Full credit to Jocko and Leif.

I was first encouraged by a team leader in 2003 to take ownership in project he described as MaxEvo but it was Jocko podcast 1 and the book Extreme Ownership, 15 years later that made it click.


The number one, all time, lead by example, take responsibility, team first, solve problems, got your six, full disclosure concept for leadership (in all directions) is Extreme Ownership.

In short:

  1. Never blame anyone.
  2. Instead only think: what could you have done differently to prevent the sub-optimal situation, and how will you ensure an optimal solution.

Some rules:

  1. You can’t make others take Extreme Ownership
  2. You can only explain it and keep the reminders visible (stack the shelves with Extreme Ownership and The Dichotomy of Leadership)
  3. The leader needs to orchestrate the solution implementations and prevent task saturation when someone tries to take ownership of every solution. Ownership does not mean team members do not have roles. Don’t want ego driven battles of people trying to out-own each other.

It is simple: don’t complain, or blame, or explain (with excuses). Instead fill in the blanks: It was my fault that ___ I should have _____ to fix it I will _____

Enshrine Extreme Ownership culture where everyone owns the objectives. Economics speaks of aligning incentives (with the Why? Of the mission).

Own the problems. Ownership cuts problems short. Problems don’t get swept under the rug. Losses get cut short. With pride.

Ownership unleashes creativity. With everyone taking ownership you get great ideas because more than one head is better than one head, and ideas emerge from rich communications and other ideas.

Ownership breaks down ego barriers to communication in the team, opening the door to the flow of ideas. People feel they can speak up and not seem ego driven but rather mission driven, for success that the whole team will share.

Toyota, champions of lean quality control and the five whys, put a QA stop button at every point along the assembly line: empowering everyone, making them all responsible for quality assurance, because quality is imperative to everyone’s success.

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