Sunday, February 28, 2016

Extreme Ownership … a Spiritual Process

by Dale Shumaker

Extreme Ownership is about how U. S. Navy Seals lead and win. Authors Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, lead commanders in the Navy Seals, share the principles behind Extreme Ownership that will revolutionize how to lead and manage people... in any business or organization where you have a leading, managing position.  They reveal and explain these principles in Extreme Ownership, and the lessons they learned from their successes and failures.

They are quick to point out that it is all about the team. It is how to lead from the top and lead from the bottom. It's not one individual but a unit of people highly skilled performing as a unit, together, supporting each other when on a military mission.

What is Extreme Ownership? It's a mindset, a foundation for everything you do. "There is no one else to blame." You put your ego in check, learn from others, take detailed notes to improve. There are no bad teams, just bad leaders. Leaders must enforce high standards, and not accept substandard performance. The leader must be a true believer in the mission. "Is it worth it?" Show it. Your team will believe in it to the level you do and perform in earnest to the level you demonstrate.

Check the ego. Ego clouds and disrupts everything... the planning process, taking advice, accepting constructive criticism, reality, judgment. We are never too good to fail. It's learning to be confident, not cocky, honest and realistic with our assessment, taking ownership of everything. Take the blame, allow others to explain.

Simplify as much as possible. When plans and orders are too complicated, people don't understand them and they inevitably go wrong. Plans/orders should be simple, clear, concise.

Prioritize and execute. When problems compound, determine the highest priority task and execute. Be ready to adapt and respond to meet priorities.

Decentralize command. Within the task unit, push decision making up the line to front-line leaders. Everyone in the unit sees things, and their response to what they see, pushing it up to the front, is critical to success. Seal teams are divided into four to six Seals, a manageable size. Organize teams within teams. Six to ten is the most manageable size. Everyone needs to know the "why" behind the mission. The "why" is better grasped within smaller units of communication.

To sustain victory, requires thorough planning. You must analyze the mission, identify assets, decentralize the process, determine specific course of action, empower key leaders to develop the plan, plan contingencies in each phase, mitigate risks, delegate portions, continually check and recheck, brief all participants, debrief afterwards.

Leading up and down the chain of command. To lead up the chain of command, the leader must be accurate in his communication to make sure his team carries them out as designed. On the other hand, sometimes subordinate leaders must use influence, experience, knowledge, communication, and performance to lead up to their leaders, to more effectively support their leaders.

Decisive amid uncertainty. It's critical to act decisively amid uncertainty, to make the best decision they can make based on only the immediate information available. There is no 100% right solutions. You are always dealing with an incomplete picture.

Discipline equals freedom. Leaders walk a fine line. You learn that discipline brings freedom. It's a dichotomy of balance. Being aggressive but not overbearing, calm but not robotic, confident but not cocky, brave but not foolhardy, competitive in spirit but gracious losers, humble but not passive. A good leader has nothing to prove, but everything to prove.

Leading people is the most challenging but also the most gratifying. It takes humility to admit mistakes, but then learn, grow and become better.

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The Spiritual Process

In living your magnificent mission we go through a Spiritual process. It involves three areas. First the mission, then the strategy, then the assignment.

It initiates from 2 or 3 coming together in prayer. Keep in mind what Jesus said, when two or three agree for what they ask for in prayer... that the mention of 2 or 3 is figurative. It's a small number... 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.

Living Your Magnificent Mission starts with Mission discovery, refinement, then the personal building process of faith, renewing the mind, and acquiring Spiritual Intelligence or hearing from God. This is the foundation for the 2 or 3 Agreement principle, and how it works. It must be in place first, by each person.

I can't overemphasize the importance of this.  Each person (in agreement with someone) needs to be in faith, renewing their mind via Scriptural formation in their subconscious mind, and in prayer, i.e., hearing from God. When everyone is engaged in this on a regular basis, then the 2 or 3 who come together in agreement works, the intangible becomes tangible, a vision emerges into a reality.

When 2 or 3  build a relationship in Spirit first, which comes through conversation, learning about each other's lives and praying together, unity is established. Faith increases, a bond in love forms and much power is seen through it.

As 2 or 3 connect in prayer, the Spiritual relationship begins to mold together, a love-bond relationship forms in Spirit, which is a Spiritual cell of love and bonding. God begins revealing a mission to this small cell of people.

So as those in 2 or 3 agreement continue to mature in their Spiritual relationship, what is birthed is mission identity, a strategy, specific assignments for those involved.

1. In prayer, a mission is revealed.
2. Back in prayer again, the strategy for the mission comes out of continued prayer.
3. Then, when back into prayer again, the assignment for each one in the small cell is given.
4. The small cell, then supports each other and works as a unit through mission completion. In many cases, this may not come to full completion in one's lifetime, but be an ever ongoing process.

The Scriptures in Hebrews 10 says to not neglect meeting or coming together. Human nature is as such that we tend to get busy with our task and then slack off on meeting. We are to continue to meet or connect in prayer, encourage and spur each other on to the good deeds, acts of love, that the mission inspires us to do.

The point to remember is that everything begins in prayer and continues through directives received through prayer. The prayer experience may be very simple… engaging in a time of Spiritual worship, sharing immediate needs, praying one after another, and then discussing what God is showing each person. It is important to keep plenty of time available for this last part. The goal is to hear from God, and take time to hear what God is saying to you. Then into prayer again, pray over each person's assignment, and that they be empowered by the Spirit.

It all starts in prayer and continues through prayer, carrying out what is put on our hearts, and constantly encouraging and spurring each other on to what God is placing on our hearts to do.