Bob Armstrong, Commercial Audit Partner
Accountability – “Extreme Ownership”
For me, accountability is about owning everything that comes to me and falls under me. I own absolutely everything. And I’ll never pass the blame on to somebody else.
These ideas are highlighted in a book called “Extreme Ownership: How US Navy SEALs Lead and Win” by Jocko Willink. The concept of ‘extreme ownership’ is the practice of owning everything in your world, to an extreme degree. It means you are responsible for not just those tasks which you directly control, but for all those that affect whether or not your mission is successful.
I think that applies directly to leading teams in business as well. Not only do I take ownership for my direct responsibilities, but I also take ownership of creating a team environment where every person that is involved is put in the best position to succeed.
One of the ways I can do this is by giving our team members the tools to succeed. And that starts with training. The more we train our people, the more we’re hands on with them, the better off the team will be. Is it going to take more time? Sometimes yes. But in the end, it’s worth it.
Another way we can show accountability is saying ‘the buck stops here’. Whether that’s with a challenge that presents itself or an issue that arises. By being the one to step up to the plate and giving it your all, you won’t be left wonder what you could have done different to change the outcome. Because in the moment, you took responsibility.
It all plays back into ‘extreme ownership’ and the idea that if you take accountability, even if things don’t go perfect, you will have put yourself in the best position to succeed. And that’s another lesson from the book; Navy Seals and Special OPS debrief after every single mission. They get hard feedback that allows them to evaluate what they have done right and wrong. This helps them identify the ways they can put themselves in a better position the next time a similar challenge arises.
I think this mindset translates directly to the work we do here at MJ. Providing the highest level of service to our clients is a challenge. But it is something that we do well because of the values we have put in place from the bottom up. And that’s why we have been so successful as a firm.