Extreme Ownership in the Search Marketing Industry
I took it upon myself over the past few months to resume reading books that can inspire me, teach me, and challenge my ways of thinking. One particular book I had an interesting time reading is Leif Babin and Joko Willink’s best seller, ‘Extreme Ownership: How U.S Navy Seals Lead and Win.” Written by two former Navy Seal Officers, the book highlights the mentality of how commanders and soldiers of elite armed forces face crisis on a battlefield, and how they relate to leadership and teamwork in the work force. Politics aside, the book takes a very practical and interesting approach to self-development and leading teams to reach business goals.
The digital marketing world is arguably unstructured, in many ways allowing agencies, contractors and freelancers to work, sell and present results however they want. There really isn’t a ‘handbook’ on how modern startups should operate, or how leaders should…well lead. ‘Extreme Ownership’ takes the practical approach that everything comes from leadership, but nothing can be accomplished without a well-prepared, knowledgeable team. The term ‘Extreme Ownerships’ summarizes the idea that a leader should always take complete responsibility for all the actions in his or her company, without exception. Whether a problem arose in sales, internally, or with a client, ultimately the responsibility of the failure lies in the leader. No pointing fingers or blaming others. By taking full responsibility for everything that happens in your life, you can then focus on what you can do to fix the problem, rather than place blame. I’d argue that if more SEO and SEM practitioners followed this advice, our industry would have a better reputation and performance. Here are a few takeaways I took from the book, and how it relates to how we do things here at Motoza:
It’s about the team, not the individual
Very few things that are great in our society were done by one person alone. Tom Brady couldn’t make it to his 7th super bowl without the rest of the Patriots protecting him or catching his throws. Game of Thrones wouldn’t be an epic TV success without the hundreds of people in the cast and crew working together to make it happen. Innovative companies like Tesla wouldn’t be where they are without great teamwork from engineers, designers, leaders and suppliers.
‘Extreme Ownership’ highlights the importance of working as a team during literally life-threatening situations like accomplishing missions in the middle of the Battle of Ramadi in Iraq. A leader has to be constantly aware of how each member of his or her team is performing, and how aware they are of the ‘why’ in their mission. Rather than place the recognition or blame on one individual, you look at how to solve problems as a team.
As Motoza grew from two freelancers working on projects here and there (back in 2010), to having a team of talented professionals, we’ve learned the value of teamwork. Assigning tasks based on skill set, and holding each other accountable, has allowed us to improve our client’s success, and streamline our work without overburdening our workload. Criticism and problem solving is always encouraged, whether working to better improve a process, or letting leadership know how to do something better. There would be no Motoza, or any other successful organization, without the team, and we never forget that.
Processes and Simplifying Problems
Processing out tasks that are focused on accomplishing goals is crucial to streamlining teams. By clearly outlining roles and assigning simple tasks, teams can improve efficiency and be more accountable. The idea is to look at the situation, break down everything into priorities then form tasks to accomplish the end goal (every problem has a process, regardless of how complex it might be).
Just like any complex situation, online marketing has a lot of things going on. It can be very easy to be consumed and oversaturated with client work and processes. With an industry that is constantly evolving, and with every campaign being affected by a number of factors, simplifying everything is crucial to success. From the beginning, Motoza has always focused on having streamlined processes that allow us to simplify these complex problems. By doing so, we not only are more efficient, but are also able to pinpoint areas that need to be updated or improved. From how we communicate with our clients, to how we manage a Google Adwords keyword list, or submit client information to Yelp, every thing we do is processed and simplified for maximum efficiency.
Discipline creates Freedom
One of the most intriguing take-aways from the Extreme Ownership book is the concept that ‘discipline creates freedom’. Rather than thinking of discipline as a constraint that forces people to act in certain ways, the authors stress the idea that by being more disciplined, an individual creates opportunity to do more. If you wake yourself up at 5AM every day, you free up an extra 2-3 hours you wouldn’t have had otherwise. In those extra hours, you can focus on more work, learn a new skill, exercise, or eat a better breakfast. By being disciplined in what you eat, you free yourself from the risk of more health problems, you lose weight and feel better. The same concept applies to all aspects of work. More importantly, it builds trusts. Going into 2017, we encourage all our team members and partners to consider improving discipline in their day-to-day lives. As we better improve our processes in-house, we free ourselves to spend more time innovating our services and being creative on our client work. As we improve and grow in 2017, our clients will see better growth and more success.
If a computer nerd can learn leadership skills from a tough Navy Seal officer, then it’s telling how relative and strong those concepts are. I do encourage business owners and individuals alike to check out their book. It may give you insight in improvements both in business and your personal life.
What’s the last great book you’ve read?