How Navy SEALS Lead (In Business & The Battlefield) with Jocko Willink & Leif Babin
So. I am so, happy once, again to. Have, Jocko. Willing, and his. Frequent. Co-author. Lathe, babban. Say he's dead to say the last name right a try James good work so welcome back to show John goes to your third time on the show lathe your first time welcome back thanks. For having me so. We. Want to identify for the audience who is who so Jack. Oh this. Is Jocko and this is about how I talk, Leigh, this is life this is how I talk now you both actually sound like Navy SEALs like there's the voice like get deeper, in blood straining. Like. Did you always talk like this. Like. If I want to talk like. I'm a Navy SEAL I'll lower my voice, that. Actually didn't help James. Clearly. I'm not a Navy SEAL you do you do have to raise your voice during. Combat. Situations, or training situations, you have to you have to yell and and. Again I don't want to give the impression that people that. In the SEAL Teams we just yell at each other or yell. To give direction to people but, when there's when. There's gunfire going on in order to communicate you actually do have to yell and since we do iterative, training where we're doing, that type of yelling. Over gunfire your, voice can, take a little bit of abuse and sometimes it, has an effect to to make it a little bit more raspy, ah because. You've been in like like just how. Many combat situations, would you say between the two of you you have been in a lot. We. Got a lot I mean a lot like 12 or, is it a thousand, not. A thousand, I mean there's a lot more people's done a lot more than us but. We were we were very fortunate in our deployment, together Ramadi 2006. To be part of some. Some really intense. Urban. Urban. Combat operations, and we. Gotten what we did 150, plus combat missions for our tasks in it well and this is gonna be related, of course to the book so so, first off before, I say the title of the book Jocko. I owe you a huge apology, it's. Okay you were total, I said, to you in the last podcast uh just. As a throwaway comment oh that's a bad title for your book so the book is called the dichotomy. Of leadership, and not. Only is it a great book it's a great title because, for, every important, like you always see these books like here are the 12 roles of leadership but, there's, always a flip side there's always the other side where for, you know rules are made to be broken, and I, think that's that dichotomy, is understanding. At a core, level oh I'm. Hitting that area that fuzzy area where I may need to consider this this core rule of leadership and so that's the dichotomy, and you give 12 examples, of. Where. That economy, could take place and and. If this book is structured very well you're you, both wrote it you, go back and forth you kind of list a, chapter. Title might be you, know what. One of the. Rules. Of leadership plus it's it's. You. Know opposite, that for instance disciplined. But not rigid, right, discipline without region and then you'll give the military example. Of where, you. Might be too disciplined but then and, so you have to learn. To be not rigid in certain situations, then you explore.
The Principle, and then you give the, corporate example because now you two guys run. A company s law in front where you take your principles, of leadership and, apply. It to, corporate. Situations, and so, and it's very interesting to see how the, exact concepts, you learn in these life-and-death situations. Kind. Of resonate, in the, corporate level and as I'm reading the book I've. Been involved in many types of businesses I run a business I can. See all of these things I'm, thinking, of myself oh I should, be doing more of this or I should be thinking like this in this situation or here's where I made a mistake and didn't, quite follow the, dichotomy, you know sometimes, I stick, to rigidly, to what, my core values are and you. See this. I'll. Get into questions in a second but you see this constantly, when you're describing your the, battle situations, this, is real life. And death you. Know. Situations, and you're. Learning the, hard way the. Hardest way possible where. Your, standard, operating procedures. Might. Need to be kind, of in flux, a little bit you know a moment-by-moment. Like. Absolutely. And just, like you said where, you may notice as a leader you're, sticking too rigid to something and you need to be more flexible that that absolutely happens on the battlefield and that's something that once we were running training we, tried to make the leaders aware, of the fact that sometimes, your standard operating procedure is not going to work and you have to be able to be creative and come up with another idea to solve the problem you know but, it seems like with with the army and with, the seals your. Standard, and I don't, know anything about Nevada so correct me if I'm wrong but your, standard, operating procedures. Are so drilled, into you it. Must be hard in, a, battlefield. Situation to. Say oh. I. Have to change you. Know or I have to I have to make, different sense of this than the ninety-nine out of a hundred times where the, standard operating procedure works, well. We actually trained to a point that people learn to recognize, that, their standard operating procedure isn't gonna work and one, of the ways that you do that is as a leader you. Don't get totally absorbed, in the tactical, situation at hand you actually detach, you, step back you. You, remove. Yourself from that immediate. Problem, so that you can look around and see what's actually happening, and recognize, that there's. Got to be a better way to do this because what we're doing right now is not working and as, far as you. Know I talked a lot about Jimmy, Page because. Jimmy Page you. Know probably, if not the greatest but we're definitely one of the greatest rock, and roll guitarists. Of all times but, he began his career as a studio, musician who, had to play the notes specifically. As they were required, and as they were written and. Because he was so disciplined, in that practice. Eventually. When, he, formed. Led Zeppelin and was, allowed to let loose he, could see that he could he was free to create, massively. Um and. Impromptu. On the spot create these incredible riffs because. He, had that discipline, and those structure, up front that allowed him more freedom on the backside to be creative and that's the exact same thing that happens on the battlefield, with a good combat leader and you know I think it happens in in, basically every area of life so you so for. One thing the Jimmy Page example is great has Led Zeppelin even made one bad album, no, I don't think that I think they're like the only band in history that's not made a single bad, album. I put, the number for a band to be great you've got to put five good. Albums, out in a row and there's and there's not a lot of bands that can do that you know you got Led Zeppelin, you, got Black Sabbath, you, got ac/dc. And. Motorhead. Anyone. Else I'm not as familiar with Motorhead, five. Is a lot that's a lot of fives a lot I would I would put Metallica, in there but Jocko doesn't anything, after the Black Album and Jacko's is not real Metallica, I.
