Clearly, when you get into a situation like this and you knew what’s going on with company, but just for someone that doesn’t understand the whole concept we work with companies, so you have an understanding of what the situation is on the ground that she’s going into, which means that you know that she’s going into a functional team, right?

The Debrief w/ Jocko and Dave Berke #5: Jocko and Good Deal Dave Analyze some issues and look for solutions.

Jocko Willink (00:00):

This is the Jocko Debrief podcast, episode five with Dave Berke and me, Jocko Willink. Dave, let’s debrief. What do you got?

Dave Berke (00:11):

We’ve got someone that just got promoted into a key position in a big company. She’s now running operations. First female ever to hold this position on this company. East coast company, been around for a long time and everybody in this position before her has been a man, has been a male dominated organization a little bit, and she’s stepped up into this role. She’s awesome. She is totally ready for this job. And she’s getting some feedback from folks helping her prep her, how she’s going to introduce herself, how she’s going to announce herself to the team. Hey, I’m the new head of operations. This is who I am. And a lot of the advice she’s been getting is, “Hey, you got to go in there hard.” You got to come in there, and I think the phrase that they’re using is you got to announce your presence with authority. You can’t come in all timid and meager, you got to come in strong and let them know that you’re here to run this department and that you’re going to make this happen.

Dave Berke (01:20):

So she calls me, she’s like, “Hey, I’ve got this thing coming up. This is the advice that I’m getting.” And she’s worried, she’s like, “I don’t… I understand what they’re saying, but I’m not sure if that’s right.” And of course my perspective is like, “Hey, actually I think your instincts are on the mark. I don’t think this is necessarily good advice.” Now look, the advice that she’s getting, it’s coming from a good place. They’re trying to get her, they’re trying to set her up to be successful and they understand that. And they’re right, she can’t come in meager and meek and frail and oh, I’m not sure this is right for me, but here I am.

Dave Berke (01:57):

I said, “But you don’t need to announce your presence with authority.” I said, “As a matter of fact, listen, if you don’t want to, you don’t need to announce yourself at all. There’s a literal announcement that went out to this company in the form of a memo that said announcement, new head of operations is this person. So if you don’t want to announce yourself at all, you don’t need to because it’s already happened.” I said, “But what you really should think about is what are your expectations for this role, for you in this role? So what are the things that you think that you need to do in this role?” I said, “So why don’t you tell me, what are your expectations? What are the things that you’re thinking about?” “Well, I want the team to do well. I want to give them the things that they need. I want to help them and give them the resources and the tools and the training they need so they can be successful.”

Dave Berke (02:49):

And we went down this list of all the things that she felt was her job. And as you can probably tell from this list, she’s a trooper, she’s in the game. She understands it. And of course like with 83.9% of every question that gets asked, it’s right in Leadership Strategy and Tactics where it says, hey, what do you do on day one? You don’t need to walk in and say, “Listen up. I’m in charge now. Here are my expectations for you. Here’s what I want you to do.” Just walk in, tell them, “Hey, listen, I am honored to be in this role. I am thrilled to have this opportunity. I care about this team and I want to help this team be successful. My expectation is that I’ll do whatever it takes for us to be successful.”

Dave Berke (03:36):

And so when we did the role play we said, “Hey, if you just come in and your opening speech is 30 seconds long and that’s all you say, how do you think they’re going to react?” She’s like, “Well, they’ll probably be fine with it.” I said, “Good. Then why don’t you just do what you think you should do?” And it’s not that that advice was bad in the sense of like they’re trying to set you up to fail, but how do you think it’s going to come across if you walk in and go, “Hey, listen up. I may not be the person you thought was going to be in this job, but I am. You might have had some ideas of how things used to be or who should be in here, but I’m in charge now and this is how…”

Dave Berke (04:07):

And it’s so, when you’re on that detached [inaudible 00:04:10] it’s so obvious when you see that. Again, you do not want to go in there to be a pushover. I said, “But the opportunity for you to show who you are as a leader, your opportunity to really reveal what kind of leader you are and what they can expect from you isn’t going to come from the speech. As a matter of fact, the speech probably isn’t maybe even going to be all that memorable. You don’t need to make it a big deal. You in enough time are going to get challenged with leadership issues that you’re going to have to get engaged in and get involved. And that’s when they’re going to see what kind of leader you are.” So open up a book, refresh that a little bit. Do not announce your presence with authority, come in and let them know what you expect and the expectation is that you’re here to help the team win.

