A Navy SEAL's Advice: 3 Strategies to Boost Your Chances of a Business/Battlefield Win

What does your 'plan of attack' look like?

learn more about Jeff Boss

By Jeff Boss

think4photop | Shutterstock

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Earlier in my career, I was a Navy SEAL. And I remember how, when we planned a mission, there were certain criteria we looked to, to tip the balance of power on the battlefield in our favor. If we hadn't followed those criteria, we would have placed ourselves at a disadvantage and given the enemy the upper hand.

Related: 5 Project-Planning Tips to Help You Meet Your Goals

That's not so different from what happens in the startup world: There are certain considerations to integrate when planning for success, and there are also key factors to avoid: no-nos that are an inevitable means toward failure.

After all, the only differences between planning a mission on the battlefield vs. a mission in business -- at least in my experience -- are semantics and the end state.

Sure, the results on the battlefield have more at stake than those with a startup, but your goal of applying human applications like performance, adaptability and leadership in order to win are exactly the same. So, to increase your own chances of success amidst a constantly changing environment and keep your business alive, keep the following three strategies in mind as you outline your next plan:

1. Identify what 'winning' looks like.

Is it market share? Revenue? Customer satisfaction? Employee engagement? If you have more than one business unit in your company, it's imperative -- critical, even -- to get everybody on the same page. If your product team thinks winning means selling 100 widgets to gain product feedback, but your sales team thinks winning is selling only the highest-priced widgets, you have a discrepancy between each team's goals.

When you scale that confusion across the whole organization, random states of chaos occur throughout the company that impact its performance. The takeaway here is this: You can either over-communicate, or you can under-deliver. Which side would you rather be on?

2. Plan, but be ready to adapt.

One of my favorite Mike Tyson quotes is, "Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the face." Don't get me wrong; planning is necessary for a couple of reasons:

  • To identify where you are, versus where you want to go
  • To identify potential barriers to success
  • To create the feedback loops, so you know when you're off track

What's important about planning, though, is to not take it personally when that plan doesn't work. Just because you were the brains behind the "strategy" doesn't mean you have to implement it. Remember, your goal is to achieve whatever it was you set out to win, and how you get there will zig and zag along the way.

Build that into your planning by creating time to reflect, review and readjust. Making minor corrections more frequently is more efficient and far more effective than trying to bridge major gaps down the road.

Related: How Strategic Planning Transforms Chaos Into Confidence

3. Your environment is everything.

The environment in which you work, live, and operate is a huge factor that helps or hinders success. The culture at work, the city in which you live, the clients with whom you interact: All play into your overall satisfaction. If one of these factors is lagging -- if you enjoy your company but dislike the people on your team -- it's only a matter of time before you pull the plug or, worse, self-sabotage.

As the environment changes, so too does your response to it. If there's something about your environment that is less than ideal, ask yourself what you can do to improve it. What are you looking for? Or, even better, revisit the first point above and ask yourself, "What does success look like [in this situation]?"

There are just as many ways to win as there are to lose, and the brain tends to find whatever it looks for. Keep the above criteria in mind while outlining your next plan of attack.

Related: 4 Things I've Learned While Planning a New Business That's a Passion Project

Jeff Boss

Leadership Team Coach, Author, Speaker

Jeff Boss is the author of two books, team leadership coach and former 13-year Navy SEAL where his top awards included four Bronze Stars with valor and two Purple Hearts. Visit him online at www.jeff-boss.com

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

The Dark Side of Pay Transparency — And What to Do If You Find Out You're Being Underpaid
Thinking of a Career Change? Here Are 4 Steps You Can Take to Get There.
A Founder Who Bootstrapped Her Jewelry Business With Just $1,000 Now Sees 7-Figure Revenue Because She Knew Something About Her Customers Nobody Else Did
Everything You Need to Know About Franchise Law
Life Hacks

Use These Words and Gestures to Impress Your Boss

While you don't want to be suck-up, impressing your boss can open the door to endless professional opportunities.

Thought Leaders

Unlocking Financial Abundance: How Positive Psychology Can Make You a Multimillionaire

Individuals can become multimillionaires by cultivating positive emotions, mindset, gratitude, self-confidence, strong relationships, mindfulness and purpose. By applying these principles, individuals can increase their overall well-being and financial success in their personal and professional life.


What Gen Z Side Hustlers Don't Know About Taxes in 2023 — But Should

Karen Orosco, president of global consumer tax and service delivery at H&R Block, reveals why Gen Z taxpayers should file as soon as possible — and more.

Growing a Business

4 Ways to Provide Excellent Customer Service

Providing excellent customer service is critical for any business that wants to succeed. Here are a few tips on how to build your business with customer service at the center.

Business News

A Mississippi News Anchor Is Under Fire for Quoting Snoop Dogg

WLBT's Barbara Bassett used the rapper's "fo shizzle" phrase during a live broadcast, causing the station to let her go.