“Combat, like anything in life, has inherent layers of complexity. Simplify as much as possible is crucial to success. When plans and orders are too complicated, people may not understand them.”
I am relatively young in my career. I have worked my way up from administrative assistant to now coordinator over a reasonably large program. I am a supervisor for around 20-30 contacted employees, and one of the first lessons I ever learned was to keep things simple.
My boss is all about growth and is not threatened by the idea of his employees climbing the ladder. He considers our success his success. With that being said, he also allows us to make mistakes—those mistakes we are expected to own and learn from the experience.
Just like the quote above from Jacko Willink, communicating direction and expectations simply and straightforwardly helps everyone all the way around. In my experience, I could not keep the mission simple, and I could not communicate it to my staff. The lack of this caused months of mass confusion and a lot of extra work. I went into implementing a program with many ideas and couldn’t pull off everything I had planned. Once I had realized my mistakes in this under-taking, I sat down, found my issues, come up with solutions, and moved forward from there.
After I had cleaned up my mess, I sat down with my supervisor to evaluate my performance. The entire time he had known what my issues were but wanted me to have the skills to solve the problem. Collectively we planned out the next few next steps and goals, and he encouraged me to continue to take ownership of the situation.
With issues, COVID-19 brought I was assigned a new program, expected to plan and execute the program to its fullest. With this new undertaking, I was able to achieve my mission in a much more efficient fashion. With remembering to keep my directions concise and straightforward, success was much easier to achieve.
Willink, J., & Babin, L. (2017). Extreme ownership: how U.S. Navy SEALs lead and win. Second edition. New York: St. Martin’s Press.