Last year I had the opportunity to see a former US Navy SEAL speak at the ACA Convention in Boston.  It didn’t take long to see why once these men have concluded their military service they are sought out by businesses to help motivate and train their management staffs.  Since then, I’ve read a few books written by some other SEALS.  Their stories of combat and heroism are incredible, and you cannot overstate how extraordinary these men are.  The mental and physical toll that SEAL training takes on a SEAL candidate weeds out all but the most qualified of people, and those that succeed willingly enter into a life of non-stop sacrifice and training. 

I really became fascinated by how the SEALs are trained, and the business-like way that they conduct operations.  They are methodical in their planning and execution of any training exercise and/or combat operation they undertake.  What amazes me most, though, is how much of what they teach their officers and team leaders can be applied to business and how to manage people.  (Some SEALs even joke about how they didn’t expect that they would have to learn how to create a PowerPoint presentation)

Many of the principles that they live and work by can easily be applied to any field of endeavor.  I believe that many of those principles we instill here at American Profit Recovery, and are what helps to make us a leader on the collection industry.  Here are some great examples that I thought I would share:

“You are not expected to know everything, but you are expected to work and lead at the upper end of your knowledge, skill, and experience.”

“Be a teammate.  What’s good for the team has priority over what’s good for you.”

“Demonstrate professionalism in all that you do.  Be sharp, look sharp.  Be organized, look organized.”

“Learn the capabilities and limitations of your people.  Acknowledge that the prime measure of your performance is their performance.”

“Realize that your people are sharp, motivated, aware, and skilled.  Teach, coach, guide, and mentor your team, but don’t claim experience you don’t have.”

“Never sacrifice what you know is right for what is convenient.”

“Live the life of a leader – one of values, character, courage, and discipline.  Use your free time wisely, doing things that make you better in some way.”

“Realize that what you do and what you tolerate in your presence demonstrates your standards far more than what you say.”

“Empower your people to work to their full level.  Cause them to take responsibility for their decisions.  Train them, trust them, and hold them to standard.”

 “Remember, no one ever did anything absolutely right.  Perfection is impossible, but striving for perfection is not.  You have the power to do that.”

“Learn it the right way and you’ll do it right for the rest of your life.  Learn it wrong and you’ll do it wrong and spend the rest of your life trying to get it right.”

“Your team may not believe everything you say or everything they hear, but they will believe everything you do.”

 “Never make the same mistake twice.  You are your best critic.  Be hard on yourself.”

“Be an expert in your field.”

“Train as you work.  Absorb as much knowledge as you can.”

“Stay humble.”

“Think ahead and stay organized.”

“If you have good ideas that will benefit the team, share them with yours and other teams.”

“If you don’t know or understand something, ASK!  It’s your responsibility to find out.  “

“If something is broke or not right, take the initiative to fix it.  Don’t wait for someone else to take action.”

“Listen and take notes!”

“No one owes you anything!”

“When you speak, you learn nothing.  You learn only by listening.  Listen, then speak from the heart.”

 “Rely on your teammates and never let them down.”

“Have fun!  Train hard and work hard.”

 “The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.”