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What We Can Learn from the Navy SEALS: Lessons Learned

Leadership Lessons

What We Can Learn from the Navy SEALS

As posited by Wheal and Kotler (2017), for typical organizations… training is either a necessary evil endured by new hires, a perk reserved for executives or ‘high potentials’ or, come crunch time, an expense to be cut’ .

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Nor should it. As leaders, our ‘job’ to empower, teach, train, motivate, along with all the other technical aspects of the company… never really ends. We all realize that as leaders, there really isn’t a beginning and an end. Loyalty simply doesn’t work that way.

For our businesses to survive – to thrive – the depth and breadth of our role and responsibilities to our people never wavers.

As leaders, the depth and practice of responsibility we carry is continuous.

Problems can be solved. Some days it may not feel that way, but when our teams are genuinely strong and committed – successful execution during uncertainty is still attainable.

They’ve Mastered the Art of Training an Even Tougher Mindset

The Navy SEALSs are some of the toughest and most brilliant individuals ever. I can only imagine how tough the training actually is – the attrition rate is incredible – and for good reason.

What I’ve learned though is that it some Navy SEALS have been generous enough to share some core tips that will not only serve us well in our daily lives, but certainly catapult our mindset when it comes to how we lead.

So how do we identify those key direct reports, team members, or general staff that are genuinely committed? How do we truly identify those on our team who are only with us for the paycheck versus those who are worth their weight in gold?

·       Personal accountability. We really shouldn’t have to remind our staff of some of the most basic responsibilities. That’s a given. Or at least – it should be

·       Execution during uncertainty  

·       Ego. There is a huge difference between a healthy ego and one that interferes with the team’s cohesiveness. Left unattended, it can be absolutely destructive

·       Humility. I don’t know how to say this in any simpler terms. Lack of humility will destroy. We see it all the time in leaders whose lack of humility bruised their businesses so badly that recovery seems utterly arduous (or impossible)

·       Priority. As leaders, it is our job to take the time to truly identify the genuine level of each team members level of sincere priority. There is a huge difference between priority to our team and that infamous ‘what’s in it for me’ mentality

·       Commitment. I mean commitment to our team. We all know that we are far better together than any of us are alone. Sincere, unpretentious, and indisputable commitment is hard to come by under the guide of a lackluster leader

We all have lots on our plates these days. We have decisions pulling at us from every direction. Just like Keller and Papasan argue (particularly in their book The One Thing), it’s imperative that we decipher the most important from ‘the rest’.

Click here for a complimentary e-copy.

It’s another reason we have teams. As leaders, we simply cannot be fully and completely dedicated (and ultimately successful in any given or particular endeavor) when we think we can allot reasonable equality to multiple priorities.

It’s not possible.

Well, let me rephrase that… it’s possible. We see it all the time. It’s also taking a much, much, much slower road to success. If at all. You know the famous Russian proverb:

If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one


to read more about Lacz (2017) valuable leadership principles he’s garnered from living and breathing as a Navy SEAL…and how he generously applied shared principles to businesses industry wide in this commentary titled,  Leadership Lessons from a Navy SEAL.

Visit our e-library for a small collection of our favorite books. Those listed in our e-library are available as a complimentary download. In addition to our favorite business and leadership collection, you will find one written by and for those who possess a passion to learn more about the strength behind our SEALs.

Click here to download Extreme Ownership How US Navy SEALS Lead and Win by Willink and Babin. 



Kotler, S., & Wheal, J. (2017). Stealing fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and maverick scientists are revolutionizing the way we live and work. New York, NY: Harper Collins.