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CEO Insights

How to Become Successful in Business By Leaning Into A Community

Alden Mills

“Sir, are you a Rambo?” yelled my tormentor, as he questioned why I had attempted the task of flipping an 8-man inflatable boat single-handedly.

“No Sir, Instructor Smith!” I shouted back over the crashing winter waves of Coronado California, (home to Navy SEAL basic training called BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training).

I had violated one of the core covenants of SEAL training: doing a task alone. Back in 1991, the Sylvester Stallone starring movie series called “Rambo” was still fresh in the minds of our SEAL instructors, and the term “Rambo” had become synonymous with trying to be a “hero.” A “lack of team-ability” is strictly prohibited in BUD/S, so instructors are vigilant to inspect for this attitude and will drop candidates accordingly. They routinely reminded us before every evolution: “No Rambos Allowed!”

My young adult life was spent honing my “CEO” leadership skills by leading Navy SEAL platoons. As a platoon commander, I had to take on full “P&L responsibility” for planning and executing goal-oriented team missions efficiently and effectively. This means not only ensuring that individual team members were adequately trained in their respective roles, but also developing a strong sense of camaraderie and teamwork within the platoon. Mission success is derived from the collective efforts of all members, not just from one or two individuals. It is not considered a successful mission if only one person is responsible for its success. It is always about the team in SEAL Team.

Twenty-five years and multiple founder CEO roles later, I find myself applying the same leadership principles I was taught as a young SEAL platoon commander: to effectively manage teams and maximize goal achievement. My job as a leader is to recognize the unique strengths of each team member and bring them together for collective success. Ultimately, it is through a collaborative effort that great achievements can be madesomething that one person cannot do on their own. This principle has been my guiding light in leading companies toward successwithout the help of a strong team, even the best-laid plans can fail. It is only with the right combination of talents and dedication that goals become attainable, making a good leader essential in any organization. 

I have accomplished many different goals in my life, and even though many may appear to be individual achievements (author, athlete, inventor, speaker, mountain climber, father, and founder, to name a few roles), not even one was attained as a “Rambo.” Every single achievement in my life has been made possible by a community of teammates that supported me. All too often, I find that people neglect the most important part of achieving anything of significance: building a team and setting goals they can measure and track. I owe all my successes to making measurable goals, building goal teams, and creating commitments to drive daily action.

As the co-founder and chief executive officer of GoalBud, PBC—which I believe will be my last CEO role—our singular focus is helping people see the enormous power and potential of combining measurable goals with committed communities. When people realize they have others supporting them on their journey to achieve something new to them, they become emboldened to press on. The power of community accountability can push people out of their comfort zones to unlock their potential to succeed.

I have experienced the importance of strong team leadership first-hand, from my very first role as a Navy SEAL platoon commander to the CEO of the fastest-growing consumer products company in the United States (Inc 500 #4 in 2009) to my current role as the CEO of GoalBud. Over my 30-plus years of leadership experience, I have distilled my success as a CEO down to three critical actions:

  1. Make a measurable goal
  2. Build a goal team
  3. Create (and report) goal commitments weekly

As simple as these actions may seem, they represent the essence of success. Having a goal provides your team with direction, focus, and purpose; while making it measurable gives them a perpetual source of energy and motivation: progress! Without the ability to track progress, your leadership energies will be spent trying to keep your team focused and fired up. But when a team can see their progress, it will propel them to push harder. The secret to achieving success in any venture is ensuring that you maintain accountability for taking the necessary steps towards your goals. All too frequently, I come across excellent people with tremendous goals and significant team potential that end up failing because they do not actually follow through on their commitments.

Achieving anything ALWAYS starts and ends with taking daily action. The path to CEO success relies on your capacity to define goals, build teams, and execute daily on the goal. The more you embrace the concept that business is a team sport, and that true success has no room for “Rambos,” the more you will find success in whatever field you seek. And, as you progress and reach your goals, you will discover the most daunting challenge in your career: dreaming up even bigger goals!

Written by Alden Mills.
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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - CEO Insights - How to Become Successful in Business By Leaning Into A Community
Alden Mills
Alden Mills is a three-time Navy SEAL platoon commander and was the CEO of Perfect Fitness, one of the fastest-growing companies in America. He is also a longtime entrepreneur, with over 40 patents, and has over 25 years of experience working on high-performance leadership, sales, and team-building. His newest venture, GoalBud, is a free community-based app to set AND achieve any goals.

Alden Mills is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Connect with him through LinkedIn. For more information, visit the author’s website CLICK HERE.