Over my career in business development, specifically while consulting individuals and companies, I had the opportunity to meet so many great military service people and veterans. A few years ago, I was working on employment efforts throughout our region focusing on all types of people seeking employment. Out of that work effort was born a concept that is as relevant today as it was when I first wrote the piece.
With Veteran’s Day coming up this week, I wanted to again share the column I wrote, as our thoughts turn to the brave Americans who served or are currently serving in our Armed Forces. I have had the pleasure of knowing many veterans, some who are no longer with us, as well as a number of friends and family.
Despite the fact that wars are terrible and any loss of human life is tragic, listening to the stories of those who have served share their accounts of their service in the military has made an impression on me for as long as I can remember.
Whether it was hearing my father and his brothers discuss World War II, or my time busing tables at the Veterans of Foreign Wars where my uncle and the members would recount their service, or hearing the older gentleman talking about the First World War at American Legion events over the years, my take away always included a good piece of advice or a life lesson. Because many of them served at a very young age, the wisdom of their words was honed by a life full of experiences post war.
My cousin, who served in the Navy, taught me a number of lessons growing up. He taught me about problem solving, the value of community involvement and staying on course with a plan. He also always seemed to have an alternate plan, should the original plan need to be changed.
When I got married, I had the good fortune of also getting a wonderful mother-in-law in addition to a father-in-law who had spent a career in the Navy. He was well-traveled from a lifelong service that took him and his family around the country and around the world. His stories and experiences were extremely interesting as well as valuable. He was always willing to share his opinion and expertise and he will be sadly missed.
So what does this have to do with business? It has everything to do with business, specifically your business and potentially making your business more successful.
A veteran is a person who has served in a military force. A veteran can also be defined as a person who has had a long service or experience in a field, position or practice. I would like to suggest to you they could and should very well be one and the same.
Everyone who wants a successful business wants a well-run business. What better way is there to run a business with military precision than to hire a veteran? Here are just a few thoughts on what true value and skills men and women who have been trained by and have served in the military can bring to your business if given the opportunity.
• Commitment and a strong work ethic: Military men and women get up and show up. They have demonstrated the ability to do more in a few hours than most others do in an entire day. Not to mention there are very few sick days taken in the military.
• Rules and procedure driven: While in most cases the stakes and risks of not following rules and procedures are not, for the most part, as severe in business as they are in the military. However, rule following is not a skill you unlearn.
• Ability to plan and execute a plan: All branches of the military have plans and practice those plans regularly. That focus on practice leads to a much more successful execution of the plan.
• Experience in assessing situations and making adjustments: Despite all the practicing and potential planning, circumstances and conditions in both military actions and business can change without notice. It is important to have seasoned and experienced people trained with handling change and adjusting to conditions or even the unknown on your team.
• Proof of performance: All of these items are elements that many of the veterans who are seeking employment possess. This includes semi-retired veterans hoping to remain in the work force just a few more years. They have proven themselves and performed in, at times, the harshest and most dangerous of conditions and survived.
Take a look at the list above. Then take a look around. Do you have a need for any or all of these skills in your business? If so, consider hiring a veteran. They have fought and served to make our country great and perhaps they can do the same for your business!