Extreme ownership

Going full in on our core values.

Story category: Organization

Story tags: Organization, values

We have a tradition of looking at the military for inspiration when it comes to organization and leadership; military methods have been tried and tested under the most difficult circumstances and with the ultimate penalty to pay when people get things wrong.


Intent-based Leadership as developed by David Marquete is our go to place for practical leadership development. To supplement this, we have found the work of Jocko Willink to be very useful; especially his work on ownership (one of our core principles).


The book “Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willink has a few distinct features which we value very much:


Extreme ownership means taking responsibility for everything within the scope of the mission; you cannot control what happens, but you can control the degree of ownership and focused action that comes out of the feeling of ownership. That means managing and coaching down and managing and coaching upwards the chain of command.


Lead with humility by checking your ego; ego is the enemy as ego distorts vision, makes people dig into their positions and thus prevents reflection and adjustment, and blocks learning.


Make simple plans backed by clear communication; a perfect plan does not exist, and no plan survives first contact with the enemy. Communicate clearly, do not assume the other understands, and have a plan of how to act when communication is impossible.


Embrace uncertainty; get comfortable making decisions under uncertainty and with incomplete information.


Manage up the chain; lead and support your superiors as they do not always have a full picture of what’s going on or which impacts commands have on execution.


We find synergy between the six principles of Intent-based Leadership and the core principles of extreme ownership. 

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