Unfortunately, technical gremlins got to our regular, and extremely popular, Kevin Roberts column in the August edition of in-Cumbria magazine. So, we have reproduced it in all its glory here. Enjoy.

Last month I wrote about the Spartan Code and how leadership was based on a moral call.

I have in my Grasmere home a signed poster from South Sydney Rabbitoh’s owner Russell Crowe (watch his amazing performance as the Republican party’s de facto leader Roger Ailes’ rise and fall in Showtime’s The Loudest Voice – his body shape a little different from his role in Gladiator), where he’s written “What we do in life echoes in eternity”.

In Cumbria:

A reminder that we pass this way once; and we can either get by, survive, try hard, be good enough, settle down, be realistic, and just keep going, or we can stick our necks out, go hard, live our best lives every day, integrate (not balance!) work and life and make sure that we leave our footprints in the sand.

I’m a believer in option two.

Have a personal purpose, spell out your beliefs, your spirit, articulate and share your dream (not your goal, not your vision, not your objective – your dream) and hold yourself accountable to focusing your entire being against that purpose.

The Spartans set the standard 2,500 years ago.

The US Navy Seals are setting the standard today. They have a creed, one which I have found to be a constant source of inspiration, especially when confronted by the self-serving platitudes and posturing of today’s so-called political leaders in the UK and the US.

In Cumbria:

Here are seven extracts from the Navy Seal Code for business people to think about:

  • A Seal is never out of the fight; he will do everything to protect his teammates and accomplish the mission.
  • A Seal’s word is his bond. Uncompromising integrity his standard. (How many companies/products deliver this today?
    Our own Booths is one company I know well that is a shining example of delivering uncompromising quality, delicious food and wine).
  • A Seal never quits. He perseveres and thrives on adversity. (Go Cumbria!).
  • A Seal demands discipline. And expects innovation.
    (Team New Zealand’s America’s Cup successes versus overwhelming odds were due to a commitment to these seemingly competing priorities – delivering the last detail in conjunction with the big transformational idea – at the same time).
  • A Seal’s training is never complete – neither is a leader’s.  (Today’s leaders must seek and be open to learning every day.
    As Amazon’s Jeff Bezos said, “Our leaders seek diverse perspectives and work to disconfirm their beliefs." Peter Lenney at Lancaster University instils the same belief in his mindful manager MBA programme.)
  • A Seal expects to lead and be led. “I will take charge, lead my team-mates and accomplish the mission. I will lead by example.”
    (Inspirational leadership at every level of the organisation is core to winning in today’s volatile world. Leaders create leaders, not followers.)
  • A Seal’s ability to control his emotions and actions sets him apart from other men. (To win in business you must be a radical optimist.
    As Colin Powell said, “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” Business has no place for cynics or pessimists. The ‘Abominable No-Man’ must be banished. Nothing is impossible.)

Never out of the fight.

  • To catch up on Kevin Roberts' previous columns, click here