Of. All of those and I still like Led Zeppelin the best absolutely. But rocks not it's better but it's okay but you know it also it also reminds. Me of like some Kurt Vonnegut said which, is you, know he's he's, often considered experimental, but he said you can't be experimental, unless you know the rules of grammar first like you got to be a good writer before you go experimental, Andy, Warhol was probably the best illustrator. On for, all the advertising. Agencies, on Madison Avenue before, he you. Know created, pop art like before he was able to he. Knew enough about just. Standard, traditional art and he had the skill and the talent before. He could and he developed his craft before he could go and and riff and I think that happens in every area. Of life but of course again in a battlefield situation or, a business, leadership. Situation, there's often, very high stakes not, just career stakes but you know lives are at stake or, jobs are at stake or businesses are at stake and so it's interesting again to see how you guys like and. There's a certain Zen. Quality, to it as well. Fact that you have to realize on the, battlefield. Or in a, business, that something's. Going wrong that you're doing something wrong as a leader. You. Have to sort, of see, almost sense in your body like oh I, have a little too much ego going. Into this situation and, that's why I'm not I just missed something because. There was an ego blind spot and I sort of feel a lot of these that of the economy's you talked about in the book a lot of it is about, noticing. First, there's. A little ego I'm putting into a situation and, then figure out exactly what's happening, ego. Causes, so many problems and that's one of these we talked about if we see problems on teams if we, see you know friction points and and, some failings or things that aren't happening where they should I mean 99.9% of. Time there's some ego issue in there and someone's, not able to check their ego putting themselves before the mission. Before the team so that's. One of those things you got a balance I mean you got a ego, you have to have an ego because, if you, don't have ego you're. Not ever gonna strive to do anything you're not gonna compete you're not gonna try to be the best and what you do and yet, ego can also be totally, disruptive so when you put that you, know I've got to be right before. Actually. The mission comes first and I don't care who gets the credit for it you, know that then that, becomes totally disruptive, and we see leaders that'll just they'll, ride a plan, into, the ground and destroy their entire team, and company just, to prove that, that they were right or at, least not to admit that their plan because. They can't admit their plan was, it was a failure and I think you see that a lot more in corporate, America, than, in the battlefield, like that because again. With. Its, its higher stakes in the battlefield because there are lives at risk you, might be surprised by that chance we saw there's, an example in here in this book there's there are multiple, examples we give you from the battlefield where, troops.
Would Not listen, to, some obvious, very, helpful. Constructive, criticism, from people that were there on the ground and put, themselves and, their troops in serious harm's way is. Serious harm's, way and and it cost people their lives or at least. Cost. People to have be seriously, wounded and injured because they, didn't listen to some. Very valid criticism. Or hey you should think about this or that and they thought they knew better and it was all a matter of ego well, and you give a lot of examples in, look I like the example, lathe, I think you wrote this one and, you guys alternate, writing different, different chapters there, was the one where your, your moving, forward, and. I, think Chris Kyle was on the, team and he, suggested, a different. Building. For, you to look east, instead, of south and I think it was you. You. Were the commanding officer in that unit, I don't know who's in the right Ground Force commanders, what we call it so I'm the senior guy on the ground a jock who actually came in rode, in the, back of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle which is kind of a smaller tank and they were they were moving, down this I mean, it was probably what three-quarters, of a mile from the the, main route through the city down this road where they're trying to get and it took what like three or four hours from they get there because they were clearing out IEDs, the entire way behind the the mine clearance element but. But I had to I had to lean on Chris on that it was I was a senior guy in charge I'm the leader and you. Know as we say that in that chapter you have to in order to be a good leader you also have to be good followers, well that's the economy and that's sector and and. And you were questioning yourself though like there. Was a there was first you had to wrestle with the ego before making a decision like you. Had to decide is this a situation where I leave because I'm I am the, commanding, officer here or is this you.
Had The sense in yourself no I think better. To follow like so, how do you recognize that in yourself when you're hitting that that gray area where the economy, where the this, yes. Or no point in leadership starts. You start to feel it in yourself that detachment Jaakko, talked about that's all important, and if you could take a step back and think okay what's best for the team what's, best to accomplish the mission and in that situation I mean here's Chris Kyle he's my most experienced, sniper not, only in our platoon but in the entire task unit and, one of the most experienced divers in the SEAL Teams at that point and. Even though he's you know I outrank, him and. He's a junior leader on the team, I've. Got a you know I'm, gonna listen to him he's got more experience than me so I need to listen to him and I follow his plan and he's recommending, because, ultimately it's not about me it's about the mission and I think that's that's. Where we go comes into play leaders, want to prove no I I have, to this. Has to come from me it has to be my idea so, I can show everyone that I'm in charge and ultimately. If you try to do that people just losers for you and and the, thing that people are scared of like will they lose respect for me if it's not my plan is actually the opposite, happens people gain respect for those leaders because, you can see that leader cares about the mission more than himself it's not about him he puts his ego in check and, those are the kind of leaders that people admire and want to work for because they're successful, right and then there's the. Example. Where, your. Other. Soldiers. Had, patches. Sewn. On. You know they had kind of semi. Frivolous, patches, sewn onto their uniforms and you didn't want to. Annoy. The other units, they were working with and but. Then they kind, of disobeyed you a little bit by showing it on the inside of their uniforms. Or oh no you're you're saying they like it was someone else it wasn't someone else it was my guys in fact it was this guy sitting next to me and, to, kind of set the stage a little bit there. Was the. The US, Army and the Marine Corps are very strict with their uniform, policies, and it's, deeper, than that they're, just strict with their uniform policies they actually, judge, other people, on if. They, can wear their uniform, correctly, and that's, not an insensible. Thing because if you think about it if you're in the army and I'm in the army and I look at your uniform and you can't wear your uniform to the standards you can't wear your uniform correctly, and, how can I actually trust you to do anything correctly out on the battlefield so. I knew, that the Marine Corps and the army looked, at uniforms, that way now the SEAL Teams, we. Don't think that way and in fact we, don't really care what people what. Uniform you wear or what you look like and so in the SEAL Teams we have a tendency for guys to wear mismatched. Uniforms. They'll wear their civilian. Hunting, pants, and a pair of hiking, boots and a and a workout. T-shirt. Underneath, some brand. New hot. Off the press, tactical. Top. And so, they look completely look like a bunch of a bunch. Of gypsies going, and going into combat and in. Order and I knew that we would get judged by that so I said listen guys we're. Gonna wear the. Proper uniform we're gonna wear you you knew you were gonna get judged because this was a situation where you had to be working with other units yes when. We went to Ramadi I knew that we're gonna be working very, closely with the Army in the Marine Corps and so before going look we're gonna we're squared away uniforms, no. Mixing matching and, squared, away haircuts, no no big beards, and goatees which seals, love to grow and think it's cool and and. That's fine but in this situation it wasn't appropriate and so, I said look we're good uniforms, now once. We're wearing good uniforms, the guys start thinking about well how can we how. Can we make our fashion, statement, right if we can't really uniforms, and the, way you can do it is by by wearing little patches, and the.
