Train Your Business Team Like The Navy Seals

Are you looking for ways to become a better leader, develop more effective business cultures, and increase the impact of your teams and the results they produce?

Jason Treu is an Executive Coach who focuses on leadership. He’s the bestselling author of Social Wealth, the creator of Cards Against Mundanity, and the host of the Executive Breakthroughs podcast.

What Makes a Good Leader?

If you want to be a good leader, take accountability for finding the potential in people and processing and developing it.

“I got to be around a lot of great people like Steve Jobs, Mark Cuban, Mark Hurd, Reed Hastings, and Paul Wahl,” says Treu. “I’ve always wondered how they do what it is that they do. I had the opportunity to watch, learn, study, and look in the rear view mirror.

The latter, breaking down the process, is a particularly useful tool to teach yourself what to do and what not do going forward. You should treat it like a puzzle that needs to be solved.

It also pays not to take things at face value. “Because there’s so much information, people will tell you things that just aren’t true, but they believe it’s fact,” says Treu. We have to do a better job by looking at front-line research and asking hard questions.”

You also need to be self-aware and have the emotional intelligence to see your own emotions and the landscape around them.

A respected leader also needs to do personal development and invest in themselves in order to grow.

“If you grew a company to one billion, you should be able to do it again. If you can’t, it means you learned very little from that experience. You did not make it like a supply chain, so you can go in and make it work the next time around.“


You should also be mentally agile and a bit of a Renaissance (wo)man. “Look at Bill Gates who went from Microsoft to his foundation. Steve Jobs, going from Apple to Pixar. That’s very unusual. Regardless of what we think of them, how many people actually did that? I don’t see many of ’em out there.”

The Value of Introspection

There is a lack of understanding of what it really takes to be a leader. Frankly, most people don’t want to take the time.

Many aspiring entrepreneurs look at a tree and they see the beautiful leaves and the shiny apples and they think, “I want to have a tree full of apples.” But they don’t understand that it’s the route that creates the tree.

“People want immediacy. They don’t want to spend the time investing in themselves because they don’t want to be patient, do the hard work, and look in the accountability mirror. It’s a rare ting to find.“


You need to do the hard work and look at what it will require to get you to the greatest level possible. And you need patience, grit, and determination.

It’s your own internal blind spots that hold you back because you can’t see yourself.

Find the Fear

If you don’t understand your blind spots, how they come about, where they stem from, and how to attack them, then you can’t ever really change them. That’s probably the most complicated thing for an individual, whether leader or worker bee, to actually overcome.

It’s safer to stay on the couch and in your comfort zone. Our brains evolved over time to use fear to enhance our survival. Fear is great when you are trying to run from a saber tooth tiger but our brains have a hard time differentiating the social fears we have in the workplace from flight or fight fears. Fear is why people say, “I’m scared to death to speak on stage.” Well, no, that’s not why.

But our fight or flight instinct does not know the difference.

If you’re a leader doing a 360 review of a staff member, and you tell them they’re a poor listener, immediately in their head they go into survival mode. They’re thinking that they’re broken, not good enough. Everyone has imposter syndrome at some level.

That employee may nod their head yes, but they don’t embrace it and make a change.

Solve Problems Like a Navy Seal

Instead of finding personal faults, people need to look at their pattern of behavior objectively, like a computer program.

That’s exactly what the Navy SEALs do. They ask these questions:

  • What were our intended results?
  • What were the actual results?
  • What went well?
  • What didn’t go well?
  • What did we learn from this?
  • What can we implement moving forward?

It is not emotional. It’s looking at a situation objectively. They don’t place blame. It’s not about failure.

Even if everything went right, the mentality is to discover what they can get better.

It’s neither good nor bad. It’s a computer program. You have the choice to be right or you have a choice to be happy, successful, and fulfilled because the pattern that was successful then is now sabotaging your success and eventually will crater it.

“It’s part science, and part art.“


Re-Focusing Your Team

“The training and development function in corporate America is completely broken,” says Treu. “It’s getting worse because people are putting it into programs and modalities, and they’re not understanding how human beings work and interact.”

“I think 99.9% of the people who feel like they’re in trouble or have plateaued, are really trapped in the fear quagmire.“


If you want to refocus your team with a new behavior, you have to bypass the the fight or flight brain circuit that keeps us safe; only then can you get into the intellectual part of our brain.

Clients who have started leading their teams with these changes see major turnarounds in attitude and productivity in less than 30 days.

This post is based on a podcast interview with Jason Treu, an Executive Coach on leadership, author of Social Wealth, creator of Cards Against Mundanity, and host of the Executive Breakthroughs podcast. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to the B2B Revenue Executive Experience.

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