I’m sure by this point most reading this blog have also heard of Extreme Ownership from Jocko Willink. If you haven’t, it’s a great book and philosophy.

Taking Responsibility

The most important trait I see in a leader is an outward facing view, versus an inward. A selfless versus selfish. I struggled with this early in my military career for lots of reasons. I was fortunate to have great leaders show me the way. The easiest way to describe the journey was by taking responsibility. I know that sounds silly, but it is a powerful and simple step. By taking responsibility it forced me to be more assertive, focused and goal driven. I liked it and it worked well for me, but sometimes it is easy to return to old habits. To pass the buck, shuck responsibility or the worst…blame others.

Risk Avoidance

Recently I had a less than pleasant experience with a holster manufacture. I’m working on a project to outfit various compact pistols with weapon mounted lights. That’s a whole other story, but the project has identified a major failure point. There are not many holster manufactures producing quality gun/light combos. The problem with such poor options is mainly tied to risk mitigation. It takes time, talent and treasure to invest in a new product line and many manufactures will wait to see how the industry reacts to the new product. Will it do well, and be popular. Or, will it tank and be forgotten the next week. Even as an outsider, I can empathize. One reason this was such an interesting project. It reaffirmed the importance of agility, and future vision.

Being The Grey Man

The other problem is largely generated from my end. I tend to be low key and often purchase equipment through personal accounts with little to no connection to my business or reputation. Early in my career I got burnt and burnt bad so these days it is better to remain the grey man. What I like about being low key is I’m just another paying customer. A regular guy who expects nothing other than what I’m purchasing with my own funds. There are no expectation of freebies, discounts or quid pro quo. If I don’t like something I either toss it, or try to find it a new home. Very rarely will I work with the company to help improve their product. But on occasion I will share my observations. Of course, this insight comes from a “nobody” so can be perceived to be of little value by the vendor.

Troubleshooting a Problem

The ugly side to this methodology is when the situation turns sour. This is my fault because in this case the manufacture doesn’t know me. I always remind folks, you never know who you may be dealing with so treat them as if they know more than you. Until proven otherwise. It is a great philosophy! The holster was somehow defective or didn’t safely work. The problem was unique and in all my years the only time I’ve seen this occur. I couldn’t reinsert the pistol without removing the holster from my body. It was too risky to try and “shove” it into the holster when clearly there was something preventing the pistol from being properly and safely reinserted. Even when I removed it from my body there was still a sticking point. I initially reached out to request a refund and the manufacture wanted to troubleshoot. No problem, I provided some context along with a video showing the problem when attempting to re-holster. Their response was ultimately to blame me for the problem. Their reasoning was my belt was too tight or I needed to move the holster to a different position. Could this be possible, of course, was it probably, nope. In the end, I settled for a refund minus a restocking fee and that was the rub.

What Is The Lesson

My lesson seems so clear now. If I choose to provide feedback, I should have done it in a better way. Through a formal introduction. An offer to assist in the trouble shooting and solution with no strings attached. Maybe there isn’t a solution, maybe this was just a defective product or maybe this points to a broader production issue. Maybe the manufacture is not interested even after the formal introduction and that is fine as well. The bottom line is I should’ve taken ownership of the situation from the beginning in a better way. My intention was to help, to genuinely assist with this problem I believed was a one off issue.

Instead, I missed this opportunity. Mea culpa.

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