Patches Which start you know everyone wears an American flag but then you know let's not just get an American flag let's, get a you know football team flag on the other arm and then let's get some. Quote from some movie that we like or let's, put cowbell, is one of my favorite ones yeah we'll get one that says more cowbell, from from Saturday Night Live and you, know just the most random things and then it starts to get to let's see you can make the most completely, inappropriate. Patch something. That's just completely offensive everyone will wear that cuz that'll be funny and so, as this started to get more and more out of hand I went. To Lafe and and the other platoon commander Seth stone and said alright guys hey we're not wearing patches, cuz. Again, we want to make a good impression we want to build a good relationship we want them to think that we're good, to go and. So. We're just gonna look uniform in no patches and these guys you know they said hey sounds good to us we won't wear patches and this, was pretty much right before we went on deployment, that I laid, down that law and. That's. The way it went. So I thought, because. They've had other plans, go ahead so. What what Jocko didn't, know was that we. Me. And Seth stone so the two platoon commander so we were the next I'm the I'm the second, senior guy in tasking a bruiser and then Seth is a third senior guy in task unit bruiser so we're his direct reports, and we. Had said you know what we need a we need a patch so we designed these patches I had, one that was Lord, humungus from, the road warrior, and, then we had another one was a big cow skull and. Betas, Lord humungus along with the red hair who's like always screaming the, Lord humungus has the metal hockey mask oh yeah. That. Guy scared the hell out of me. That's. Weird I identified, with him on a personal level, so. As we. Go. In the dystopian world that we're entering into, you. Guys are gonna win and I'm I'm, the first one dying I don't escape from New York so I don't even have to worry about that world so we, put these patches together what you know secretly we had a made I mean we had to get somebody to so um real quickly we we boxed some of I shoved on one of the pallets we fly to Ramadi when. We landed in Ramadi I like snuck him off the pallet but under you know when Jaco and his his. Immediate staff, were away we like distributed, amongst everybody and then we did we'd have them hidden in our there's, a cargo pocket you have on your under your shoulder, of your uniforms, and there's velcro on the outside of that so if jock. Was sent back on our base it's a bait job it was it was a whole lot of work and and we know there's a lot which, is important to know dissipate. Jocko, so as we're rolling out on operations. We'd, have those patches in the pocket so if jackal would stand back in the tackle operation center to monitor if there are multiple. Operations. Going on and he'd stay back at their own base at the talk and our. Tactical operations center so we'd be rolling out and and the call come over the radio patches.
On So everybody take their patches slap, them on their uniforms, and now we had our patches and what. We didn't plan for because. We're not used to these sort of things like we go out operations, it's just seals but, we were working very closely with the Army Marine Corps and and one of the army units had an embedded, reporter, with. Them and they took a bunch of photos and. These photos come back to Jocko, and sure enough there's a big patch on the, yeah they come back for clearance to know to make sure that I think they're appropriate to, be to, be sent, out without revealing, any classified, information, so I'm scanning through the pictures and it's it's. Completely this. Standing, staring, right back at me that the, guys are all wearing these patches and of. Course this was in in. Incomplete. Did a complete. Disobeying. Of what I had told them and on, top of that you know this is early, in the form this is a matter of weeks in the deployment where we are absolutely trying, to establish. A good reputation with the Army and Marine Corps so, it's. Unbelievable. That these guys would make this huge effort to disobey something, that I told them when, it made perfect sense to, listen, to what I was saying so that we could provide. Better support and get, more respect and do more combat operations, with the Army and Marine Corps so. As I sat there and looked at these patches you, know the first, minute. That I sat there I was you know going through my mind the various punishments. That I was going to unleash, and, as soon as as soon as I found out about I I knew that the Hammers gonna fall this is me I mean I did it so I'm expecting the absolute, hammer to fall that's a possible punishment, well there's all kinds of thing I mean everything. From, keeping. Them but we know worst punishment that I could have done to either. Him or the other platoon commander would say you're not going on missions and make him stay back and we did that to a couple guys through, deployment and that's the biggest punishment you can give a seal and say you're not allowed to go on on operations, so that was my first thought I was like okay these guys don't want to listen to what I'm saying fine he's not going out on any operations, and then, it went you know there's all kinds of things that I that went through my mind for, about thirty, Seconds to a minute and then of, course I sat there and thought about it and and, part of the thing that was making me want, to punish them was my ego thinking how could these guys ever disobey. And believe me these guys did, more you know did everything I ever asked me to do and here they are disobeying. Me that hurts my ego so I should just crush them prove, that I'm the guy that's in charge that didn't. Last long and then I said to myself okay. Why. Would why would they actually be doing this what, why, is could. This be so important, to them that they, actually these guys that have done everything I've ever asked him to do that. They've taken this thing to make a stand on it means a lot more to them then. Then, I realize and I. Looked, at the patches they, they were smart they made the patches, tactically, sound they were just the same color as our desert uniform they didn't stand out they all matched so everyone looked uniform and I knew if it meant a lot to the platoon commanders, then it must mean a lot to the platoons as well, so.
