June 2013: Leadership Lessons From The Military

Since leadership is usually the first characteristic mentioned by folks for the reason to hire military, in this month’s ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) we highlight some resources for military veterans in transition or those looking to hire Vets.


Leadership Lessons From The Military (Harvard Business Review)
“Military work-like business-is risky, pressured, and fast-changing. It calls for absolute clarity about the mission, extraordinary adaptability, and precise management of complex systems. This expanded HBR Spotlight Collection explores how to develop and use those capabilities both at a high level and on the ground.”


How to make a killing: Business has much to learn from the armed forces (The Economist)
“Special forces have always embraced currently trendy management nostrums such as “empowerment” and “high-performance teams”. People who are dropped behind enemy lines have no choice but to rely on their own wits and make the most of limited resources.”


10 Reasons Veterans Make Great Employees (Yahoo!)

  1. Leadership and teamwork skills: Veterans typically have led colleagues, accepted direction from others and operated as part of a small team.
  2. Character: Veterans are perceived as being trustworthy, dependable, drug-free and having a strong work ethic.
  3. Structure and discipline: Companies appreciate veterans’ experience in following established procedures.
  4. Expertise: Companies value veterans’ occupational skills, job-specific experiences and understanding of the military community.
  5. Dynamic environment: Veterans are accustomed to performing and making decisions in dynamic, rapidly changing circumstances.
  6. Effectiveness: Company representatives report that veterans “get it done.”
  7. Proven success: Some organizations hire veterans largely because other vets already in their organization have been successful.
  8. Resiliency: Veterans are accustomed to working in difficult environments, traveling and relocating.
  9. Loyalty. Veterans are committed to the organizations they work for, which can translate into longer tenure.
  10. Public relations value: Some companies have found that hiring vets has marketing benefits.


Battle-tested: From soldier to business leader  (Money/CNN)
“The relationship between the business world and the military is long and rich. (Sam Walton himself, after all, was an Army man.) Ambitious executives have long studied Sun Tzu for tips on defeating the competition. The Marines have dispatched officers to the New York City commodities-trading pits to learn split-second decision-making. And plenty of ex-soldiers, such as Ross Perot at EDS and Fred Smith at FedEx (FDX, Fortune 500), have had great success over the years as entrepreneurs and CEOs.”


Why Veterans Make Great Entrepreneurs (CBS News)
The data surprised the hell out of me: Veterans owned 3.6 million or 13% of America’s 27 million non-farm small businesses in 2007. In fact, one in seven veterans are small business owners or self-employed, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). That’s a much higher percentage than any other demographic.  
So why is that?
Perfect Start-up Employee: Vets (Inc)
For those in military service you have our appreciation and respect, for those moving from the active services to the private sector there are a myriad of opportunities for you, the transition is not always easy but can be very fulfilling!


Employing America’s Veterans: Perspectives from Businesses (download entire report free) 
Employing America’s Veterans: Perspectives from Businesses provides empirical data representing the experiences of 69 companies of varying size, location and industry. In this report, authors discuss why employers think it is good business to hire veterans.  
Why Veterans Make Great Small Business Leaders
Blog: My experience in the military taught me several things that have served me well in my civilian life as a small business owner:

  1. Goal achievement requires hard work, focus, discipline and tenacity
  2. Performance is enhanced by loyalty to subordinates and among team members
  3. Strategic plans, when executed flawlessly, lead to victory


Management/The military model: Image-conscious firms snap to attention (NY Times)
Time spent in the armed forces, the thinking goes, is shorthand for discipline, courage, leadership and integrity — qualities that are increasingly viewed as important to any company, no matter how tight or loose its organization chart.


Vets Use Skills Learned In Battle To Make Mark In Business World (USA Today)
Veterans have a tendency to pursue entrepreneurial paths — and find success along the way, says U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills, because “They have leadership skills and decision-making skills.”  One in seven veterans is self-employed or a small-business owner, according to the SBA.


Why Veterans Make Good Employees (WSJ – subscription required)