7 leadership lessons from Navy SEALs

Keith Cowing, a software entrepreneur who has worked for Goldman Sachs and Lockheed Martin, respects the discipline, tenacity and elite performance of Navy SEALs and believes we can learn a lot from them.

Here are seven lessons from the SEALs, whom Cowing notes are able to unleash military firepower on groups 10 times their size:

1. Plan carefully. SEALs prepare for dozens of scenarios and pay attention to detail.

2. Prepare for surprises. The Boy Scouts’ motto is “Be prepared.” In other words, you won’t get advance notice, so know how to pivot. Cowing says, “A 30-second chance encounter can change your life, but only if you’re locked and loaded.”

3. Remain fearless. Life is full of danger; get over it and go to battle.

4. Seek success, not fame. Cowing points out that you can probably name athletes and CEOs but not so many Navy SEALs. Excellence, not celebrity, is their goal and their reputation.

5. Take action. Stay nimble. You’ll never make perfect decisions, so don’t dither.

6. Start and finish with teamwork. Doesn’t sound real glorious, but it’s about the only thing that really works. Missions can fail but loyalty should never fail.

“Be maniacal about defending your team,” Cowing says. “Cohesive teams are forged over months and years of going to war together.”

7. Despite the chaos, focus. There will always be chaos.

— Adapted from “7 Lessons Entrepreneurs Should Learn From the Navy SEALs,” Keith Cowing, Business Insider.