“Extreme Ownership” and Extreme Dedication


Smart Cremation staff with Extreme Ownership Author, Jocko Willink

Here at Smart Cremation, leadership, integrity and dedication are emulated from the top down.          Extreme Ownership, a book written by two former Navy Seals, is based on a simple, unwritten rule about leadership: That leaders are responsible for everything that goes on in a business, operation or mission. We take this model to heart, and all of our staff, from Management to entry level employees, are required to read and follow through with personal accountability and a dedication to ‘the mission’, which, in our case, is serving all of our families as though they are our OWN family.

In Extreme Ownership, there are many lessons to be learned and modeled from, but the core points include:

  • Regardless of your position within the Company, being accountable for, and owning up to your mistakes; Not blaming subordinates for mistakes
  • Keeping communication simple and to the point to avoid misunderstanding
  • Allowing subordinates to receive praise for positive outcomes and not taking credit as their superior, or ‘boss’
  • Making decisions and following through on them; prioritizing responsibilities and tasks to stay focused
  • Being disciplined in following plans BUT being flexible enough to adapt to changing situations or needs

All of these lessons help every single employee at Smart Cremation develop their own personal accountability for their position, and increase their dedication to serving our families when they need us most. No one in our company is more important than another, and we work as a team to not only help our customers, but also to build each other up.

In fact, we take these core beliefs of the book so seriously, that our staff has had multiple sessions with one of the Authors, Jocko Willink, who has been generous enough to share with us in personal meetings, his own experiences and to help guide us in applying those principles in managing our own business. This not only enables to lead effectively, but also enables us in providing the best service we can and to stay accountable in our actions and to our families. Not only has everyone on our staff read the book, but we also find it most effective to meet regularly to review our learnings and refocus to continually and effectively apply these principles to ensure we are always leading and serving in the best way possible.

Sam Upton, our Senior Vice President, is retired from the Marines and constantly encourages all of us to embrace everything that happens in our organization – good or bad. This means we proactively select and retain the best employees for our organization, keep the highest level of standards for not only employees but also management across the entire organization and to ensure those standards have clear, consistent communication so everyone in our team understands the reasoning and logic behind those policies. When everyone is on the same page, it makes it easier to communicate to our clients and help them to understand the reasoning and logic behind certain policies and processes.

All of this combines to create a team of highly-aligned individuals who know their mission and have the investment to see it through. Which in turn, creates a business that is focused in serving every one of our customers and our families with the highest possible level of professionalism and dedication.

It is our mission, yesterday, today, and every day, to strive for excellence and dedication in all we pursue. Through this book and its teachings, and our continual effort to be the best at what we do, to serve unwaveringly and hold ourselves accountable, that we have built what we feel to be the most qualified, effective and cohesive team within the industry. Because all we do, is for our clients and their honor and remembrance.