Jocko Willink (04:51):

Clearly, when you get into a situation like this and you knew what’s going on with company, but just for someone that doesn’t understand the whole concept we work with companies, so you have an understanding of what the situation is on the ground that she’s going into, which means that you know that she’s going into a functional team, right? Not a bad team, not a team where they’re firing the leader because everything’s all jacked up, those are different scenarios and those are also scenarios that I talk about in Leadership Strategy and Tactics. And even in those scenarios, does that mean that you roll in there and you come off the top ropes? Usually not off the top ropes, unless you’ve got some catastrophic morale or catastrophic ethical issues, then it might call for some heavy hitting coming out of the gate.

Jocko Willink (05:49):

So there’s that, and there’s but you have a team, a functional team. Well, how do you take over a functional team? Yeah, you go to page 157 of Leadership Strategy and Tactics and you follow those guidelines. When it comes to, here’s an issue where it makes me a little nervous and probably this is probably making her nervous too. Hey, here’s what you better do. Like if someone, if I was getting ready to go meet my team for the first time and someone says, “Hey, listen, here’s what’s going on. You better do this.” That would start to make me question, well, wait, wait a second. If you’re needing to tell me how to introduce myself to the team, you must not have a lot of confidence in what’s going on here and you must be worried and you must see me as weak. And so that I’m sure that starts to creep into someone’s head.

Jocko Willink (06:44):

I was doing my first interviews for the officer candidate program that I went into in the Navy. And so I was talking to the executive officer at the time at seal team one. And he was heading up this officer review board, I think that’s yeah, officer review board where I would go in and meet with these three or four officers and they would ask me a bunch of questions and they would give me a recommendation based on how I responded. And I wasn’t really nervous or anything, but he just as a good leader, he said, “Hey, let’s talk about the thing that you’re about to go to.” He’s like, “Are you nervous?” I’m like, “Not really.” And he goes, “Okay, well, good.”

Jocko Willink (07:24):

He goes, “Check this out. When you go in there, there’s no reason to be nervous because you’re in there for a reason. You’re in there because you’ve been recommended to get this position. And so you’re in there because you’re professional and you are smart and you come up with good answers and you’ve shown leadership potential. That’s why you’re going in there. So when you go in there…” Essentially what he said was, and this is really good advice with a little caveat. “When you go in there,” he said, “be yourself,” which is essentially what you said to this woman. Hey, what do you think you should do? And she said it, and you’re like, “Yeah, so you should be yourself.” So you have to be yourself.

Jocko Willink (08:07):

And the caveat is listen, you’re going into an environment. You are going to be professional. This is why I say there’s a little caveat because being yourself, you have to use at least some level of caution because you might be a very nice person. You can err on the side of being too nice. You can err on the side of being too hard. What I recommend is you err on the side of being a little bit too hard. Does this mean come off the top ropes? No. But it is much easier to start with a tight leash and give slack as people earn trust and whatnot than it is to go in there with a bunch of slack, and then all of a sudden you’ve got to jerk the chain and now that’s a problem. So err on this… I mean, we joke about it all the time.

Jocko Willink (09:04):

Leif jokes about it all the time because when he came into task unit Bruiser, I didn’t smile at anyone for six weeks. And Colonel Hackworth didn’t smile at anyone for the first month. And so why is that? It’s erring on the side of being professional. It’s erring on the side of being, is that the right word, hard? I guess being professional. Err on the side of being professional, not overly friendly, because overly friendly is hard to judge the way people are going to respond to that. People might go, “Oh, cool. She wants to be our friend and that’s the way it’s going to be. Cool. I don’t really have to listen to her.” So err on the side of being professional.

