Extreme Ownership - How US Navy SEALs Lead and Win
Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Contributed by Larisa Brooke
Chapter 5

This chapter is based in South Central Ramadi, and the events narrated by Babin. The U.S. Army had adopted a radical and innovative strategy to take back Ramadi from the malevolent clutches of the insurgency. They had to go deeper into enemy territory, conquer them, and establish outposts to protect those gained. This was aimed at weakening the enemy and reducing operational boundaries. Integral to this strategy was cordon and search operations, clearing through city blocks house by house. On one particular operation, Team B arranged a large cordon and search operation that spanned several blocks from the heart of their bases, but yielded no results. The teams found themselves deeper inside enemy territory (Yanocruz, 2018). The operation ran almost up to the early hours of the morning and no incident had happened so far. The platoons’ commanders now had to come up with recommendations on whether to continue with the operation, or pull out and go back to their bases.

In the business application, the production manager was complaining about how the workers from a subsidiary owned by the parent company, was slowing down the production process. This was mainly because their jobs were never completed on schedule. The production manager explained to Willink and Babin how the company struggled to minimize downtime in their production. He also explained how downtime scenarios cost the company huge revenues and substantially impacted the bottom line. Babin advised the manager to look at the general organizational mission and stop laying excuses on the workers from the subsidiary company. The overall organizational mission is the one guiding the manager, and not his agendas and ego. He had to own it all and accept that the blame was on him and him alone.


Cover and move is simply a call for the teams to work together. It emphasizes on the need for the departments within organization, or teams in different ranks, to work together so that the main mission is not forsaken. Babin warns that if teams will forsake this principle of cover and move, then the consequences on the mission will be catastrophic to the overall performance of the team.

In any mission, individual teams or departments will tend to focus on their task so much that they can easily forget the role being played by the other departments. In most cases, this scenario will prompt conflicts and blame games. Babin says that it is important for the leaders to maintain perspective on the strategic mission and constantly remind the teams that they are part of the bigger team, and how the organizational mission prevails in all circumstances.

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