Instead, Of unleashing punishment, on them I. Didn't. Do anything right. So you didn't, even mention it to them that you knew right he never meant did he mention it to you I knew, that he knew but I was and I was waiting for the hammer to fall but it never did and he never came and said hey you're. Cleared hot you can wear all the pass you wanted me so we, knew we still Kevin we didn't rub it in Jacko's face we never wore the patches around him it. We always kept it Kevin hidden and we'd say our patches on as we rolled out but, but, I knew that he, he had. Decided to not drop the hammer and and it was a big lesson for me because you look at Jocko he's this big intimidating scary, guy that that people think he's gonna hold the line in every situation and. I think it was a great example of this dichotomy, you know there are some things that where you got to hold the line there's some standards that have to be held and you can't compromise and then there's some areas where you, need to let that go and you need to get let the team actually have some room to run and, you don't, want, to smash, everyone. Down all the time and it was a it was a big lesson for me right it's a real example the dichotomy, right so there's this so there's this dichotomy, on leadership that you know in general you want to keep good discipline, and I think. That is it what which specific, dichotomy, was that is that the discipline, but not to that. Or, does that was specifically, the chapter of hold. Hold, them accountable but, don't hold their hands right, so so, what. First ran through your head was kind, of anger. And anger comes from maybe, two parts one is there's. The ego of the, commanding officer, I know, best so they should have listened to me and there's also the ego of are. They insulting. Me like it is do they just do this in my face, - do, they not like me like what there's, both things, happening perhaps for sure and I felt a little bit of all that and again I mean at this point I was a 34. Year old man I mean I wasn't, like I was all freaked out uh in. In in my heart I just knew that these guys they're, young they've got their platoons they're proud of their platoons they're proud of this task unit and they want to show that pride to the world and and, that's not a negative thing that's actually a positive thing right so you see so you had that initial like, you said 30 to 60 seconds of anger. Slash ego but, then you ask the question why are they doing this and. Then you ask the question. Has, anything. Changed for, us tactically, like are they putting us at risk tactically. Or is there, at risk with the original reasons of my order. My initial order like you, know if they're all if, it all sort of looks the same it might not you know be, so. Much in the face of the Army and Marine units, if. It go, it matches the uniform so it's not gonna give away their positions, or whatever so, so you you have you ran through a couple, of questions for yourself. You realize it must have been important if they had to go like he just described, took him three minutes to describe all the things he did including. Sewing the patches or whatever under the the. Pockets, to avoid, you finding, out so, you realize it must have been super, important, for them to have this happen but. Still how did you get over the. Insult, like you're not it's not like you're 100%, cohesive. With your own guys. Because. It's just about overcoming your ego and and. You. Know it's, actually at this even, at that point in my life it was like hey. These. Guys are more important than me you. Know these guys are more important than me and if it means a lot to them then, I'm gonna deal with it and that's okay the other thing that you got to think about is. How. Much leadership capital, do do I have how much leadership capital. Do I have right, now this, where we're three, weeks into this deployment we got six, months of deployments, ahead of us six, months in this deployment ahead of us and for, the next six months I'm, gonna be asking these guys my, brother's to, go out risk, their lives on a daily basis to take this massive, amount of pressure to, to. Be in situations that, they could get wounded or killed on a daily, basis I'm asking them to do that I'm asking them to be professional, I'm asking, them to to. Get virtually no sleep I'm asking them to eat a bunch of crappy food I'm asking them to be away from their their families and their wives and their loved ones I'm asking to do all this stuff and on top of all that really meaningful, stuff I'm, gonna I'm gonna nitpick because, they want to put a cool patch on their uniform its, leadership capital, and I'm not gonna waste it on things that don't matter right and I think I think understanding.
The. Concept, of leadership capital, is extremely. Important because you're, anybody. Only has so much you, can't. If. You if you went in and you bring. Up these examples throughout the book so many different examples if you go in and you micromanage every day you quickly spend all your leadership capital, if you go in and you start yelling at somebody every day you quickly lose all your leadership capital, and. There's ways to gain leadership. Capital, as well when you when you do like what you did with Chris, Kyle you, gain leadership Capital particular when the missions a success but, in this case one. Question, is. Did you feel by they, knew that, you knew now that, they were disobeying, so, did you feel like you should at least acknowledge to, them hey I see, what you guys did, this, is why I think it's ok because you you do they start thinking hey, we can make we got away with something a little bit this is like the Giuliani's. Broken window thing in New York City like if there's one broken window there's gonna be a lot of broken windows so, does, does, Lafe start you wonder if Lafe starts to think hey i just got away with something small maybe. I'll get away with something a little bigger and that's why we wrote about the dichotomy in the book of these. Radios, that the guys needed to know how to program and so, to, make a long story short there's. We, all carry a radio in the field and the radio is that we use we use in a certain mode that, only talks to the other seals and when, we got to Ramadi we. Needed, to learn to use it in the mode where it can talk to the army and talk from Marine Corps now, in a seal platoon there's. A radio man and the, radio man is like when you have an IT guy at a company you just give the IT guy or your computer and he fixes it and then you get it back and it works and that's what a radio man does if there's something wrong with your radio you give it to their radio, man he fixes it gives it back to you and it works the problem.
In Ramadi was we were split up into smaller groups and I, knew that sometimes in these smaller groups these. Guys wouldn't have a radio, man with them and if, they got separated from the radio man and they needed to talk to the Army or the Marine Corps they would need note to know how to utilize these radios in that mode and so. I said listen everyone. In this task unit needs to learn how to program these radios themselves. I put. That word out a couple, days go by and it's, one of the early missions where after I'd put this word out and. You. Know we got done with a brief Leyva's Leif's platoon was going out so he briefs his platoon and when he would get done briefed from the platoon with, his guys I would you know stand up and say hey guys there's a couple things to think about make. Sure we move, fast to the target make sure you maintain security, and make sure you hit the checkpoints, with the Marines on your way in so that they know where you're at everyone. Got that you know I just kind of cover some major points and I kind of got covering, whatever my major points were that day and I said does everyone know how to program their radios and, I. Got, no. No, yeses, and no no's I just got a bunch of nervous, looks, and I, could tell that they, didn't and and, I said to one of the new guys in the front row I said let me see radio and, he he very, nervously pulled, his radio out of his gear and handed it to me and there's, a there's a button on the radio that you can you can hit, and it erases, all the information, in the radio so, I hit that button I gave it back to him I said okay now program your radio and he. Didn't know how to do it and I. Realized, right there that okay. I said, listen until, you guys know how to program your radios you're, not allowed to leave the wire you're not gonna go on any missions and, that's. It. The guys said. Okay stop we're gonna go learn how to program these radios and everyone, learned how to program the radios and they. They knew that, I wasn't gonna I was gonna absolutely hold the line on that and there wasn't gonna be any slack given whatsoever again, that's because this, is a matter of guys lives if you're stranded out there in the middle of Ramadi and the and you need to talk to the Army and the Marine Corps and you don't know how to program your radio that, could cost you your life wearing.
