Today I would like to share with you more of my highlights and notes from Team Secrets of the Navy SEALs by Robert Needham (Navy SEAL). I finished this book last night and have to say that amongst all the flotsam and jetsam of leadership literature, this little $6 book was a real treasure to find! Best book on leadership and organizational theory I have ever read — and I’m a guy who has dropped a lot of money on leadership courses. In hsraing these notes with you, I hope to share some of the wisdom and save you a lot of wasted effort and money as well! Here goes…

Chapter 1 – Leading the Best (cont.)

“Never underestimate the value of a fresh , innovative and perhaps even abstract point of view. Diversity is good and can strengthen the Team.” — A team with no diversity has less potential ability for adaptation when the inevitable challenges arise. In addition, I read this and thought of the value of keeping my own thinking fresh, innovative and abstract. It helps me stay mentally strong and adaptive. Yeah, I am a guy who reads a lot of “weird stuff” all the time and maintains a lot of interests in arts, cultures, history and literature. Because of this, I am able to look at situations and problems from multiple perspectives, assess multiple risks, and come up with multiple possible solutions. I also just get a lot more out of life.

“Even in failure, a tight Team can learn, adapt, train, and get itself back in the fight.” — It’s never how many times I or my team gets knocked down, it’s about how many times we I get back up. What separates a team that can get back i the fight from one that is down for the count is the ability of that team to learn. As long as I and my team are learning, we’re still in the fight. In addition, there’s value in mistakes as learning opportunities. I humorously remember watching Don Shipley (Navy SEAL) remark on one occasion “You don’t learn shit without failure” — he’s right! As many failures as I have had in my life, I am happy to say I learned a lot from them! I’m a pretty smart guy! 😉

“You are expected, as are the rest of the [Team] members, to be of the highest caliber. Hold yourself to these standards as you would anyone else…no excuses.” — High standards is a lifestyle choice. I either choose high standards or I don’t. In my view, the choice is not dependent on wealth, brains, convenience or anything like that. Anyone is capable of adopting high standards without those things. Adopting high standards depends upon me recognizing my own potential to meet high standards, and the fact that the world needs me to do so. I am expected to adopt high standards by those who depend upon me — my family especially, but also my co-workers and my community. I make the choice, and because I see the potential in others, and because I see the world needs people with high standards in order for things like justice and prosperity to happen, I do expect high standards from others.

“Each block or phase will follow the same basic pattern: Learn, apply, review, evaluate, reapply, reevaluate, and then set SOP’s (standard operating procedures).” — A defined process for learning. Needham also emphasizes the value of documenting and frequently reviewing “lessons learned” in a notebook or electronic file.

“When you are planning a mission or a roadmap to complete an assigned task, set points along the way to realign and refocus your efforts. Bring the Team together and ensure that you are indeed headed in the correct direction…periodic checkpoints will ensure you’re on track.” — Land navigation and orienteering is a very concrete way to learn and practice this principle. It is not enough for me to set a course for a destination at the outset based on the limited information I have. I need to set checkpoints to ensure that I establish and maintain a course toward my destination that minimizes risk to acceptable levels. Project management and life itself functions the same way. Get your map, get your compass, AND be prepared to adjust and adapt!

I am preparing engaging leadership development modules, including practical exercises, for individuals and teams. If you or your team is interested in engaging with leadership development in a practical and meaningful work session, let me – Tom Delaney – know via e-mail to greatriverfitness@gmail.com. We’ll put it together and make it happen!


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