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Lessons & Opportunities from Extreme Ownership

January 29, 2021

by Keith Pancake, Safety Manager, ACRT & Bermex

“Ownership” is a foundational element of the utility vegetation management industry. Our electric, gas, and water utility partners must own their services to their customers at all times, taking responsibility for ensuring reliable power 24/7/365. And we as service providers to utilities must own the work we perform for them and their customers.

Published in 2015, the book Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin — two retired U.S. Navy SEALs — was rapidly adopted throughout UVM and many other industries across the country.

The authors link leadership experiences from the battlefield to principles that apply to business applications. Early on, the statements “there are no bad teams, only bad leaders” and there are “only two types of leaders: effective and ineffective” cement the key point that what happens in our respective lines of operation is our responsibility, including what we can’t control.

As supervisors, managers, and directors, it’s up to us to adopt this approach first and implement it throughout our teams, regardless of their size. Aligning our people around this concept of taking complete ownership enables all of us to solve issues effectively and with greater focus — and without looking for fault.

There are many great insights and lessons in Extreme Ownership, and throughout our organization, they seamlessly link with our philosophy of leading from the front, practicing servant-leadership, and empowering employees to achieve greater levels of success for our clients, our organization, and themselves.

We strongly encourage any leaders seeking real-world lessons and guidance to apply in their daily work to pick up a copy of Extreme Ownership. If you’d like to learn more about ACRT and our work, visit

ACRT Staff

ACRT is the largest independent utility consulting company in the U.S. and empowers utilities to proactively manage vegetation across their entire rights-of-way. We consistently stay on top of and share relevant industry content with our employees and customers around the country.