A Patch will not cost your life right so so it's, still the same. Two-step. Thing like you, have that 30 to 60 seconds like why, didn't these guys listen, to me why didn't they obey, their commander, and. Then you could ask why, and it. Could have been they fit were busy or they're just lazy or they didn't realize the importance, and one thing you stress repeatedly in the dichotomy. Of leadership is that if you're, going to enforce, this, leadership capital, you have to explain, why. That, they're doing it and and, why it's important, and you were able to do that and then, and. Then you also there's. Consequences, of not obey then you kind of outline the consequences, because there's a there's a strong why they need to obey you that's right and let me ask you this if they didn't program their radios whose fault is out then. It's yours extreme ownership it's, absolutely my fault it means that I didn't explain to them you. Know in a manner that they truly understood, how, important, it was that they know how to program their radios I didn't do a good job of it and so how could I be mad at them because. I did a bad job explaining, to them how important it was the answer is I can't and from, my perspective watching. That happen I mean it was most. What most leaders gonna do that situation, is they're gonna yell and scream or get angry or demonstrate, you blew me off I told you to do this and no one did it and blame blame, everyone else but. Jockle didn't do that I think it was it was so much more effective because if you do that then people just get defensive then no one really sees, it sees the value in it you probably still get some people that resist and you lose that leadership caffeine you definitely would lose some leadership capital, and you'd have less people that actually program. The radios which is the whole the whole goal the, way Jacko, reacted, that it wasn't mad you, know it was kind of like I'm not angry I'm just disappointed, thing but it was hey I'm not backing down I understand, he, knew we weren't blowing him off I mean we respected, Jacko's leadership, and, I didn't think it was unimportant, but with 50, other things we had going on it just kept getting bumped down the priority list so he he looked he realized that hey you guys are just getting pulled in other directions, you didn't fully understand, and realize how important this is now I'm showing you how important it is make, sure everyone does this now and so it. Was a great example of what to do because we didn't we didn't we, didn't lose respect for Jacque or we didn't see him get angry get emotional about it but, we just realized wow this is this is important, we should have done this we didn't make time for it and now we will and and after that not only did everybody Charley between not a program the radios everybody, dealt with in the other platoon and everybody else knew as well because we passed the word everybody hey, you better know that because Jack was gonna call you out and and, zero, somebody's radio you better be ready for it so it, worked. Did you ever see, Jaco, get, angry. Where he, you. Know the ego took over, in. Any of these situations, no. Actually. No I have no I have seen, Jaco get angry but. It wasn't a matter of ego I think it was a calculated, response. If. For a particular. Situation and, you know of all the times that we worked we worked together for 13 years now and, particularly in those early years when he, was the task ated commander and I was his platoon commander I'm, sure I gave him hundreds of opportunities to want to yell, and scream or, you know get angry with me and he never did that sometimes, in the movies you always picture.
You, Know army. People or seal, people or whatever arguing. And screaming at each other you know give me a thousand push-ups you. Know and, that. Doesn't happen only. The worst leaders do that only. Bad leaders will do that and the situation that life was talking about was. A situation where, I clearly. In. In in my normal, tone. Hadn't, been effective, in getting, it through someone's, thick skull that, what, they were doing. Was inappropriate, and they shouldn't have done it and so I said to myself okay, I need. To escalate. My, emotional, situation. My emotional. Behavior, so that they realize that, I'm, very serious about this so you know I raised, my voice made. Some pointed comments and and. Then walked away what was the situation once a day a, situation. That would that shouldn't have happened. That's all I'm gonna get out of you on that one right get. Out of me on that but. Still there was the. And. I hate. To keep saying this but still but I like the fact that there is this emotional. Control component, of the. Academy of leadership which is something, happens, that is you're, following, your standard, core values. Of leadership something. Happens that's goes. Awry. And. You're. The first reaction. Of any boss, leader. Whatever. Is gonna be. This. Anger, or ego component, but then you have to ask why if the, why is in favor of the person who's on the. Opposite side of you then. You have to or, if, the. Why is, not. Good you have to explain. Why. Something's important to you and then what the consequences, are if they don't follow you so, I'm trying to kind of work, through this so that it's easy to kind. Of take into everyday life into, my life and understand. When these things occur in, my own life so, I'm gonna I'm gonna be angry sometimes with people, but. I have to see is it more important to them is it affect me, does it affect their life how, do I build leadership capital, how, do I explain, to them maybe, I need to escalate my, voice a little bit maybe I need to kind of use. Logic, to explain to them maybe I need to have good consequences if, they don't obey me even after I explain to them so, there's a there's kind of a formula, to. Getting. From one side of the dichotomy to the other there. Isn't what you just said about getting angry and you asked earlier you know how do you know when, it's when your ego is starting to get out of control, when. You're getting angry that's, a really good indicator that you need to step back and assess what's, actually happening, and see if if it is your ego and then once you clear hey it's not my ego if you did something if, you made a mistake and I'm, really mad about it and I clear, and it's definitely not my ego then why am I mad well I'm mad cuz James might hurt himself okay. Now, I need to make sure that I articulate. To you what, I'm concerned about what could possibly go wrong cuz I want to make sure you understand you could hurt yourself if you make this mistake again I'm, not mad at you I'm mad at myself that I didn't explain it well enough but I care about you you're, my teammate I don't want anything to happen to you I don't want you to get hurt I need, you to do this so that you don't get hurt and and. That's, that's, where we come at it from we don't come at it from barking orders right so it reminds me like I often think of anger. As, fear. Clothed so let's say in. This situation with the patches. Instead. Of doing it as anger viewing it as fear clothed you think Oh am i losing I'm, afraid I'm losing control, of my unit, I'm afraid are they flaunting. This in my face am i afraid I'm not a hora. Tative enough, am. I afraid they the, army Marines might not like us or work, with us as well but. When you get through, that, fear and, and, see from their point of view okay. It's, not so bad, I don't need to expand leadership capital on this I'm not even going to mention it. You. Know you're able to to. Avoid losing. That leadership capital by just like barking out orders and. So I think about you you have kids life I do so, I'm gonna give it and I, know you of course have kids you have to we've.
