Today we bring you the latest on Larry Yatch, a retired Navy SEAL Officer that co-founded, and is now leading, a leadership development company called the SEAL Team Leaders. A company founded to help empower and encourage leaders to be as efficient and honorable as a Navy SEAL Officer at every stage of growth.
What’s your story?
Larry Yatch: As a U.S. Navy SEAL officer, I was trained to be a warrior. In the war, that meant fighting with bullets and violence in the worst of battlefields. It meant surviving. And, it meant keeping myself and encouraging my brothers to keep fighting.
After retiring, I’ve switched to a different type of battlefield, far away from the violence, but still fighting, this time, with words and love as my weapons. I fight in order to empower business leaders to fight their own battles. And I teach them how to become strong leaders and how to create teams with the discipline and honor required to grow a company.
What influenced you to start SEAL Team Leaders?
Larry Yatch: My career with the Navy SEAL ended as a result of a surgical incident. A slip of a scalpel was all it took to nick a nerve in my back that prevented me from going back to the battlefield after major surgery.
It wasn’t a good time for me, but it did push me to establish SEAL Team Leaders with my soon-to-be-business partner at the time, and my current wife, Annie, who knew me well enough to know that I had to keep fighting the good fight in some way shape or form. Not in the frontlines, of course, but through strengthening our fellow countrymen by developing a neuroscience-based training program to help them reach new heights and achieve their fullest potential as team leaders.
What skill do you believe good leaders should have?
Larry Yatch: I think many believe that leaders should always be the ones charging in. But that’s not the way it should work. No, as a SEAL officer, I learned early on that my job as a leader was to manage my team, by keeping them disciplined and trained properly. Because it’s their lead that I would be following in the battlefield.
And so, leaders should have the skills required to create a high-functioning team. They should also know how to ‘distill’ words and concepts in a way that will allow their men to coordinate their actions properly. Those are the kind of skills required for any leader to achieve success.
What’s your favorite book, and why?
Larry Yatch: When I was younger, I read a book called “Men in Green Faces”, written by Gene Wentz and B. Abell Jurus. It’s a book set in the Vietnam War-era. It taught me about the men that fought in the war and the behind-the-scenes politicians that used their power to hurt those without. It was this book that inspired me, a lanky, dorky kid from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to become a warrior, a Navy SEAL.
What advice do you have to give to a new entrepreneur?
Larry Yatch: New businesses are at a higher risk of failure than established businesses. This is something that I didn’t take into consideration when establishing my second company, and it ended up being one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made.
Don’t let that scare you away from starting though.
Instead, try to remember that, in order to be successful, you need to be prepared. Don’t try to cheat your way through the system, because skipping even just one step can keep you from getting to where you need to go.
What kind of exciting projects have you been working on this past couple of years?
Larry Yatch: I worked on my first book recently. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. And, in a way, I spent about 11 years getting the required experience to get it done, what with all the content I’ve created and delivered over the years.
This project was something that my mother wholly supported me in before she passed away. Even when I was just a child, she had already been sending me to children’s publishing workshops to sharpen my skills. And, finally, after 14 years of hiding in the shadows, I’m working through the goals she helped me shape. Something I’m incredibly proud of.