Jocko Willink (09:44):

The last thing I had was, and now this is the counter to being too hard. The counter to being too hard is why would you need to come in there and be all authoritative? Well, it’s because you’re insecure about people thinking that you’re a good leader, which when you go in and you act all authoritative, everyone thinks… They don’t think, wow, that person’s really authoritative. What they think is they’re not very confident in their leadership skills and that’s why they’re trying to brow beat us with their rank. So you think you’re coming across one way by being hyper authoritative, but what you really do, what you’re really doing is putting yourself on being on report for being insecure about your leadership. So we want to be balanced, right? We want to err towards being professional, we want to err with enough confidence and authority that people go, “Okay, we get it.” But we don’t want to go to a point where people go, “Oh, insecure? Got it.”

Dave Berke (10:47):

And don’t underestimate, especially if they know you, how easy it is for them to see what you’re doing. You walk in like whoa, Jocko man. This is… It’s so easy for them to see if you’re overshooting the mark by design. So just like you said, I mean, you need to be yourself and be authentic. Totally what you said about that and using the examples of, hey, I’m going to come in. I’m going to make clear, like I’m going to hold the line. And these are the things that are important and this is the way we’re going to be. And I can prot back, that’s much easier than trying to tighten up the slack at the beginning.

Dave Berke (11:19):

But if you overshoot the mark, they’re going to see it a mile away. And it’s that thing we talked about before is perspective is what are they going to see versus what you’re seeing? And if you’re detached enough, it’s very obvious how clear it’s going to be that you are hyper insecure if you walk in. And out the blue like whoa, that was a really aggressive introduction speech Jocko. We’ve been working together for four years. Where did that come from?

Jocko Willink (11:41):

And here’s the problem with everything that we’re saying right now, everything that we’re saying right now is going to edge someone towards completely overthinking this which is why, look, you’re in this position, you’re being promoted, you’re being put in that position of leadership because people have seen the way you perform. They trust you. So be yourself. Be yourself and then add 6% of professionalism, extra professionalism and you’ll dial it right in there.

Dave Berke (12:09):

What’s funny is that the conversation that we had took about like 90 seconds. When we talk on the phone, she’s like, “Oh, that’s great. I just wanted to get your take on it.” And it was just like you said, we have talked way more longer than we did because it was, hey, don’t overthink this. Be yourself. Think about what’s important to you, announce that. Come in, let them know what’s going on and then move on from there and that was the entire thing.

Jocko Willink (12:32):

Did you debrief further?

Dave Berke (12:34):

Oh, totally. I mean-

Jocko Willink (12:35):

And all good?

Dave Berke (12:38):

Well, two things. One, yes, it was all good. And two, the beauty of that is she was like it was, she said it was a non-event. Of course it was. And that’s what we talked about is hey, this is not… This thing, your introductions speech don’t… If you’re taking command of a battalion or a brigade or if you’re taking command as a… those speeches, those things, they’re not important. What matters is what you are and who you are during that entire time. And we create these things in our mind, like I got to hit this speech out of the park like it’s some big thing. Ask me how many CO introduction speeches I remember in my 23 year career.

Jocko Willink (13:13):

If you feel the need to go in there and make a big statement, what part of your brain do you think is feeling that need? It’s a little something called your ego.

Dave Berke (13:24):


Jocko Willink (13:24):

So heads up for that. All right. I have my debrief term. I think this is my first debrief. And I’ll do… Look, we did something called the F battlefield. It was a pilot course where we are taking people to battlefields across the country and at some point across the world. And the first one that we did was at the Battle of Gettysburg, the civil war. And I’m going to actually do a podcast to go into some of, to go into more detail on that battle, lessons learned, leadership, et cetera. But when I got done with it, I had my notebook.

Jocko Willink (14:05):

And so, I was there, Leif was there, Mike’s Sarraille was there, Steve Ward was there, Jason Gardner was there, Jamie was there and then a bunch of clients. So it was a pilot, so we were all kind of checking out, seeing what the deal was. But as I went through it and I got done, I just took my notebook and I sent you a bunch of words basically to say, “Hey, here’s some stuff to debrief you on.” So because, and the reason is, look, there was a bunch of things that were kind of look, extreme ownership, laws of combat, leadership strategy and tactic, stuff that there’s no reason for me to send you a text and say, “Hey, here’s something. Here’s something. Here’s an anomaly that I may not have thought through.”

