John Gretton Willink, or Jocko Willink, known as “Jocko”, is an American author, podcaster, and retired United States Navy officer. Jocko participated in combat operations during the Iraq War, serving as the commander of Task Unit Bruiser of SEAL Team 3, which participated in the Ramadi insurgency.
Jocko Willink wrote several best sellers, the most famous being Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win, where you get 12 Leadership principles to learn from the Navy SEAL.
Here are my favourite Jocko Willink quotes:
- Departments and groups within the team must break down silos, depend on each other and understand who depends on them. JockoWillink
- This firefight wasn’t between the enemy and us, this firefight tragically was between us and us.
- Don’t ask your leader what you should do; tell them what you are going to do.
Planning, First Things First
- A leader must be attentive to details but not obsessed by them. Jocko Willink
- Plans and orders must be communicated in a manner that is simple, clear, and concise. Jocko Willink
- Prioritise your problems and take care of them one at a time, the highest priority first. Don’t try to do everything at once or you won’t be successful. Jocko Willink
First Things First is a pillar of Stephen Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people. To know more, read What are the 7 habits of Stephen Covey?
Meaning, Start with Why
- I could then believe in the mission. If I didn’t believe in it, there was no way I could possibly convince the SEALs in my task unit to believe in it.
- They must believe in the cause for which they are fighting.
Discipline – Be Proactive
- But if you get out there and do your best, you will either win or you will learn.
- Stop researching every aspect of it and reading all about it and debating the pros and cons of it … Start doing it. Don’t expect to be motivated every day to get out there and make things happen. You won’t be. Don’t count on motivation. Count on Discipline.
- Didn’t get promoted? Good. More time to get better.
Be Proactive is a pillar of Stephen Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people. To know more, read What are the 7 habits of Stephen Covey?
- A leader must be calm, but not robotic. They must be confident, but never cocky. A leader must be brave, but not foolhardy. They must have a competitive spirit, but be a gracious loser.
- A good leader has nothing to prove but everything to prove.
- When personal agendas become more important than the team and the overarching mission’s success, performance suffers, and failure ensues.
- If you get your ego in your way, you will only look to other people and circumstances to blame.
Focus on results and not on ego is the last level of Patrick Lencioni’s pyramid that you can discover in How to form a high-performance team.
- There was only one person to blame for the confusion, only one person to blame for the wounded men, and only one person to blame for the dead Iraqi soldier. And I knew exactly who that person was. Jocko Willink
- When setting expectations, no matter what has been said or written, if substandard performance is accepted and no one is held accountable — if there are no consequences — that poor performance becomes the new standard, therefore, leaders must enforce standards. Jocko Willink
Focus on accountability, not popularity, is the 4th level of Patrick Lencioni’s pyramid that you can discover in How to form a high-performance team.