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February 8, 2018

What the Navy SEALs Can Teach You About Leadership and Getting Results

When it comes to high-pressure, time-sensitive missions, there are few people in the world more skilled at delivering results than the Navy SEALs. While the missions the SEALs go on are far different than you will face in the conference room or on the sales floor, the way they go about their business teaches valuable lessons you can apply today.

Meticulous Planning Leads to Success

While the missions the Navy SEALs carry out are undoubtedly dangerous, these soldiers are not thrill junkies who thrive on risk. In fact, the SEALs go into every mission confident of success and with reasonable certainty that everyone on their team will come back alive and well. This is accomplished through meticulously planning every aspect of the mission.

Planning your sales campaign should be just as thorough as the SEALs’ planning of their missions. What will you do if your original pitch doesn’t succeed? Plan and plan some more, and your odds of success rise dramatically.

Empower Subordinates

When the SEALs take a fortified position, not only must everyone be familiar with the plan, but also they must be ready to improvise on their own should something critical go wrong in their area of responsibility. That duty to improvise means the leadership must be willing to accept the decisions made by subordinates and support them to make them successful. While there’s never a doubt as to who is in charge, everyone has to have the ability to do what it takes to succeed.

You likely reached a position of leadership because you excelled on a regular basis. While empowering those around you may feel risky, it improves the chances of your success overall. Create freedom for anyone to deviate from the plan if that’s what success requires and back them up as much as possible to ensure success.

Humility Does Not Mean Weakness

After every engagement, the SEALs have an after-action briefing, often referred to as the “hot-wash.” Each member relates the action from their perspective and is honest about not only what they did right and wrong individually, but also about the actions of their team members. Everyone’s input is considered, and the newest member of a team may openly point out a mistake the commander made without fear of retribution.

This approach by the SEALs shows that takes humility to openly confront mistakes and to keep an open mind when hearing mistakes pointed out by others. Create an atmosphere where others are free to help you learn from your mistakes, and you will find success coming your way more often.

While most of us will not make life-and-death decisions, learning these basic principles from those who have put them into practice under extreme conditions can only make you stronger and more successful.

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