Jocko Willink (14:53):

And most of this boiled down to me thinking, you know what, I just reexplained this to everyone and people said, “Oh yeah. Okay, got it.” So here’s a couple things. The first thing that I sent you was implied intent. Implied intent. So we’ve all heard of commander’s intent. We all know what that is. Commander’s intent is, hey, this is what we’re doing and this is why we’re doing it. And again, I’ll go into some of the details about why this came up in the battle of Gettysburg between the various generals that were there from Robert Lee and his subordinate generals. And so I will absolutely get into that stuff. So this idea of implied intent, it’s this, look, if I tell you, “Hey, Dave, the intent of this operation is for you to secure this mountaintop so that we can then push forward with cover from the high ground.”

Jocko Willink (15:46):

So if I tell you all that, right, it’s very obvious that’s the commander’s intent. What I realized and it’s something that I realized that I’ve never put into words before until I was talking through this and explaining that when you’re in charge, you have not just your commander’s intent that you give verbally, but you also have an implied intent that is the nature of your very being. And I realized that so much of my commander’s intent throughout my entire career was based on implied intent. By knowing me, you knew that this is what I would want.

Dave Berke (16:39):

I knew what you expected.

Jocko Willink (16:40):

Yes. This actually happened at echelon front, and it was Jamie and Jen and Lynn and the rest of the team during a muster. And they were going incredibly psycho to test everything and make sure that the line was going to be through as quickly as possible, make sure that registrations would go through and make sure people weren’t waiting in line and make sure that the things that needed to be handed out were in the right place at the right time, and that everything was going to be perfect.

Jocko Willink (17:18):

And I never pulled them aside. I actually did it after. I did it during the debrief. I said, “You know what, Jamie, you and your team realized.” I never said to them, but here’s the deal. I said to them after the fact. I said, “Listen, if this event disorganized and people have to wait in line and people are confused about where they’re going, and there’s no one to check them in. And if all those things happen and people are coming and paying money to a leadership event, and we can’t even execute the leadership event smoothly, I want my money back immediately.”

Jocko Willink (17:56):

Jamie never had to ask me, “Hey, should I hire an extra two people to make sure that the line…” She didn’t ask me that. The implied intent was this better be the best thing ever. On the battlefield, hey, when it came time for Leif to either close with and destroy the enemy, or maybe leave a situation to avoid contact, he knew, Seth knew, the guys knew what the implied intent was. Look, if there’s bad guys and we have an opportunity to take the fight to them, that’s what we do. So there’s an important part about implied intent. So do you see where I’m coming from? Do you have any commentary on that?

Dave Berke (18:40):

Yeah. What I was writing down, I was thinking is it lets me know what I should do without you ever telling me what to do, because I know you well enough as leader, as my boss, as whatever, I know what you want. So I know what to do when you’re not around to tell me. And I also don’t need to go, “Hang on, let me call Jocko and see what he’s thinking here.” I don’t have to do that when there’s no time to do that.

Jocko Willink (19:01):

Yep. Another good example was that we were at desert warfare training in the beginning of our workup in task unit Bruiser. And guys, we had a night off and normally guys when they have a night off, they go drinking in town and have a good time and they come back and no one even asked me, because the implied intent was we’re here to train. That’s the most important thing in the world. So that’s part one of implied intent. Here’s part two. If I am sending you on an operation or on a mission and my implied intent is not valid for this situation, I better be damn sure to explicitly tell you that my implied intent or I better make it perfectly clear what is happening. So if I’m always telling you, “Hey, you know what Dave…”

Jocko Willink (19:53):

If my implied intent is always, look you know me, you know I’m aggressive. You know if we get in a fire fight on the battlefield, we better take the fight to the enemy, take them out, destroy. That’s what we do. We train like that, we go on workup, you’ve done 20, 25, 30 missions like that with that attitude. Now of a sudden, we get put into a different AO and we have a very sensitive politician that’s there and they’ve started to assemble some coalition supporting troops. And the last thing we want to do is cause collateral damage or have any kind of civilian casualties.

Jocko Willink (20:30):

When we’re going out before you go, I say, “Hey Dave, here’s what’s going on. I know normally we are default aggressive. Tonight, I actually want you to be default passive. I want the security and safety of the populace and the infrastructure to be the number one thing that you think about. That is infinitely more important tonight than closing with and destroying the enemy.” So that’s it. We have implied intent and we better know what that implied intent is. And if you’re going to go against that implied intent, you better be, you better make it explicitly clear.

