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"A Minute With Mike" - Lessons Learned: Extreme Ownership Muster002

Silos Cordoba to build manufacturing plant in Brazil 1068x350


In my last entry, I mentioned the laws of combat.  Again, the laws seem to make no sense when you try to apply them to Fire/EMS/HEMS…the concepts are simple, but not easy.

  • No Silos
  • Teamwork
  • If one fails, we all fail
  • Building Relationships

Jocko and Leif told a story about the multi-disciplinary teams involved in the fight for Ramadi. You had U.S. Army Rangers, U.S Navy EOD, U.S.M.C. Force Recon, Armored divisions, etc.  Jocko, as a SEAL commander and Leif as a SEAL platoon leader had no control of any of those other elements. NO CONTROL. They knew as leaders, even though they had no “control” and couldn’t order them to do anything, they needed to find a way to work outside the built up silos. Everyone had “their own” mission, but they all had the same ultimate mission. Defeat the enemy.  They did this by creating and building relationships….in some cases leading up the chain of command, sometimes leading down…They needed to work together in order to win. Leif said there are only 2 measures you need to worry about when you are assessing the way things are going…just two.

  1. Effective
  2. Ineffective

Without these relationships, they were ineffective. They all needed each other. It was as simple as that.

This resonates with me a ton. Think of the ways this could apply in your department, agency or division.

  • Administration
  • Finance
  • Fleet Maintenance
  • Logistics
  • Middle Management
  • Billing
  • Scheduling
  • Training

We all have our own mission within the greater mission and we are by nature a jealous and selfish beast! We need to protect our own interests, RIGHT?!! BUILD THOSE SILOS AND BUILD THEM TO WITHSTAND ALL! Imagine if that would have been the case in Ramadi. Everyone doing their own things, no coordination, no communication, blinders on to the world...just do your thing. Wouldn’t have changed a thing and Ramadi would likely still be under control of the insurgents.

Reach out to logistics, build that relationship. Understand why billing needs the info they do…talk to finance, try to understand why things are the way they are. Let them see your view of the mission, let them understand how things work in your world.

As Task Unit Bruiser was set to deploy, they had everything they needed…except a color printer. Jocko was trying to get a printer to get color maps of obstacles and buildings for missions.  The requisition was hung up in red tape and they were leaving in 6 hours. His phone rang and it was his boss. Lots of talk about mission readiness, morale of the troops etc. and as Jocko recalls, he was very “yessir, men are ready, supplies are good, but we just don’t have that color printer, but other than that sir, we are ready to rock and roll”. The admiral stopped him “you don’t have a printer?” he asked. “Yessir, said Jocko, but really, we are ready to roll” The admiral said let me make a call. 2 hours later, guess what showed up. Yup.

If Jocko would not have built relationships up the chain (as well as down) he would have been sitting in Iraq without a color printer. It’s as simple as that.

I challenge you to go out this week and sit down with someone from a different department in your organization and start a new relationship.  Get to know them, let them know about the job you do and how you depend on each other to meet the mission. You never know when you’ll need a color printer.

Until next time,



Mike Verkest, A.A.S, FP-C, CCP-C, EMT-P
Chief Strategic Officer | Education Consultant
FlightBridgeED, LLC | SecondShift Podcast
C: 971.334.9864
Find me on Twitter: @SecondShiftFBE

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