Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Mills, Unstoppable Teams

Alden Mills, a former Navy SEAL platoon commander and CEO of the workout equipment company Perfect Fitness, has written a quintessentially human book. Unstoppable Teams: The Four Essential Actions of High-Performance Leadership (Harper Business, 2019) focuses on the soft skills necessary to build and nurture a winning team. At their core is caring. Hence his four-point framework CARE: connect, achieve, respect, empower.

What sets this book apart, however, is not so much the framework as the way in which Mills engages with the reader. He tells stories from his own experiences that resonate. There was the time, for instance, when he was a child, that a doctor diagnosed him with asthma, said that he had smaller than average lungs for his size, and suggested that he live a less active lifestyle and learn chess. Through tears, he exclaimed to his mother: “Mom! Chess? I’m not any good at checkers!” His mother wisely responded that “No one, and I mean no one defines what you can or can’t do. That’s up to you.” And he became a SEAL, despite his “disqualifying” asthma. He writes about the Naval Academy crew program, which accepted men, unlike Mills, who had never rowed before and nonetheless created a nationally competitive boat. He recounts some of his SEAL experiences and the extraordinary challenges his start-up faced. He also recaps other people’s successes, sometimes despite staggering odds, in a range of fields.

If you want to create a winning team, whatever the venue (even marriage), you’ll find this book to be a heartwarming, inspiring read. Perhaps because the author cares about his readers.

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