective to just have a mirrored page at the end of each chapter.

Hit the jump to see my takeaways:

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