The Good Bits

Book: Leadership Strategy and Tactics
Author: Jocko Willink

“You can never rest on what you have accomplished in the past, you always need to improve for today”. Jocko Willink

Leadership has been more of interest to me as of late so I have read a number of books on the subject.  Leadership is very difficult to pin down.  There is no easy answer, no simple rubber stamp solution that can be applied to ensure success.  This book is better than others I have been exposed to.  It would have been very helpful to have read this book when I was 18 or so.  I have learned many leadership skills the hard way over the years and reading this when I was younger would have saved a few steps.  However, reading it now makes it easier to accept the examples and truth of it.

Jocko Willink was a Navy Seal and was faced with many leadership challenges.  He has taken what he learned and incorporated them into his book, Leadership Strategy, and Tactics.  His intent is to apply his techniques and experiences to all walks of life, not just military situations.  In this blog series, I have taken topics in the book, paraphrased them, and added my own experiences. 

Disengage and Assess

In the heat of the moment when a decision needs to be made.  Take a step back physically and mentally and disengage from the situation.  Don’t get caught up in the action and be fully absorbed.  Take a breath and take a wider view and don’t let emotion be the predominant deciding factor.

This can happen on a design project when people are desperate to get to a point that the chosen solution is proven and is going to work.  They can get so focused and have blinders on that something obvious can be missed.  At times during a project stop and assess how the chosen design paths are going.  Check with the engineers.  Get their gut feel.  Fairly soon in a project, an engineer will develop a feeling about the likelihood of success of a design.  If when asked they make those uncertain sounds or exhale and shake their heads.  Listen.  Revisit the assumptions and make sure it was a good design path or technology choice in the first place.  It is always the assumptions that get you.  Assuming a part of the design will work and not making sure it does is like burying a landmine in your driveway.

~ Troy Pongratz