Extreme Ownership - How US Navy SEALs Lead and Win
Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Contributed by Larisa Brooke
Chapter 8

The setup is in South-Central Ramadi, Iraqi, the operation termed as A Reckonin, and the story is told by Willink. It begins when the SEAL teams receiving information of presence of enemy snipers on top of a building. The narrator, who is also the commander of all the SEALs (over thirty) and their partner forces of Iraqi soldiers, now had to apply the tactic of Decentralized Command. This meant he had to organize all the SEAL officers, including Babin, their platoon chiefs, and senior petty officers, and mandate them with the role of decision-making and execution.

With the deployment of the Task Unit Bruiser to Ramadi, Iraq, and with the application of the Decentralized Command system, each individual learned that they were expected to make decisions. Willink then gives a step-by-step outline of their strategic progress and the challenges faced during the execution of their plan.

He describes how the operation began by both the Charlie and Delta Platoons occupying their preselected locations in which they were to carry attacks from. They ensured that many possible enemy ingress and egress routes have been covered, positions that mutually support each other had been set up, and solid fighting positions that could defend them against heavy enemy attack had been picked.

Decentralized Command enabled them to coordinate and effectively manage risk, prevent disaster, and accomplish their mission. Just like in military combat, business managers also need to practice mission planning as an integral part in achieving success. Effective lines of communications need be kept and decentralization of duties to junior trustees is critical. The CEO (Chief Executive Officer) should then play the role of coordination and giving a go-ahead in execution activities.


Teams need to be broken down into manageable dozens of individuals with a clear and designated leader. The junior leaders then must be empowered to make decisions on key tasks necessary to accomplish a given mission in the most effective and efficient manner possible.

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