Dr Alex Ledgister Leadership ExcellenceU.S. Special Operation Units are the epitome of leadership excellence. While most of us mere mortals may not have the physical and mental toughness of a Navy Seal, Marine Raider, or Ranger, there is still much we can learn from them about leadership and excellence. By applying just a few of these strategies to your professional life, you can create tiny changes that can yield significant results.

Here are three ways U.S. Special Operation Units achieve leadership excellence:

1. Comprehensive Planning

The U.S. Special Operation Units are renowned for having every last detail of their plan calculated. Most importantly, their planning includes not only a plan A but a plan B and plan C. As professionals, we must plan for our ideal, but then we must also have contingency plans. Benjamin Franklin said it well: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

U.S. Special Operation Units know that when they are under a tremendous amount of stress, they need to have plans that are already well thought out and ready to set in motion. If one of your team members quits or the deal you have been counting on falls through, what will be your next course of action? With well thought out, meticulous plans, you can know ahead of time. This frees up your mental energy to accomplish the task at hand as opposed to succumbing to the pressures of stress and not reaching your goals.

Comprehensive planning elevates your leadership so that when everyone is wondering what to do when plan A falls through, you already have plans b and c ready to execute.

2. Superior Adaptability

While U.S. Special Operation Units are synonymous with strength, it is by their ability to adapt that battles are won. According to Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” This falls in line with the previous skill of comprehensive planning. If those that adapt best to change are the ones that survive, it is in your best interest to have contingency plans so that you are able to adapt faster than those that had weak plans set on a single path.

In the world of business, markets can change at a moment’s notice. New technologies can emerge that virtually eliminate entire workforces overnight. Those that continually rise to the top are those that behave like water by rising and lowering with the tide, the rocks, and the curves in the river. Rigidity is the cause of failure of so many teams and enterprises. They have rigid plans and rigid structures that don’t allow for the only constant in life and business: change.

Learning to adapt at a moment’s notice will ensure that you don’t become a rock stuck on a long-forgotten shore that’s battered by storm after storm. Adaptability will keep you in a “water state” so that you continue to move and rise with or without the storms.

3. Vocabulary Control

Early on, U.S. Special Operation Units are taught to eliminate the phrase “I can’t” from their vocabulary. So as we think, we become. When we eliminate “I can’t” from our vocabulary, it forces a shift in our thoughts, where the only alternative is a solution. By eliminating “I can’t,” we are forcing our minds, the most powerful weapon we have, to come up with a solution. We are tapping into the infinite power of our minds, which are capable of so much more than we can even comprehend at a conscious level. It’s akin to asking yourself, “If I knew of a solution, what would it be?” You are essentially giving your conscious mind a back seat at the moment, so you can tap into the power of your subconscious mind, which houses more knowledge than we know what to do with.

As leaders striving to achieve leadership excellence, when we eliminate thoughts and words of impossibility, we make room for confirmations of possibility and success.

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