Dave Berke (21:09):

Yeah, that makes sense. And I think of how I have always been as a subordinate when I have worked for other people throughout my career. One of the things I tried to discover very early on about my leadership is what that implied intent was and that can be really, really strong. If I’m working for you, I am working for you, I know what your implied intent is. That is the strongest thing in my mind to guide my decisions for decentralized command. So if we’re going to go out and do anything that’s going to be different than implied intent, you got to almost go out of it and say, “Listen, I know what you would do in this situation and I’m telling you why you’re not going to do it.” And why?

Dave Berke (21:45):

Because that implied intent is for me, like is the most powerful force that I had as a subordinate leader is what would my boss want me to do here? Is making sure I understood that. So you saying you got to go out of your way to make it clear to do that, that rings very true with me. Because as a subordinate, my leadership intent was something I sought to understood early on and really understand because that allowed me to go do what I was supposed to do when they weren’t around and do a good job.

Jocko Willink (22:11):

Yeah. It’s interesting. This has had no name before. I’m naming it now, implied intent. Now this links very closely to the next point I want to bring up, which is, and I’ve been talking about this, but I just want to tie these two things together. It’s decentralized command and culture. So decentralized command and culture, look, this is a very easy connection to make and it’s very similar to what we just said. You have implied intent, and then we have, from that implied intent, you start to develop a culture as an organization.

Jocko Willink (22:40):

And if our culture as an organization is default aggressive, then I know that you can make decisions based on that culture. So culture inside of an organization is like the highest form of decentralized command. And then you can marry that up with another word, culture and values. So if your culture and your values are strong, then people in your chain of command should be able to make 99% of decisions just knowing the culture and the values. You add some implied intent to that and it’s 99.9%. You tell them why they’re doing what they’re doing and what the parameters are, they can make everything. You never need to talk to them again.

Jocko Willink (23:28):

So just recognize that values and culture is the highest form of decentralized command. And if you haven’t instilled values and culture into your team and your team doesn’t know what your implied intent is. And the thing is that this is the thing, like I’ve never, never used that word, but we’ve all seen it, right? But now hopefully people can become conscious about what… Imagine if you were working for freaking Chesty Puller, like you don’t need to hear anything else. You don’t need to be told anything. There needs to be no briefs. He doesn’t need to say a word. The implied intent is there. We are going on.

Jocko Willink (24:07):

General Patton, same thing. What’s the implied intent? Implied intent is we are not digging in. We are going forward. That’s what we’re doing. So if you’re not going to do that, you need to pull them back. But also as a leader, think about what your implied intent is and then take that implied intent, capture it, write it down, simplify it and then distribute it. And guess what you have? You’ve got a culture. You’ve got values that create your culture, which then become the backbone of the decentralized command inside your organization.

Dave Berke (24:42):

The connection between culture and decentralized command and as simple as you made that sound and as I hear it, it’s so clear what the connection is. The first time you said it when we were talking about it, I had not thought of it into those terms though. So if you’re listening, you’re thinking about, hey, why am I creating values for my organization? Why am I describing what these things are? Decentralized command is what all the leaders want. Leaders want decentralized command. They know that’s the end state they want to get to with their team because they can’t be everywhere. There’s a million reasons why decentralized command is a goal. But if you don’t really think about the connection from culture, that it’s part of decentralized command, you can miss that in your mind.

Dave Berke (25:27):

And when you’re doing these exercises where you try to capture a company’s vision and writing down the things that define the culture, if you’re not making the connection to decentralized command, meaning you’re not realizing that those things are what is going to allow your people to do what they should do when you’re not around, you’re going to miss something. And when you made the connection, it was still even for me alive of like wow, it’s important to say that like why I’m doing this as an organization leader, we’re creating these things because I want you all to know what to do that is in the best interest of this team when I’m not there and make that connection for your people.

Jocko Willink (26:06):

You want me to take it one step further for you, Dave Berke?

