Extreme ownership as the leadership style


Leadership and ownership go hand when you are an entrepreneur. I have always believed that entrepreneurs are the athletes of the business world. Or if you want to speak in army terms, they are the Navy Seals of the business world. 

Special forces and athletes

Ever since I read “The rare find”, I have been reading up on how top athletes and the special forces train. Physically, but more mentally. Which brings you to book such as “The rise of superman”, “The navy seals art of war”, but also “The obstacle is the way”.

Extreme ownership

That is why I picked up “Extreme ownership, how US Navy Seals Lead and Win”. Navy Seals are very no-nonsense. They make things very simple. You succeed or you fail. For all the definitions, descriptions, and characterisations of leaders, there are only two that matter: effective and ineffective. The leader is truly and ultimately responsible for everything

The buck stops with you

Extreme ownership. The buck stops with you. There are no bad teams, only bad leaders. Which means:

  • Lead by example
  • The mission is everything
  • Remove ego
  • It is not what you preach, it is what you tolerate
  • Enforce standards
  • Create a forcing factor for teamwork
  • Make sure everyone understands the commander’s intent and why
  • Make teams part of something greater
  • Be clear, extensive and precise in your briefings
  • Utilise every strength and tactical advantage possible
  • Simplify
  • Prioritise
  • Execute
  • Discipline equals freedom
  • The maximum span of control is six

The book takes war stories from Ramadi and the exploits of SEAL team Task Unit Bruiser. Those war stories are translated into business principles and examples of how that was applied in businesses.


If you have seen American Sniper you will immediately identify as Cris Kyle is mentioned in the book as he was part of Task Unit Bruiser. It is Black Hawk Down and Green Zone. Gritty. Dusty. Dangerous. You can nearly smell the gun powder. In those circumstances, there is no escape and mistakes can kill you. Hence the need for extreme ownership. There is no excuse. Own it.

Universal principles for success

What struck me is how the hard principles of Navy Seals correspond with the principles of “Firms of endearment”. Full engagement with values, purpose and vision.

sensemaking cover

Why reinvent the wheel and why not learn from the best business thinkers? And why not use that as a platform to make better business decisions? Alone or as a team.

Sense making; morality, humanity, leadership and slow flow. A book about the 14 books about the impact and implications of technology on business and humanity.

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Ron Immink

I help companies by developing an inspiring and clear future perspective, which creates better business models, higher productivity, more profit and a higher valuation. Best-selling author, speaker, writer.

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