Legends & Losers: One real conversation can change your life.

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038: Lead Like A Navy Seal: Chris Fussell On How To Empower Teams With One Mission

June 12, 2017

The secret of success in war time is our ability to communicate rapidly and create shared consciousness, and this also applies to business. How can you create this mindset among everyone in an organization? How did 9/11 change the military? What are the new levels of understanding the military needs? On this episode, we are joined by McChrystal Group partner, Chris Fussell, who gives insights into these questions.

The best senior leaders are the ones that are willing to admit that no single individual can handle the complexity of this world. -Chris Fussell


  1. The military has had to understand the magnitude of the changes that came with the information age.
  2. All the great leaders we put on pedestals have a dark side.
  3. Ask yourself how fast can you maneuver your big enterprise at peak speed.

At the start of the show, Chris shared how he got into the military, being inspired by his grandfather and father. He also shared how tough military training is, and why it has a lot to do with weeding people out. Next, we talked about how wrestling connects to MMA fighting and he also shared how the military changed after 9/11. Chris also shared what it’s like to be married while you’re on active duty, as well as how the military wasn’t prepared for the information age. We also discussed the work The McChrystal Group does, and towards the end of the show, we talked McGregor/Mayweather fight predictions.  

Chris also spoke about;

  • The importance of balance, strength, endurance, and physical readiness in the military
  • The power of operating as a high performance team
  • The secret of success in war time
  • How to be a servant leader

In the world we’re living in today, the rule books for solutions to the biggest problems can’t keep up with how fast the problems evolve. For leaders to succeed in this environment, it’s important to admit this complexity and then close the gap between optimal performance, and how fast these new networked problems can move. Sustainable success is about how fast the solutions occur. The best leaders are constantly coming in underneath the organization and staying on their feet to solve these new problems.

Guest Bio

Chris Fussell is a Partner at McChrystal Group, where he heads up the McChrystal Group Leadership Institute. Chris is an author of the 2015 New York Times bestseller, Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World. Chris was commissioned as a Naval Officer in 1997, and spent the next 15 years on US Navy SEAL Teams, leading SEAL elements in combat zones around the globe. From war-torn Kosovo, to counter-terrorism operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, to highly specialized efforts in the troubled areas of the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, he experienced and led through the modern evolution of the US military’s Special Operations community, first on SEAL Teams Two and Eight, then in the Naval Special Warfare Development Group. Find him on LinkedIn LinkedIn.com/in/Christopher-Fussell-56947a32