Dave Berke (26:09):


Jocko Willink (26:11):

Check this out. When someone on your team does something that was wrong, that didn’t make sense, that you can’t understand why, all you have to do is start to deconstruct that decision and you’re going to get to a place where there’s no guidance, where there’s no values, where there’s no understanding of the why. So when you see people in your organization that are doing the wrong thing, pull the string on that, you’re going to find out why. It’s your fault because you haven’t given them the implied intent. You haven’t given them the commander’s intent. You haven’t given them the values and the culture that will drive them to make the right decisions. So how do you fix it? You start to put those things in place. That’s what you do. All right. I guess we’ll do one more of these.

Jocko Willink (27:14):

There is disagreements amongst the leadership at the battle of Gettysburg and there are often disagreements in the way that we get things done. We hear a lot and it’s a quote. Actually Leif quoted me during one of these debriefs that one of the things that I used to say was, “Look Dave, if you and I…” And I’m the boss or no, you’re the boss and we’re in there having an argument about how to do an operation and finally say, “Listen, Jocko, we’re doing it my way. So get on board and go start planning your execution.” This is what I used to tell the young seals. When you walk out of that room, you execute that mission as if it was your own. Okay.

Jocko Willink (28:03):

And Leif quoted me on that, which is a legitimate quote. Here’s the thing. And again, this is all from Leadership Strategy and Tactics. So it’s not even like it’s that big of a deal. But so they talk about there’s two generals, General Lee and General Longstreet. General Lee was General Lee and General Longstreet was one of his immediate subordinates who he called his Warhorse, meaning they had a good relationship. General Longstreet did not want to execute what General Lee’s plan was. And so what Leif said was, “Listen, when you…” And so what he did was when he walked out of the tent with the plan, General Lee said, “This is what we’re doing.” General Longstreet walked out of the tent and then he waited and hesitated and waited four or five hours and didn’t execute. And they had to send a bunch of people like hey, what’s going on? Are you going to do this? And finally he did it dragging his feet the whole time. And Leif was like, “Hey, this is why when you leave, you execute it as your own.”

Jocko Willink (29:05):

And then I forget who asked a question or we had one of the clients, and as I stood there and was thinking through this, they were talking and talking and I said, “Let me say something here. If you don’t agree with that plan, don’t leave the tent. You don’t leave the tent until…” Look Dave, if you have a plan that’s so good and you can’t convince me of it, we got a problem bro, especially once I’ve removed my ego, once I’ve removed my ego, once I’ve detached from my emotions, once I’ve seen your perspective. I’ve done the right things over here to try and you still can’t get me there, we got a real freaking problem. And that means I’m not leaving the tent. I am not leaving the tent. Now that’s the goal.

Jocko Willink (29:57):

Now look, once you get beyond that, there’s a bunch of different ways we can go there. We can go to Leadership Strategy and Tactics where, hey, if you say, “Hey, Jocko, shut up and do it,” now what do I do? I can say, “You can fire me. I give up all my influence. You can bring in a yes man.” Look, these are all spelled out in Leadership Strategy and Tactics. I can say, “Okay, boss, I got it. I’ll do the best I can.” I go out, I do the best I can and I mitigate risk as much as possible, try and take care of my team, try and execute the plan. But maybe like I said, mitigate risk. The stories in Vietnam were seals a few times got ordered to do things that they did not think was good missions. And so they said, “You know what? Okay, cool. We don’t want to do that boss.”

Jocko Willink (30:35):

And then boss says, “No, shut up and do it.” The guys go, “Okay, cool.” They walk outside the wire. They go 100 meters into the jungle. They set up a perimeter. They sit there for the night. They come back, hey, we didn’t run into anything. Same thing with Dick Winters in Band of Brothers. Oh, you want us to do another one of those reconnaissances where we just lost a guy last night and the war’s going to be over any day now? Yep. Okay. Got it. I don’t think it’s a good idea. No, shut up and do it. Okay. Got it boss. Go down the cellar and drink wine.

Jocko Willink (31:01):

So that’s a whole nother thing. But all those subsequent decisions are based on the primary thing, which is don’t leave the tent until you’ve got to a point where you know you’ve completely exercised all the demons of the conversation. Because the chances that you and I on the same team, working for the same company, with the same goals, which we want to make money, we want to support our clients, we want all these things or we’re at war. We want to peel the bad guys. We want to take our objectives. You and I aligned.

