As the news continues to come out about the operation that led to the capture and killing of one of the world’s most notorious terrorists I can’t help but be engrossed in learning about the teamwork it took to pull off an operation of this magnitude.
In writing about teamwork and leadership and workplace communication much of the things we’re trying to accomplish on a daily basis are so minuscule in the big picture of the universe, especially when compared with this recent Navy Seals mission, and others we probably will never even know about.
I do believe, though, that there are lessons to be learned from this operation that business leaders can apply in the workplace.
There are tremendous similarities and some big difference between the teamwork it takes for a successful Navy Seals operation and day-to-day business teamwork success.
In general, the rules for success are all the same but it’s so much easier for business leaders to develop successful teams, yet you would never realize it.
It is so much easier in the business world to build a high-performance team with high levels of morale and motivation in the workplace than it is for the Navy Seals, or it should be.
I mean, in the business world, we’re not dealing with looking at life and death, ours and our adversaries, on a daily basis with every “mission.” Although, by the reaction of some employees in many situations you’d be hard pressed to believe otherwise.
The #1 secret ingredient that allowed teamwork to work flawlessly on this mission was PURPOSE!
Everyone on that team was committed to the PURPOSE of the operation.
And, although it took a dozen or so Navy Seals to do the physical activity to complete the mission, there had to be hundreds of others behind the scenes, investigating, planning, deciding, researching, drawing, playing devil’s advocate, supporting, and much more we’ll never know to make it successful. But, the absolute #1 secret ingredient that allowed this mission to be successful was PURPOSE.
Everyone on the team was committed to the PURPOSE of the mission. So committed that they stayed focused on their unique and specific role to do it flawlessly because the success of the mission depended on each person executing flawlessly. Without it, lives were in the balance.
This is why I continue to harp on the fact that successful teamwork in the business world should be a no-brainer and should also work flawlessly.
In my estimation in athletics and in military operations there are only 2 reasons for failure:
- despite flawless commitment and execution on our side, the opposition just outperforms us
- there is a breakdown in communication and execution by one or more individuals on our side
If we can agree that those are the only two ways we can fail, in business the first reason does not, or should not, obtain.
Therefore, we have only #2 to focus on. And, that seems to obtain much more than it should.
And, I would argue the cause of that breakdown is a lack of commitment to the team’s purpose. And, that lack of commitment I believe usually comes because the purpose is ambiguous. In my work I find that organizational leaders at all levels do a poor job of defining the purpose of their mission.
When the purpose is clear, and all team members are on board and committed to that mission, success can be achieved. Without, it can’t. Without it egos get in the way. And, to pull off a successful mission like the Navy Seals just completed, egos are put aside and everyone is comfortable with their role and their unique contribution to the success of the mission. When that is in place, there is nothing left for individuals to focus on.
More on this in future blog posts as I have other thoughts to add, but this is enough for today.
What do you think?