Mission Training for Your Startup at Echelon Front FTX

Mission Training for Your Startup 

I took a few days in August to join Echelon Front’s FTX 3-day training where the members put into practice Echelon Front principles. I will put these principles into practice as mission training for your startup.

Led by Leif Babin and JP Dinnel, we walked — sometimes ran — through laser tag war scenarios; we learned a lot about teamwork and leadership in a high paced environment. When thinking about how this relates to a high fast-paced environment in a startup, I thought of creating missions and carrying them out with different team members. I have yet to implement this but I will soon as mission training for your startup.

As a review, the principles of leadership are found in my first article. 

  1. Cover and Move
  2. Simple
  3. Prioritize and Execute
  4. Decentralized Command

Mindsets for Victory

  1. Extreme Ownership
  2. Default Aggressive
  3. Innovate and Adapt
  4. Humility
  5. Discipline Equals Freedom

Three Keys to leadership: Humility, ownership, and teamwork. Leadership has nothing to do with the title — title doesn’t define you. Everyone leads.

Here are some keynotes from the session. Think how you can apply it as mission training for your startup.


  1.  Everyone supports each other — we don’t grade each other. If everyone is pointing fingers then no problems get solved. We all take ownership. Work in silos but work together. 
  2. Blue on blue: Don’t kill your teammates. Don’t burn them out, overuse them.
    1. Prevent by staying focused
    2. Create standard operating procedures
  3. Even the leader must sometimes follow
  4. How does it help the team? 
    1. Keep team together
    2. Keep focused on the goal
    3. Plan the exit 
    4. Are they coming to you with information?
  5. Define winning: What does it look like?
  6. Situational awareness starts with the team and how its functioning and reacting 

Leadership Killers

  1. Complacency kills relationships and team success. 
  2. Criticism is also a killer.  
  3. Competition gets a vote. Don’t discount them. That means they have their own reactions and efforts and if you aren’t considering in advance what they may do, then you haven’t prepared.
  4. There is no, “How things should be done.”
  5. Never show your cards
  6. Always control emotions/actions
  7. Ask the question, “Why aren’t you winning?” Be honest with yourself.
  8. I kind of, might have. This is not leadership/ownership
  9. Big egos kill teams. How do I deflate my ego, not how do they deflate their ego. Don’t meet force with force.

Build Relationship Capital

  1. Not by force but by ownership. Give ownership of working out, work or getting things done. Let them follow your example when the time comes. 
  2. Teach your team how to think — don’t think for them. Let them come up with a plan with your goal in mind.
  3. Don’t talk to someone when you need something. Build the relationship beforehand. 
  4. The tradeoff between relationships and getting work done/prioritized
  5. Building capital by empowering people, letting them make decisions, building the relationship.
  6. Give someone trust and influence they give you capital 
  7. Taking capital is setting a hard deadline. Needing to push through a situation.
  8. Ownership begets ownership. You are responsible for your actions and your shots
  9. Make your boss look good. Solve problems for the leaders

 Communication (this is vital for mission training for your startup)

  1. Tell the team the why and an idea of the how but they should drive the how.
  2. Best leaders don’t talk, just listen. Don’t talk when you are nervous
  3. Must be approachable for people to tell you things
  4. Know the chain of command and the communication chain. Sometimes people above you have more access to information so you must acquiesce. 
  5. The message must get down the chain of command clearly. If you are uncertain ask questions. You have to “Pull the thread”. You can’t leave problems alone.
  6. Did I articulate this correctly or incorrectly?


  1. Don’t split forces: stay together and focus on the mission at hand. 
  2. Don’t misconstrue urgency. Something isn’t urgent. Know how to prioritize. 
  3. Keep moving — don’t get stuck on the little things. 
  4. Focus on the team and the situation on hand; control what you can, not the outliers
  5. Have you resourced the project from beginning to end? 
  6. Know when to retreat! Go back to base. Don’t let ego kill the team.
  7. Find and be open-minded to new ways of doing things
  8. Sometimes you need to stay in your silo!  
  9. Detachment creates space for strategy
  10. Don’t shoot too fast, let the situation develop and allow for iterative decision making
  11. Never give up a good position and focus on it
  12. Don’t do too much
  13. Balance high fast growth vs the details.

Wordsmith and Quotes

  1. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. Don’t be too greedy or aggressive. 
  2. Don’t drink the haterade
  3. We want to support you, can you brief us on your plan?
  4. Don’t say “Do you understand or tell me what you heard.” Ask “What is your plan? What can you execute?”
  5. You never know if its the right path
  6. If you aren’t humble, no one else will learn
  7. If you are irreplaceable then you are unpromotable 

Leadership Mind tricks

  1. I get to do this — the gift they give me. 
  2. Not about you, it’s about the mission
  3. Keep the mission simple and concise
  4. OODA — Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act
  5. Go to war with complacency

If you haven’t developed missions for your startup yet, stay posted for the up and coming missing training for your startup series on my entrepreneur page.



Echelon Front in action training.


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