September 12, 2012

5 Ways To Run Your IT Department Like SEAL Team 6

This past week we’ve heard a lot from “Mark Owen,” the name attached to the author of a new book called No Easy Day about his experiences as a SEAL and specifically about the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound last May. Turns out that Mr. “Owen” offers some good pointers for ordinary businesses that are trying to make a killing of the non-lethal kind.

noeasyday%20copy.jpg I found No Easy Day an interesting read, along with his interview on 60 Minutes on Sunday (see video below). And I thought it was worth teasing out some of the takeaways that IT managers and staff can learn from the SEALs:

1. Collaborate and communicate. It is all about the team, not just about you. In his book Owen mentions how his motivation for writing came from hearing the distorted narratives around the raid as well as the dissatisfaction of his fellow SEALs in getting their own story out. What impressed me about his descriptions were that weren’t “individual egomaniacs” but instead were “team players who tried to do the right thing.” The various deployments that Owen describes in his book involve a lot of careful coordination and constant communication about methods and results, something that we all can learn from. How often do we say we are going to collaborate on some project but what that really means is that I am taking over and you are just going to rubber-stamp my work?

2. Don’t go into unknown territory with guns a blazing, but proceed with caution and deliberation. Several times Owen was faced with a completely unknown landscape in searching for terrorists or potential suicide bombers and he and his cronies would carefully move into position. He makes it clear that the old cowboy stereotypes no longer apply.

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