Episode 234: Jocko Willink – Why Discipline Equals Freedom

Jocko Willink is a decorated retired Navy SEAL officer, author of the book Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win, and co-founder of Echelon Front, where he is a leadership instructor, speaker, and executive coach. Jocko spent 20 years in the U.S. Navy SEAL Teams, starting as an enlisted SEAL and rising through the ranks to become a SEAL officer. As commander of SEAL Team Three’s Task Unit Bruiser during the battle of Ramadi, he orchestrated SEAL operations that helped the “Ready First” Brigade of the US Army’s First Armored Division bring stability to the violent, war-torn city.Task Unit Bruiser became the most highly decorated Special Operations Unit of the Iraq War. Jocko returned from Iraq to serve as Officer-in-Charge of training for all West Coast SEAL Teams. There, he spearheaded the development of leadership training and personally instructed and mentored the next generation of SEAL leaders who have continued to perform with great success on the battlefield.

During his career, Jocko was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and numerous other personal and unit awards. In 2010, Jocko retired from the Navy and launched Echelon Front with Leif Babin where he teaches the leadership principles he learned on the battlefield to help others lead and win. Clients include individuals, teams, companies, and organizations across a wide-range of industries and fields. (from JockoPodcast.com)

Episode 234: Jocko Willink – Why Discipline Equals Freedom

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The Learning Leader Show

“As the leader, you are responsible for EVERYTHING that happens in your organization.”

Show Notes:

  • Commonalities of leaders who sustain excellence:
    • Humility
    • Constantly looking to improve
    • Learning
    • Willing and able to take criticism
  • Incredible story of a mutiny within the ranks because of a platoon commander’s ego
  • Way Of The Warrior Kid – The message for children
    • Be humble
    • Don’t give up
    • Work hard
  • Ramadi — The epicenter, insurgency in Iraq
    • The confusion/fog of war
  • A firefight… Between friendly forces: Who’s at fault?
  • Jocko took ownership – “As the leader, I’m responsible for everything that happens on that field. It wasn’t your fault, it’s mine.”
  • “If you make a mistake, you must own it.”
  • Owning the mistakes created confidence and trust with Jocko’s boss
  • How do you handle a bad boss?
    • Make them look good
    • Ask for feedback, advice, ask for their approval, build them up
    • Isn’t that manipulation? “Yes…”
  • “It’s not just what you preach, it’s what you tolerate.”
  • Decentralized command — Empowering junior leaders to make important decisions. Front line leaders must be empowered. Why? Speed
    • Being empowered as a quarterback to call an audible — Why this was an optimal way for us to attack a defense and ultimately win games. The coaches needed to trust and empower me to do this
  • Are leaders born or made?
  • Characteristics of great leaders?
    • They take complex things and simplify them
    • They are articulate
    • They are loud (seems strange, but it’s true for military leaders and a quarterback)
  • How much can you learn?  You must detach emotion, and be decisive.
  • Why wake up at 4:30 am? “It is time for me to own, it’s before everyone else is awake”
  • Favorite part of work? – Podcasting and working with companies
  • How has Jocko created this lifestyle? — Many years of consistent, sustained work
    • “Discipline Equals Freedom.”
  • His discipline for many years has helped him create a lifestyle that he loves

“It’s not just what you preach. It’s what you tolerate.”

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