Navy SEALs 101: More heads are better than one

Collaborative thinking creates better plans, and lays the framework for better audibles.

Early in his Navy SEAL career, Rob Monroe learned a universal leadership lesson about the value of collaborative thinking.

“From the very beginning, we’re taught to tap into the support and ideas of the entire team when we’re planning an operation,” says Monroe, who recently addressed the inaugural CUNA CEO Council Conference about the mechanics of high-functioning teams.

For Monroe, that meant curbing his tendency to want to do everything himself—to “take care of planning for the team.”

Tasked with creating a full mission brief during “BUD/S”—Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training—Monroe took sole ownership and sent his team away for a few hours’ sleep.

“Next thing I know, it’s the middle of the night, and I’m not making real progress,” Monroe says. “My instructor walked in and asked, ‘Mr. Monroe, you are class leader—where is your team?’”


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