​My Review: 'Extreme Ownership' by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

​My Review: 'Extreme Ownership' by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

Posted by Stelios on 13th Oct 2023

When I read 'Extreme Ownership' by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, I didn't expect such powerful insights from battle-hardened Navy SEAL officers. Their experiences in the urban warfare of Ramadi, Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom form the backbone of this remarkable book.

Jocko Willink (Source Jocko Willink / Echelon Front)

Image Source: Jocko Willink/Leif Babin/Echelon Front

In their storytelling, Willink and Babin extract invaluable lessons from each scenario they describe. Although seemingly basic, these lessons resonate profoundly and can be applied across various facets of life – including the world of hospitality and fish and chip shop ownership.

The central theme reverberating throughout the book is the idea that we are unequivocally responsible for our lives and outcomes. If things aren't going as planned, we must reassess, adapt, and take action. Blaming others or making excuses is a futile exercise that hinders progress.

Although 'Extreme Ownership' primarily addresses leadership qualities, it emphasises that leadership begins with self-leadership. The book challenges us to examine our lives before leading a team effectively. This message is particularly relevant for anyone running a hospitality business.

Jocko Willink (Source: Jocko Willink / Leif Babin/ Echelon Front)

Image Source: Jocko Willink/Leif Babin/Echelon Front

One key takeaway from the book is that successful leaders take full responsibility for everything, even mistakes and failures. The best-performing SEAL units had leaders who owned every aspect of their mission. This principle holds in the hospitality industry – blaming external factors won't drive improvement; ownership will.

The book also highlights the importance of leadership in team performance. A leader's attitude sets the tone for the entire team, and the leader drives performance. This holds a valuable lesson for fish and chip shop owners – your leadership style directly impacts your team's success.

Moreover, 'Extreme Ownership' emphasises the need to maintain high standards within a team. Leaders must enforce standards and hold underperformers accountable. This ensures that your team operates cohesively and efficiently.

The authors emphasise the significance of disciplined routines and habits. SEALs maintain peak physical condition through rigorous training, and this dedication to discipline is transferable to any business. Establishing disciplined habits can significantly impact the success of a fish and chip shop or any hospitality venture.

Additionally, the book underlines the importance of clear and straightforward communication. In high-pressure situations, complex plans can lead to misunderstandings and chaos. Hospitality businesses can benefit greatly from clear and straightforward communication.

Jocko Willink (Source: Jocko Willink / Leif Babin/ Echelon Front)

Image Source: Jocko Willink/Leif Babin/Echelon Front

One of the most valuable principles in 'Extreme Ownership' is the idea of prioritising and executing when overwhelmed. In the hospitality industry, unexpected challenges are common. Prioritising tasks and making decisions swiftly can be the difference between success and failure.

Furthermore, the book encourages leaders to make decisions based on incomplete information. Waiting for all variables to be known is often impractical in battle and business. Decisive leaders trust their instincts and adapt to evolving situations.

Discipline remains a central theme throughout the book, a critical trait for any leader. Discipline applies to physical fitness, decision-making, time management, and maintaining a strong work ethic.

Maintaining a healthy emotional balance is another emphasis in 'Extreme Ownership.' Leaders must show they care about their team's well-being while also staying composed. Striking this balance is crucial in the hospitality industry, where emotions can run high.

Lastly, the book reinforces the concept of personal responsibility. Leaders should never blame external factors for failures; instead, they should focus on what they can do to achieve success.

In summary, 'Extreme Ownership' is a must-read for anyone in the hospitality industry, especially fish and chip shop owners. It offers profound insights into leadership, discipline, and personal responsibility. It teaches us that owning our actions and decisions is the key to achieving success in business and life. As a fish and chip shop owner, I found it invaluable for fostering a culture of responsibility and continuous improvement in my business. It's not just a book; it's a blueprint for effective leadership and success.