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.
- Cover and Move
- Prioritize and Execute
- Decentralized Command
Mindsets for Victory
- Extreme Ownership
- Default Aggressive
- Innovate and Adapt
- 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.
- 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.
- Blue on blue: Don’t kill your teammates. Don’t burn them out, overuse them.
- Prevent by staying focused
- Create standard operating procedures
- Even the leader must sometimes follow
- How does it help the team?
- Keep team together
- Keep focused on the goal
- Plan the exit
- Are they coming to you with information?
- Define winning: What does it look like?
- Situational awareness starts with the team and how its functioning and reacting
- Complacency kills relationships and team success.
- Criticism is also a killer.
- 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.
- There is no, “How things should be done.”
- Never show your cards
- Always control emotions/actions
- Ask the question, “Why aren’t you winning?” Be honest with yourself.
- I kind of, might have. This is not leadership/ownership
- 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
- 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.
- Teach your team how to think — don’t think for them. Let them come up with a plan with your goal in mind.
- Don’t talk to someone when you need something. Build the relationship beforehand.
- The tradeoff between relationships and getting work done/prioritized
- Building capital by empowering people, letting them make decisions, building the relationship.
- Give someone trust and influence they give you capital
- Taking capital is setting a hard deadline. Needing to push through a situation.
- Ownership begets ownership. You are responsible for your actions and your shots
- Make your boss look good. Solve problems for the leaders
Communication (this is vital for mission training for your startup)
- Tell the team the why and an idea of the how but they should drive the how.
- Best leaders don’t talk, just listen. Don’t talk when you are nervous
- Must be approachable for people to tell you things
- Know the chain of command and the communication chain. Sometimes people above you have more access to information so you must acquiesce.
- 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.
- Did I articulate this correctly or incorrectly?
- Don’t split forces: stay together and focus on the mission at hand.
- Don’t misconstrue urgency. Something isn’t urgent. Know how to prioritize.
- Keep moving — don’t get stuck on the little things.
- Focus on the team and the situation on hand; control what you can, not the outliers
- Have you resourced the project from beginning to end?
- Know when to retreat! Go back to base. Don’t let ego kill the team.
- Find and be open-minded to new ways of doing things
- Sometimes you need to stay in your silo!
- Detachment creates space for strategy
- Don’t shoot too fast, let the situation develop and allow for iterative decision making
- Never give up a good position and focus on it
- Don’t do too much
- Balance high fast growth vs the details.
Wordsmith and Quotes
- Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. Don’t be too greedy or aggressive.
- Don’t drink the haterade
- We want to support you, can you brief us on your plan?
- Don’t say “Do you understand or tell me what you heard.” Ask “What is your plan? What can you execute?”
- You never know if its the right path
- If you aren’t humble, no one else will learn
- If you are irreplaceable then you are unpromotable
Leadership Mind tricks
- I get to do this — the gift they give me.
- Not about you, it’s about the mission
- Keep the mission simple and concise
- OODA — Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act
- 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.