Talked About the way of the warrior cared, for kids yeah so so. It. Reminds me when I'm dealing with my kids I when. They were young and even. Now I never I, would never yell at them because, thinking. About it abstractly, a. Little. Girl doesn't need to be yelled. At by a. Big, man, like I don't want her, to grow up thinking that's how the, men in her life should, treat her but, when. She did something or. Does something that, or one of my daughters does something that is. Against. What I think is best for her I usually. Say what word, you just used a little while ago we just hey I'm disappointed. You did this against, what I said here's, here's why this. Might be bad for you. Then she'll just do whatever she wants but at least I said. My thing because it's harder to have consequences, I mean you could I don't know how you how do you punish your kids it. Depends on what they did wrong it did it depends on what the transgression. Was because. There's certain transgressions. That cross. A line that, is not supposed to be crossed at all and so if you cross that line there's gonna be significant, punishment, behind, it and and that can be anything that can be anything I'm, a big fan of yard work and and. I'm talking about meaningless, and hard. And painful, yard work that takes entire. Weekends, to complete off, what, why not when I tell my kids to put their work clothes, on, they're. Immediately. Repentant. On their actions so yard, works a good one that's, a good consequence, yeah and I don't even have that big of a yard but I got some weeds I got, some rocks that need to be cleaned you, ever cleaned rocks before no, you. Don't want none of that I. Live, in this city so I don't even have a I don't know I I don't I can't get them working on anything I mean, sidewalk out in front of my apartment if I yeah and this is real clean yeah that'd be good I can have to remember that there's 19 and 16 now they might not listen to me now pick up in Central Park yeah, I've, done I've done trash. In the in the house but. Trash. Pick up in Central Park might be good so, I think as long as there's consequence it's right there just there has to be some things where you, know just do the same the, same thing we're just talking about foreseeable, terms it's there's, got to be some things where people gonna be held accountable when they cross the line and there's, also going to be some things that you gotta let go and I predicted my kids are habitual. Line pushers they're little you know they're they're they're, they're supposed to be line pushers because that's how they learn where. The line is and they, don't know they will they will run all over you obviously, you know if you let them do that so but on the other hand I don't want to be the guy that's yelling. And screaming, I got that, kind of dad I don't want to be a keep that dad that's like angry, all the time about little stuff it doesn't matter so it really is finding that balance cuz and it's hard and, I think the point is and you show this also in the many corporate stories that special, on front your company deals with in the, book is that nobody.
Ever Wins by, just yelling, and and, letting the ego take take control there's this huge why, like what, what, am I am i micromanaging. Did, I not tell, enough am i not. Being a follower where, someone might have more expertise, than me there's, there's all these different situations you outline and clearly. Yelling, is never the. The correct, outcome I I can. Get spun. Up pretty easily and I can get pretty angry at. Times and an emotional mutt stuff and some I learn from Jocko is that losing. Losing, your cool or getting angry or, get emotional is actually a sign of weakness and and, you're you're letting other people get on your skin you're letting the situation, get control of you you're not going to make good decisions when you get emotional and, it something you got to work on it I think for each of us it's hard for me to do that but you have to you, actually have to look at it particularly the kids it's a great way to actually challenge yourself to think okay I'm getting I'm getting angry about the situation I'm getting spun up or frustrated, and, I actually need to accept that as a challenge so I can practice getting, control my emotions I can detach and I'm not gonna get upset and I can see what, was the right decision is that's, a great way to view, it is practice. So kids. Were often a great way to practice, a lot of this dichotomy, of leadership but also when you're going into like a corporate, client you're, seeing a it's. Like you're being embedded into a situation which is ongoing that the leader the, VP the EVP, the CEO might, already be, beyond. The ego point, like they're, already micromanaging. Like in the case with the. The sales VP where, everybody, was like scripted, so, much. But. Then one, of the employees brought up a point that. When's. The last time to, the other sales when's the last time you ever heard a potential. Customer laugh mm-hm, and you know connection you point, out for, sales connection, is really, important, and, just. Being scripted, it sounds, robotic, and. That. You know I think, that person was trying to act as if you, know they were following, if I remember correctly they were following like you know Pat and level of discipline. And. And you at first were like yeah that's that's, the way to do it how, did you how. Do you zoom out from that situation, to kind of see what happens you I know you you interview, a lot you you go on the floor you interview a lot of the people you see what's going from the, top down and the bottom up and then, how do you piece together the.
Where Where since since since the dichotomy, has already been lost a little bit in the in the mess how do you figure out what rule has cut been which. Rule of leadership been overused, a little too much yeah well one thing that's awesome about the job that we do is number, one where we're, de-facto detached, from the situation, when we come in so they're, all embroiled, in this and they they, often, just can't see it just because they're in it they're in that storm and they don't know what it looks like from from, the satellite, view that, we can see when the storms gonna end and we can see how to get out of the storm so that's that's a real benefit the other benefit that we have is that the. Problems that we see in a, corporation. That has, 150,000. People employees, at it is this. Are the same problems that we see in some startup that's got 82 people and and those are the same problems that we see in a task, unit of seals that has 40 people in it is the same thing we see the, same problems we see in a in a seal platoon with 16 guys in it and so, as you start watching what's, unfolding the number one, the. Number one thing. That I say to myself is. Whatever. The problem is it's a leadership problem like, that that's number one there's a problem there's there's something going on they're not they're, not closing deals in that in that particular case the, problem is a leadership problem that's what the problem is and once you start trying to unravel what, the leadership problem is that it you know it's a leadership problem and you try and figure out which one. Of these principles, or which one of these dichotomies, they've gone too far left or right cuz the first book has the principles, that get violated just straight up hey, they aren't keeping things simple but, that's that's gonna be bad and and. As soon as we see that or no. One can think anymore so, we've gone we've, gone so disciplined, on these people that they're not allowed to make any changes. So those. Principles, are there you can just straight violate them or. Dichotomy. Leadership, you can take one of these solid, principles and you can take it to an extreme to a point where we have salespeople on the phone that are literally. Not varying. Their script, at all under, any circumstances. And it becomes a problem and so.
