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Never Settle: Three Lessons from the Navy SEALs

Although most military operations can be skillfully executed by officers across all branches, there are those rare, extremely specialized or particularly critical missions, where only a select group of soldiers can be counted on – that’s when they call in the Navy SEALs.

For manufacturers of “impossible” parts, it’s important to study how the SEALs prepare for and execute on the most difficult operations. Analysis of their approach and methodology provides three lessons to apply when tackling complex manufacturing challenges that others can’t:

1. Expect more of yourself.

There are many great manufacturers that can perform exemplary work across a wide range of difficult applications. However, when a job requires pushing the boundaries of what’s truly possible, only a select few are qualified to handle such a demand. Like the SEALs do, looking beyond traditional solutions to typical challenges will lead to achieving remarkable solutions for critical applications that others can’t or won’t take on.

Break away from the middle of the bell curve – expect more from yourself and your team:

  • Set higher goals. Aim higher, land higher – it’s that simple. Redefine the standard of excellence, like the SEALs do.
  • Be accountable. Every Navy SEAL is accountable when lives are on the line. Everyone on your team should be accountable for the increasingly high stakes in business today.
  • Encourage unconventional problem-solving. View challenges as opportunities. The SEALs are continually evaluating situations to fine-tune their approach.

2. Keep learning

There’s a reason the Navy SEALs call information “intelligence.” Knowledge is their greatest weapon when adapting to new environments, new technology and new missions. Manufacturers gather intelligence through constant collaboration with customers and employees to gain a holistic understanding of the challenge they need to overcome. With an unquenchable thirst for learning and improving, like the SEALs, manufacturers will find themselves in better positions to succeed.

  • Never stop training. The Navy SEALs are constantly implement new techniques into their training courses. Provide your employees with frequent opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Look back before moving forward. It’s vital to reflect on what’s working and what’s not. The SEALs are constantly learning through critical analysis of their missions. This results in perpetual improvement.

3. Recruit based on innovation, curiosity and self-motivation.

There is no prerequisite for becoming a Navy SEAL – you either have what it takes or you don’t. Those daring enough to give it a shot will have the opportunity to prove their mettle when it counts. As manufacturers of impossible parts, it’s important to look for those candidates who have the right attitude. Essentially, it comes down to finding talented individuals who can think on their feet and enjoy taking on new challenges every day.

  • Value variety. When analyzing the root of a problem, a team with a range of perspectives offers unique opinions others might miss. This maximizes opportunities to solve complex challenges.
  • Value self-motivation. Only those with a burning desire to be the very best will successfully become Navy SEALs. Look for recruits with the same passion for attacking problems.
    Solving problems that no one else is capable of or willing to attempt all starts with a mentality to never settle. This is at the core of what makes the Navy SEALs’ preparation, approach and principles superior. Learning from them, we’re reminded that “impossible” is really just another perception that needs to be overcome.

Solving problems that no one else is capable of or willing to attempt all starts with a mentality to never settle. This is at the core of what makes the Navy SEALs’ preparation, approach and principles superior. Learning from them, we’re reminded that “impossible” is really just another perception that needs to be overcome.

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