266: Pay Attention to What You’re Paying Attention To. MCD 1-4, w/ Dave Berke. Pt.3 | Jocko Podcast

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Key Takeaways

  • You are always competing
    • Even choosing to do nothing is a competitive decision
    • The ideal is taking small actions to receive feedback on how to act next
    • “Each decision is a hypothesis that gets tested in the real world when we act” MCDP 1-4
  • The Importance of Humility
    • In leadership positions, you often have to guess, and then, be willing to change your plan
      • Very rarely you have perfect information for a decision
    • If you’re not humble you won’t be open to modify your plan
  • Marines aim to strategically prevent violent confrontations through their professionalism
    • Developing capabilities to discourage potential enemies
    • Building relationship to strengthen themselves and their allies
  • “Education is a primary method for Marines to sustain competitive advantage over time” MCDP 1-4
  • Once you obtain a competitive advantage you can never get complacent
    • Competitors are always trying to erode your advantage
    • They may not challenge you directly but they will try to slowly weaken you
      • If you are not aware of the competition happening you’ll be manipulated
    • Russia and China are clear examples of indirect competition trying to outmaneuver the US

Key Book Mentioned

Intro

  • Dave Berke (@davidrberke) is a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer and now a leadership instructor with Echelon Front, where he serves as Director of Leadership Development and Alignment Programs
  • Cohost: Jocko Willink (@jockowillink) is a podcaster, author, and retired United States Navy SEAL 
  • Cohost: Echo Charles (@echocharles)
  • In this episode, Jocko, Dave, and Echo read the third chapter of MCDP 1-4 and discuss the key mindset traits that Marines use to sustain competitive advantage

Tactical vs. Strategic Competition

  • If you’re always in competition, you’ll eventually burn out
    • How can Jocko compete all the time and yet not burn out?
  • People who compete at a tactical level are those who get burnt out
    • They compete in every argument, streetfight, or altercation they come across
    • They have no time to rest
  • Tactical battles have short term consequences
  • Strategic battles have long term consequences
    • If you “have to” win a battle, by definition, it is a strategic battle, not tactical
  • Jocko is strategic about the situations he competes in
    • “Think strategic all the time” Jocko Willink
    • It’s never too late to start thinking strategically
  • You can compete in tactical battles from time to time but don’t waste resource on them
    • Part of Jocko’s strategy is to have his enemies waste resources on meaningless tactical battles

Bias For Action

  • You are always competing
    • Even choosing to do nothing is a competitive decision
      • When you do so you surrender the initiative to your competitor
    • Sometimes, tactical patience can be a good choice
    • Eight out of ten times action is better than inaction
  • The ideal is taking small actions to receive feedback on how to act next
    • If you can do so, action is almost always better than inaction
    • Iterative action allows you to learn along the way

Marine Corps’ Core Trait: Humility

  • The Marine Corps cultivates a culture of humility
    • Very rarely you have perfect information for a decision
  • “Each decision is a hypothesis that gets tested in the real world when we act” MCDP 1-4
    • Hypothesis stands for “educated guess”
  • In leadership positions, you often have to guess, and then be willing to change your plan
    • That’s why you need humility
    • If you’re not humble you won’t be open to modifying your plan when circumstance change
  • “Losing is sometimes a good thing” Dave Berke
    • Dave is grateful for having been beaten at certain times in his career
      • He was starting to think he was the best
      • Being beaten reminded him to continue being humble

Other Core Traits of Marines

  • Strategic competition is more like a marathon than a sprint
    • Persistence is a key trait of Marines
  • Marines aim to strategically prevent violent confrontations through their professionalism
    • Developing capabilities to discourage potential enemies
    • Building relationship to strengthen themselves and their allies
  • The Marine Corps wants Marines to be able to think critically
    • You need the mental discipline to be able to challenge your own assumptions
    • Closely linked to humility
  • “Education is a primary method for Marines to sustain competitive advantage over time” MCDP 1-4
    • Your rivals always striving to gain an advantage
  • It is not enough for Marines to educate themselves on warfare
    • They need to get educated in technology, management, and economics
    • The better you understand all these factors, the better you can see how your organization can contribute to help your country succeed
    • Marines need to be able to innovate, not simply adapt to their environment

Force Planning, Balance, and Sustaining Competitive Advantage

  • Force planning is a continual effort to stay ahead of potential adversaries
  • Balance is key for effective force planning
    • Marines don’t only try to improve their warfighting capabilities
      • They also build relationships, create innovations, educate themselves
      • Warfighting is not separate from everything else, they are closely related
    • This is important in business
      • If you only maximize profits, you may ruin your reputation
      • If you only care about reputation, you may go bankrupt
      • You have to find the right balance
  • When making decisions you can ask yourself:
    • Is this going to give me a competitive advantage?
  • Once you obtain competitive advantage you can never get complacent
  • Competitors are always trying to erode your advantage
    • They may not challenge you directly but they will try to slowly weaken you
  • If you are not aware of the competition happening you’ll be manipulated
    • Russia and China are clear examples of indirect competition trying to outmaneuver the US
    • That’s what happens in the movie Training Day
      • Denzel Washington slowly manipulates Ethan Hawke to comply with his corrupt actions

Additional Notes

  • Marine Corps Recruitment Tactic
    • They challenge people telling them they are not good enough to join
    • This selects for confident people
    • It creates a challenge to motivate people to strive to make it
Jocko Podcast : , ,
Notes By Giorgio Parlato

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