Chris Gomez, a former Navy Seal turned leadership consultant, delivered a high-energy keynote address Thursday morning at ASI Show Dallas, teaching attendees how to propel success in the business world through the application of elite military team planning and execution strategies. Dressed in camouflage fatigues, Gomez’s talk included thumping rock music, Seal training video footage, lots of audience participation and battlefield-tested strategies that lead to victory in armed conflict, business and life – all of which had the pumped-up crowd clapping and enthused.
Throughout his talk, Gomez emphasized the importance of striving for flawless execution. While perfection is impossible, continually working toward it leads to perpetual improvement. In a business sense, this approach helps empower you to better serve customers and best the competition. “If you strive for flawless execution, you will typically land near impeccable,” said Gomez, a consultant with Afterburner, a team-building agency founded by American fighter pilots.
Aiming for flawless execution from business teams isn’t just a random act. Rather, said Gomez, there is a defined cycle that involves strategic planning, briefing everyone involved so that they know the big-picture goal and what is expected of them individually, executing the defined plan, and then debriefing. Holding a structured debriefing – in which business teams openly and honestly analyze what worked and what could be improved – is critically important, said Gomez. “You insert the lessons you learn into the next day’s plan, making it better and tighter,” he said.
Of course, smart planning is integral to the success of any mission. For that, Gomez outlined a six-step strategy for developing strong plans for reaching objectives. It starts with defining a measurable, achievable goal, then goes on to: identifying threats; understanding what your available and required resources are; evaluating past lessons that can be applied to your advantage; planning for things that could go wrong; and developing a clear course of action. Before finalizing a plan, it’s wise to have a trusted team member (or members) who has not been part of the process respectfully “rip it to shreds,” said Gomez, as this helps identify weaknesses that can be accounted for.
As distributors persist toward flawless execution, it’s important to keep in mind that adversity and failure are inevitable. That’s okay, though, said Gomez. Failures teach valuable lessons, resiliency and, especially important, a humility that leads to greater buy-in from business teams to the concept of teamwork and making the shared goal paramount. “High-performing teams must exhibit a high degree of humility,” said Gomez.
As the marketplace changes, presenting fresh opportunities and new challenges, promo companies must be ready to respond and adapt, Gomez said. “You must choose,” he said, “to execute better every single day.”