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10 Principles for Leading Through Change: A Navy SEAL's Approach

It wasn't long after I left the SEAL Teams, attended graduate school, and started my first company that I realized change is a consistent reality in today's more volatile and disruptive business landscape. It affects all businesses. All industries. Now more than ever before.

When I reflect on my many mistakes as an entrepreneur and business leader, I find solace in leaning into the core principles that forge SEAL culture:

We are not perfect but we are lifelong learners. We crave peer-to-peer feedback.

We are forced to move at the speed these wars require yet must remain vigilant in being guided by the very values we fight to uphold.

And one of the fundamental foundations of our fight club's culture is adaptability.

We embrace the rigors of change and use it to our advantage. Our post-9/11 reality demands it. Our nation expects us to be physically harder and mentally tougher than our enemies. That is our burden of command and what drives our every deed.

Resilience is the bedrock of our success both on and off the battlefield.

From my combat experiences in the SEAL Teams to navigating the murky waters of organizational change in my own companies,

I have developed 10 fail-safe principles for leading through change. In fact, today marks the official launch of my new book, TakingPoint: A Navy SEAL's 10 Fail-Safe Principles for Leading Through Change.

These principles can help any organization more successfully lead lasting change. They aren't overly complicated but, in my experience, require focus, discipline, and accountability. All must be aligned behind a shared vision and concise mission narrative.

Principles 1-3: Building a Change Culture

1. Culture: The Chief Enabler of Change

There is a common thread among the tenets most of today's great business leaders that culture beats strategy all day long. People always ask me what I would have done differently as a young entrepreneur, and the list is long. Four areas I initially got wrong when it comes to culture were (1) clearly defining the desired culture, (2) managing that culture, (3) aligning culture with strategy, and (4) leaning on cultural strengths during times of change.

Companies that prioritize culture -- especially when