Aug 3rd, 2020

Reading - Extreme Ownership - Check the Ego

On Culture

In Task Unit Bruiser, we were confident and perhaps even a little cocky. But I tried to temper that confidence by instilling a culture within our task unit to never be satisfied; we pushed ourselves harder to continuously improve our performance. [...] we couldn't take the enemy for granted, that we could never get complacent.

  • Confidence is important
  • Not being complacent is even more important
  • Need to help others to push the best in themselves

On Relationships

[...] we established the precedent that in TU Bruiser we would treat our Army and Marine brothers-and-sisters-in-arms with nothing but the highest professional respect and courtesy. [...] In Task Unit Bruiser, I insisted that our uniforms be squared away and our haircuts military regulation. We sought ways to work together with these units in support of one another.

  • Respect and courtesy are important
  • Individuality / Expertise is important
  • Unity is critical to success
  • Cross team collaboration entails working diligently to promote the above

On Ego

Ego clouds and disrupts everything: the planning process, the ability to take good advice, and the ability to accept constructive criticism.

Everyone has an ego. Ego drives the most successful people in life. [...] They want to win, to be the best. That is good. But when ego clouds our judgment and prevents us from seeing the world as it is, then ego becomes destructive.[...] Admitting mistakes, taking ownership, and developing a plan to overcome challenges are integral to any successful team.

  • Ego influences everything
  • Everyone has ego
  • Ego can be used for good
  • Controlling ego takes:
    • Acceptance
    • Ownership
    • Mitigation
      • Active planning to overcome this challenge


Ownership is everything! This isn't his fault, it's yours. You are in charge, so the fact that he didn't follow the procedure is your fault. And you have to believe that because it's true.

Our team made a mistake and it's my fault. It's my fault because I obviously wasn't as clear as I should have been in explaining why we have these procedures in place and how not following them can cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars. You are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable superintendent. You know more about this business than I ever will. It was up to me to make sure you know the parameters we have to work within and why some decisions have got to be run through me. Now, I need to fix this so it doesn't happen again.

  • Need to take ownership
    • Believe that it is YOUR fault. It’s the truth. You are the leader.
  • Response needs entail your responsibility to the situations
    • “…it’s my fault”
    • “It’s my fault because”
  • Express the value this person brings
    • “You are an extremely skilled”
    • “You know more about…”
  • Needs to finish with a plan
    • “Now, I need to fix this so…”