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briefing room, or through email, or from the back of the squad, but every-
one knew they were there. Maintaining the status quo may be the march-
ing orders, but it s still the orders. Do something so that people know
you re the one who issues them. Make a public announcement. Send out
a universal email. Go around and shake everyone s hand. Pick at least one
small objective, and tell everyone that you, as a team, will accomplish it.
Do something!
If you don t, you risk being passed by. The world moves quickly. The
current status quo can soon become a thing of the past. New events and
new problem-solvers will arise. And then you ll be swept out of office,
along with the other garbage, ghosts, and antiques.
LESSON 7
GIVE THEM THE BIG PICTURE
THE MISSION
After spending several weeks bobbing around in rough seas with no smug-
gler vessel in sight, it was hard to remember that our team was contribut-
ing to the war against weapons of mass destruction. Every day, the boat
crews clandestinely moved down to the water and launched their boats for
the long transit. The reconnaissance teams spent hours infiltrating to their
positions, and then they sat and stared through night vision devices. Inter-
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LEADERSHIP LESSONS OF THE NAVY SEALS
ception team members spent their nights balancing on small boats, breath-
ing diesel fumes, and getting soaked. In the morning, everyone straggled in
and got a few hours of sleep. Then the cycle was repeated. It would have
been easy to reach the burnout threshold after a week or two, with no tar-
get vessels yet discovered, let alone taken down.
It was important that the guys knew why they were doing this. They
had to know that countries were smuggling seemingly harmless materials
like oil and dates in order to finance their purchase of ballistic missile com-
ponents, ex-Soviet physicists, and high-grade plutonium. They had to
know that even if they didn t capture a smuggler, but the operation
deterred the movement of materials in one direction or the movement of
weapons in the other, then they had succeeded.
Deterring a potential smuggler isn t as satisfying as climbing over a
gunwale and taking down the crew of a ship that s full of contraband, but
it still counts. The rogue country has that much less money to finance its
military. It s important that the team knows this. The team will have pre-
vented an enemy nation from purchasing tanks and missiles, which is the
same as destroying those weapons later on.
THE TAKE-AWAY
Picture this  a team of 40 people working in an ad agency. The creatives
are some of the brightest and most driven people you ve ever worked with.
But unless they understand the big picture, they will produce some of the
most fabulous, unique, and completely irrelevant advertising art around.
Paying for a television commercial that wins awards but fails to drive
sales or build the brand is a mistake that costs millions of dollars. Some-
thing didn t happen right the results. And it s usually not because the
creatives weren t talented or the account director wasn t a visionary. More
likely, the big-picture objective was forgotten in the process. Somewhere,
someone produced a gorgeous picture that didn t support the take-away
the company s profits.
People generally don t enjoy working in the dark. After all, you don t.
If the only view someone has of the company is the four walls of their
100
LEADERSHIP
cube or office, then that s the extent of their concerns. If they know
they re a part of something bigger, if they know how much their work
matters and how it fits into the big picture, they re going to treat their
work accordingly.
LESSON 8
POINT THE BOAT IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
THE MISSION
When a new skipper comes on board a SEAL team, he puts out his mes-
sage fast. A few weeks into my first assignment to a team that special-
ized in driving miniature submarines, we had a change of command. At
the time, the team was already an outstanding place to work. The div-
ing was great. New subs were coming on line. The technicians were
extremely qualified. There was a great balance between hard work and
hard play.
Nevertheless, the new commanding officer wasted little time in mak-
ing some changes. He called all the team members into the large bay area
where we staged the mini-subs and put out the new word. But what he put
out wasn t universally well received. He said he was going to try to move
the team to Seattle, where the water was always colder. We were in sunny
San Diego at the time. You could hear a pin drop.
He said he wanted us to train like we d fight. Since we were up against
the Soviet Union, we d start training as if we were in the Soviet Union.
That meant cold water. Our dives would be longer. We d experiment with
new equipment, new foods, and new medical techniques that might extend
the length of time we could operate in frigid water. We d wear wet suits
as well as dry suits, determining how long we could remain submerged
with cold water directly against our skin. We d have cranes ready to hoist
swimmers out if they could no longer move their limbs after extended
operations.
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LEADERSHIP LESSONS OF THE NAVY SEALS
I imagined the stampede of people to the detailer as they tried to get
their orders changed and away from that team.
Two years later, the command was still an exceptional place to work,
maybe even more exceptional. The resident commandos were fired up.
The technicians had worked on things that had never been tried before,
in places that they had never expected to deploy to. That the entire team
never permanently moved to Seattle made little difference. Every platoon
had conducted extensive cold-water training. Everyone knew that the com-
mander focused on what was operationally sound. The mini-subs were suc-
cessfully used in combat operations. A stronger collective attitude pervaded
the team, the attitude that we would go anywhere and do anything to
achieve our mission.
THE TAKE-AWAY
You can paddle as hard as you want and you can make sure everyone s
daiquiri glass is full, but if the boat isn t pointed in the right direction, [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]