Athlos Book Club: Extreme Ownership

Extreme Ownership: Taking Ownership and Getting it Right

We all strive to do our best each day, especially in regards to treating other people fairly. Of course, the different definitions of “fairly” and “do our best” is the cause of a healthy tension. A large part of treating people fairly is taking ownership and getting it right.

A world with same thinking robots would be extremely boring!

Figuring out the dynamics of how best to work with other people is at the heart of one of the Athlos Performance Character trait social intelligence. Athlos defines social intelligence as “navigating relationships and interactions with respect and confidence.”  Not an easy thing to do, but perhaps the most important thing to do while building strong connections with our fellow humans.

This month the Athlos team read the book “Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. The authors are Navy Seals who share lessons learned from military experience and the application to personal and work situations.  One of those lessons is, “leaders don’t blame the team for mistakes or failures.”

Athlos employee Alex Serra commented that this idea prompted him take a different direction and “own” a problem that he has been avoiding … which has led to wins for multiple groups.

Another Athlos employee, Jim Madarieta, pointed to the Performance Character trait of humility and how taking ownership involves being willing to accept mistakes, not blaming, and focusing on the solution which leads to a stronger work environment.

Undoubtedly, the lessons shared in this book sound good but are not effortlessly implemented.  Another core strategy highlighted in the book was to herald teamwork and focused on the strategy of “cover and move.” The authors gave examples of how this strategy proved the difference between life and death on the battlefield.

Athlos employee Julianna pointed out that it might not be that extreme with her team, but the fact that everyone knows when to step in and help out helps them all know they can depend on each other.

Striving to do our best, the lessons shared within this book found application with us all.  Whether it is instilling a winning belief, taking the most difficult job on the boat, checking our egos, or being clear and transparent with the “why,” we all found connection with the points made.

Owning our decisions, our reactions, and our challenges all lead to having more social intelligence and a healthier personal and work environment. No easy task but the Athlos team relishes a challenge and appreciates the important lessons shared in this book.


Written by: Dave DenHartog

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