“Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin @Sam’s Book Club

Teamwork takes place when everyone assumes accountability. A leader's task involves knowing not only how to build a winning mindset but also how to inspire.

Leadership October 14, 2020

When a leader starts taking responsibility for a failure, both his superiors and the team members will admire the extreme ownership he displays. Good managers understand that their attitude will trickle down to their team. 

Teamwork takes place when everyone assumes accountability. A leader’s task involves knowing not only how to build a winning mindset but also how to inspire.

This week Sam’s Book Club reviews Extreme Ownership, written by Jocko Willink, a retired naval officer, and co-authored by Leif Babin, a former naval officer, both of whom served as U.S. Navy SEALs. This book presents a guide on how to apply powerful leadership principles from the battlefield to business and life.

Pastor Sam Neves, the Associate Director of Communications at the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s global headquarters, discusses winning team management and problem solving to inspire digital evangelism leaders around the world.

Taking Extreme Ownership

Pastor Sam talks about his experience of working with different teams in digital evangelism and marketing. He admits he had resentment and concerns regarding the ministry’s future and talked to God about this. 

He discusses his “calling” to rebrand the global image of the Adventist church and the struggles he has faced. Having read extensively on the subject of rebranding, he then shared his findings with colleagues at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. The bottom line is, he admits, no one understood it from his perspective.

“The brand is not their logo.” This is the mantra of the man who worked at a large multinational corporation whom Pastor Sam considered a guide. It helped him to discover what extreme ownership is. He says that it’s no longer about what the leaders do or don’t understand, it’s about how he would help them to understand.

The vision of the Church surrounding branding, digital evangelism and marketing is now different because the entire team supported the learning process.

Turn Losing Into Winning

Everybody wants to win, but what does this say about losing? The generations taught to win at all times find it hard to accept losses. 

Losing, as well as winning, is essential because it teaches a valuable lesson and guarantees gain. 

Digital Evangelism Initiative

  1. Helping people find us
    Search engine optimization, YouTube and other social media platforms will help people find the church.
  2. Helping people find Jesus
    When they contact us, they should be able to see and experience Jesus.
  3. Helping people find others
    It is our goal to find others and to help them too.

One example of these three points is an ad offering prayer. It helps every individual in a team to know their role; what to do now and what to do subsequently. But it has to be simple, not complex, so everyone can grasp the idea quickly.

Prioritize And Execute

When things begin to fall apart you will feel scared, for whatever reason. Cortisol will flood through your body, urging you to fight or flight. But the book Extreme Ownership suggests you have to keep calm and prioritize. Go for a walk, pray or read the Gospel of Mark. Don’t try to escape; remember the world will still continue no matter what. You can also let God reprioritize for you.

For the SEALs, it was a three-step process:
Step 1: relax
Step 2: look around
Step 3: make a call

Pastor Sam shares the story of his “inbox-zero” goal. Someone told him to stop but he persisted. Eventually, after a month, he realized he could no longer sustain answering emails for ten hours straight! The lesson he learnt was to be careful with over organizing because it brings troubles of its own.

Leading The Way Jesus Did

In listening, there is great wisdom. Pastor Sam advises going to your team members individually instead of collectively because that can be counterproductive.

He continues, “Don’t write anyone off. Jesus didn’t.” Think of the characters in the Bible who have different opinions contrary to those of Jesus. He chose to be patient with them and we should too. The real competition is with ourselves; we have to be better people today than we were yesterday.

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