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Leadership Under Fire

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Robert teaches his close students and personal advisors the importance of leadership. He often reflects on his experiences at the Merchant Marine Academy along with his service with the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam War.

He uses tools like the B/I triangle to explain the difference in leadership. For example, the outside of the B/I triangle represents leadership or “context” of the business and the inside of the B/I triangle represented the specialist/employees or the “content” of the business.

Not serving in the military, I often wondered what it would be like, and what path my life would have taken if I had enlisted. I have always been very interested in military training and tactical thinking.

I am a member of YPO (young presidents organization) and they were offering a 4-day leadership seminar with the US Navy SEALS called “Leadership Under Fire.” The event was hosted by SOT-G and held in Coronado, California, where the YPO members could train with the SEALS for 4 days and experience a small scale of the daily life as a SEAL.

I was in! Being both excited and scared, I prepared for 3 months getting ready for what possibly would be the toughest thing I had ever done. And do you know what? It was!

B/I Triangle

In 4 days, we slept maybe a total of 6 hours. We did amazing evolutions (exercises that were races against the other teams) that I never would have thought possible. The stress levels were kept high and we were measured on leadership, communication and performance. The SEALS taught me that we are far more capable of achieving, than we think. In other words, as a team we can accomplish amazing tasks in a small amount of time.

Being on a Team is the “unfair advantage” that Robert talks about.

Our boat crew (7 man team) won a number of evolutions not because of me as an individual, being the strongest, smartest, or most driven (I was not). We won because everyone on the 7-man crew wanted to support the guy to the right and the guy to the left of them. We were there for each other, working together as a team.

In times of pain (and there were many), the guys on my right and left supported me, as I did for them. Without a team, the individual gets crushed.

This same is true in business. People wanting to “do it on their own” will get crushed competing against a well-disciplined… mission driven team.

When building or growing your current business, think team. Building and training a mission driven team that will be there for each other, no matter what…. is the most important task you have as the leader.

When working for or joining an organization, look at their leadership. Does the leader care about developing leaders or is he/she just in it for themselves?

The SEALS emphasized the importance of attention to detail. The leader must know his/her team in detail. Ask yourself; do you really know the people on your team?

And remember; it Pays to Be a Winner!

Original publish date: September 30, 2012

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