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    There are no bad teams

    Here's something I think about any time I'm leading a big project that isn't going well.

    In his book Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink shares a story from buds class โ€“ a grueling training and selection programme for US marines. Weeks of misery followed by 3/4 of the class failing.

    Finding future leaders is part of buds training.

    They split the class into teams and assign leaders. Each team gets a boat, a few men, and a leader. I say men because it wasn't until 2021 that the first woman became a seal.

    The teams compete in miserable tasks like rowing that boat across choppy seas in freezing temperatures. No thanks.

    One year there was a team that kept winning and a team that kept losing. Leader of the losing team would always complain to Jocko about his men. They're lazy, they're stupid, they never listen, they do things wrong.

    Jocko had enough of this and said "Ok lemme show you something". Then he swapped leaders. Winning team's leader went to losing team and vice versa.

    Next day the team that always lost came 2nd and the team that always won came last.

    It's not the team. It's the leader.

    And if it feels like your team's a mess, you don't know who's doing what, or how your work fits into the whole โ€“ you can take charge. Start leading.


    Published on June 3rd, 2022 in Mindset

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    Who am I and who do I help? I'm Swizec Teller and I turn coders into engineers with "Raw and honest from the heart!" writing. No bullshit. Real insights into the career and skills of a modern software engineer.

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