You Were able to. Now. That you're you're, taking extreme ownership yourself of the problem because that's what Ashlin front was hired to do so, your job then is to go to the. A leader and explain. The, why like. This, is what's happening, this is why it's bad now, their egos, are kicking in because, they're getting it from both sides their, employees. Aren't working, the way they want to and. Jocko. And Leigh for coming in and saying. You're, a bad leader so, it's their head handling, it their head getting, hit from both sides now and they're. Gonna defend. Like no those scripts have worked for 17, years I don't know why it's not working the 18th year they're gonna probably, probably, there's always a first line of defense I'm sure oh yeah, there definitely is and something. That life always, always brings up is that there's there's two measures, of effectiveness, I mean two measures of leadership it's either effective or it's ineffective so if it's been working for 17 years and it's not working now that means it was effective before but it's ineffective now and, we. Have to get over our ego figure, out what the real problem is and solve. It. And so. So, I. Would. Imagine in a business there's, one thing that's different than the battlefield. Which. Is so in the battlefield you could you there's a lot of ways to measure, success and failure did we take, over this area did, we. Capture. Insurgents. Did we lose. Lives, but. In a business. The. Metrics, are a little more simpler, it's, not always about, profits. And revenues it might be you don't want to have you know too much attrition, of employees, you know you don't want people to quit on you but, in general, its, profits. Like, profits are either going up or they're going down so this is a solid metric to measure the success of a business and so imagine that makes it a little easier to kind of identify a, leadership, issue you might be surprised here on the battlefield it's I mean there's a lot of different numbers that you can measure by and one of the biggest measures, that, we would see we would call it sig axe at a time or significant, activities, which is enemy. Attacks and that was the measure of success of, our. Failure, and, and and you would see units, that would try to measure this but so you know if there was 43. Attacks today, but. There was you, know there was there, was a 50. Yesterday, so oh that's, so that's a win for us and of course it doesn't mean that there might be 60 tomorrow so, you know that would go up and down and. And so when we went into Ramadi with this this sees clear whole build strategy of going and taking the city back neighborhood, by neighborhood the. Enemy attacks the sig actually, went up so. That, was one of those things we were engaging because we're engaging with the enemy so the the leadership that the brigade commander. The colonel in charge of the 5,600, troops that were there that and. And and Jocko explained into our chain of command, we. Had to we had to actually explain that this, is necessary, so those enemy attacks are gonna go up so that they can go down later so so there's a lot of nuances, there and people can keep, people can twist those numbers to make it indicate. Something. That they they want to they might necessarily be the case and. So you really have to look at that long-term, strategy, intent at trends, over time you, know rather than a day to day or week week to week measurement, yeah not, only were this, enemy, attacks going up but so were our, casualties.
Friendly, Casualties were going up so. It was even harder to explain, up the chain of command hey this is what's going on but. Now you look at like a company and if. If, you're the guy that's running manufacturing. For me and I'm. Just like hey you need to cut cost cut cost cut costs so you're running manufacturing, so you start skipping some steps and using some worse materials, that are a little bit cheaper and now, the product, comes out the other end that's, great you show me a quarter we spent less money on manufacturing. Yipee, we all celebrate, well, what do we do we just put a bunch of bad product out there we're, gonna get bad reviews our, reputations. Gonna go down and same. Thing long-term, strategically. We actually lose even though we made more money up front so we, do have to constantly, there's, a dichotomy there's, a dichotomy between looking, between. What's happening right now and what's, happening strategically, in the long run right, so that's almost. You. Know short-term thinking, that's kind of like Wall Street like how'd you do this quarter versus, the, the overall, health of the business long-term and so that's always gonna be something, that that companies, wrestle with but at the end of the day it'll show up on profits. Because profits will go straight down once there's a product, recall or or whatever so. What. What in your experience now with Echelon front you've dealt with hundreds, of corporations. And leaders and leaders and in every case leaders having problems I imagine what's, like the worst leader you've seen that. Just couldn't, get it. So. People. Ask me you know when when have you failed and do you ever fail and it's like oh yeah and and, I had a leader that. I was in to try and help, he, had done, well with the company and taking. The company from a pretty low level of revenue into really, high profitability, and he. Was kind of a cowboy he. Was a cowboy so, and and that aggressive, attitude made. Things happen. But. Got to a certain point where they, didn't need to be Cowboys anymore, they needed to be more prudent and and. Take a longer, look at the strategy, and the. Board, of the company looked at him and said you know okay it's time to stop being a cowboy and time it's time to time to start being corporate, and, he. Didn't like that and. His. Ego played a big part in it and I. Explained. To him in no uncertain terms, very, directly I mean I tried indirect at first because usually no you try and work with people and you said hey I don't know if this is a good idea I think you should tighten it up and he'd know not nothing's gonna happen to me eventually. I said look if you don't start. To behave the way they want you to behave or at least lean in that direction, the. Board is going to fire you from this position and he. Literally, said to me they can't fire me and. They. Fired him so. I was, not able to get through to him despite all my efforts and, what were the consequences of him being a cowboy at that point well. He, was cutting corners he was running, up bills that shouldn't be run up and, you. Know he was doing stuff, he wasn't preparing, properly for the regulatory environment down, the road which, is gonna be problematic you can get away with youwith. With bypassing some regulations, right now because the regulator's aren't looking over your shoulder but someday they're gonna knock on your door and if you're not prepared for that then, that's when you're gonna fall in your face and the board kind of understood that and, wanted. To wanted to tighten up in that area and that was, one of the areas where I didn't, really want to tighten it up I saw. I have, on. Kind of the opposite spectrum. There is is what, Jocko called battlefield, aloofness and we wrote about that in the, economy.