Jocko Willink (31:44):

At some level, we have to be aligned. And if we can’t come to a conclusion about what is the right thing to do, I’m not going to leave the tent. That’s the first part of it. If you leave the tent, you better figure out which one of those courses of actions you’re going to take. I’m going to do this thing to the best of my ability. I’m going to mitigate the risk as much as I can. Like there’s a bunch of things that happen, but what it starts with, if we don’t agree, I’m not leaving the tent.

Dave Berke (32:10):

I wrote down as you started this, I just wrote down in my little margin I wrote down ego, because I’m thinking, I’m putting myself in that situation. So I’m Longstreet, you’re Lee, we’re in the tent, we’re doing this thing. And we’ve been doing this thing, actually you and I have been doing this echelon front for about as long as they probably were. I got three or four years under my belt here. So now I’m in a situation, Jocko gives me the big picture brief. I’m sitting here I’m like, “That actually, that seems wrong.” So already right away, that’s a very low probability. I’m not saying it’s not possible, but like that’s immediate red flag. When I wrote down ego, I was thinking to myself as before I leave the tent, this isn’t about me trying to convince you that your plan is wrong.

Dave Berke (32:53):

For me, it’s the opposite of, hey Jocko, I’m still missing something. I’m not understanding this and it’s not always. There’s always that caveat, but the likely issue isn’t that your plan is bad. It’s that I’m missing something about what you want. And when I wrote down ego, it’s I’m not there to try to change your mind. I’m there to really figure out what am I doing wrong? So I can’t leave the tent until I actually get past what I don’t understand. Now, there may be some times that I have to come up with a way to maneuver around what you’re doing too. But the likelihood, if we are this aligned and you covered a lot of what I was going to say which was, I mean, think about the situation here.

Dave Berke (33:33):

This is you and I after three and a half years with all the same goals, objectives, and all of a sudden I can’t get past what you’re asking me to do. Okay. What’s really going on here? And more than likely what’s going on is I’ve created an answer in my mind that’s different than yours and I want to dig in and get you to see it my way. I can’t leave the tent until I actually understand what you’re saying. And that to me is much more likely of a problem that it’s me instead of you. And actually, if I take that approach and you see me take that approach, you’re actually more likely to go, “Oh, hang on, hang on. You keep pushing back. Let me see if I really understand this myself.” Anyway that’s just what I wrote down. I was thinking of, what’s going to be the biggest problem for me in that tent? It’s going to be me.

Jocko Willink (34:19):

I have this goal when I’m in a disagreement with somebody and this shocks people all the time. But when I disagree with Dave, my goal is to understand why Dave is right and I’m wrong.

Dave Berke (34:33):

It’s not to win the argument.

Jocko Willink (34:35):

It’s not even not to win the… It’s like how am I wrong right now and how can Dave be right? My goal is to have Dave be right. And if you go with that approach, it disarms your ego. My ego is factually disarmed because I’m trying to prove that you’re right. And what that allows, it allows the actual problems that we’re facing to rise to the surface so we can come up with a good solution. Well, we always try and allegedly keep this podcast a little shorter, so let’s try and do that tonight. It’s a good place to stop. If you want to dig deeper into all these aspects of leadership in any arena, you want to hear us and the rest of the echelon front team, talking about these things, answering questions…

Jocko Willink (35:15):

By the way, if you want to ask a question, go to efonline.com. Join one of our live webinars are happening all the time. We’ll sit there and talk to you about it. That’s what we do. We solve problems through leadership. If you want leadership guidance inside your organization, come and check out our leadership consultancy at echelonfront.com. I’ve also written a bunch of books on the subject of leadership, Extreme Ownership, Dichotomy of Leadership, Leadership Strategy and Tactics. Got some other podcasts, Jocko podcast, Jocko unraveling, Grounded and The Warrior Kid podcast. And if you want to support any of these podcasts including this one, you can get some gear from jockostore.com or from originmaine.com. That’s it for tonight. Thanks for listening to The Debrief. Now go lead. This is Dave and Jocko out.

Ben Duff

Ben Duff

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