One Of the chapters that humble not passive, there's. An account in there about a leader we were working with in the SEAL Teams he was a tasking a commander and now. He was this is a very difficult training scenario I was one of the senior leaders out there just monitoring, my. Leaders and training mentoring them Jaco was running training so we were there together watching. This and his. Platoon was pinned down inside, of a building there was these these seal instructors. That are acting as enemy fighters, they're role players we call them are shooting paintball rounds, and there's machine-gun fire going off and all this craziness and so there's a bunch of casualties, there's some simulated, cashes the guys are dead and the. I mean the petunias pinned down they can't do anything and, we're looking around for the platoon for, the task unit commander this is the senior boss man, like, hey what's going on and, we. We. Can't find him anywhere he's not in the house he's not outside of the house as we walk over to the line of Humvees that was out on the street some, distance away and knock. On the door and he's just sitting in there looking at his map inside the Humvee and we, said hey what's going on with your guys you know he just comes up on the radio goes status. Update and is asking for a status update from this platoon commander meanwhile you. Know someone's, coming up on the radio you can hear screaming, and shooting and it's almost like out of that movie aliens, right there's just total, mayhem going on everyone's, dying and finally. It was like hey why don't you get your ass out of the Humvee and go in there and see what's going on and. It was one of those things where I've actually seen that in the business world as well where where, there have been leaders we worked with where. There clearly, their team is failing clearly, there's some major issues that are happening and it's, it's it's like they're just above getting out of their office and actually solving those problems and, say like those sending emails like hey take care of this or fix this and then think oh I handled the problem now it's their fault do it and.
You Can't do that I mean you actually have to a leader while you can't be passive. You. Know and you, have to be able to take, a stand on things you got to be humble enough to actually get, out of your office not, so high in your position that you dot you can dive into the details of things and. Get in there and solve problems and make things happen so that the team is not gonna get overrun, and killed and on the battlefield or that, the you know to crash and burn in the business world and you. Know take the whole company down with it I'm, glad, you explained that because I that the humble versus passive was. The concept, I of, all the chapters I was having the hardest time understanding. But the, idea, of leaving. The office leaving the kind of tower, and, coming down and being on the floor with the people what you often do when you're when you're at. With echelon in front when you're when you're trying to figure out what the problem is in a company. The. Humility of saying. Okay I need to actually, see. What's happening on the floor, that's. What you're referring to with, with humility is you're not saying like oh I should be humble and let, everybody else do their thing you're saying I should not think I'm above anybody just, because I have a title. And you'd, be surprised the number of leaders that struggle with that I mean that's one of the one of the major things that we do with echelon front is provide that direct feedback line, and in some cases you know they're gonna tell us things. That they in a way that they wouldn't necessarily tell the CEO or some of the senior leaders at a company but, oftentimes they, don't ask you know it's amazing the number of leaders you'll sit down when they'll give you their mission statement, and talk about their five measures, you, know there are five factors. For success and, they have it all memorized and, and you go out and talk to one of their frontline, leaders, and they have no idea what that is they can't they have it means nothing then they can't recite it they don't even understand, what, that's about so. It's. That, that's where you start, getting the front line separated, from from you know the headquarters element and that's a very dangerous thing so leaders. Have got to get out of their offices get down there and help solve problems and and hone, in on the humble humble, but not passive, a little bit more because I want to make sure that that you you really understand, this we. Want to be humble which means exhibiting, you just said hey sometimes you gotta you gotta go down to the front lines nothing you're not above anything else. You've, gotta take suggestions, from other people you got to put your ego in check if somebody, does something that offends you you got to think is it just my ego and play so all that stuff is about humility, but, it. Doesn't mean you're passive so if you're my boss James, and you, come down and you tell me to do something or you give me a project. That I know is gonna grind my guys into the dirt, and. It's gonna grind me into the dirt I can't. Just say okay I'm the humble worker I'm the humble, subordinate. And that's what we're gonna go do I'm. Gonna say hey James here's, what's going on here's, how long we've been working in here's, the hours we've been putting in here's where my guys are at we haven't seen the light of day in in, you know a month and a half we, need a break you need to you need to give my guys a little bit of time off before we dive into this next project that's. What I'm talking about by not being passive, for that's what we're talking about by not being passive sometimes. You have to stand up sometimes, you have to you have to put your foot down and explain. To your boss why, something, is wrong now. That's. That's that's what you have to do so so let's say I'm, gonna come up with a hypothetical on that on that exact one let's say five level let's say I'm your boss but five levels above me a contract.
Was Signed it's. Friday the deadlines, Monday, we've got to deliver. You know, 7,000. In these units, it means everyone's got to work all weekend as well as long as it takes or else we lose this whole deal, hey, Jocko, it's not I'd. Like to take extreme ownership but it's seven levels higher than me my boss's boss's boss's boss we. Either all quit and walk home and find different jobs because the leader above us was stupid or we just do. This what. Where but. That's a real easy answer for me hmm James thanks, for explaining that to me now that I understood that I understand, that we're contractually, obligated to, get this done to, satisfy this client my team we're gonna make it happen because. The, team it's not it's not that I'm saying hey we're not gonna do this because we don't believe in it but if you give me no reason if you just say hey get this done by Monday or get this done by Friday or whatever you got to work this weekend I want, to know why we're doing it so again, to. Be passive, would say okay, guys and now I tell my frontline troops hey we're working for the weekend again and. They say why and I say because, do. You say that to your kids right, we say to kids it doesn't really work so if I said to my team because, cuz, that's what James said to do now they hate me they hate you they hate the whole chain of command but if I say hey listen guys we. Made a contractual, obligation this is s