Last week The Economist published a smart piece called How to make a killing. It highlighted several important points worth repeating regarding the hidden wealth of talent coming out of the Armed Forces:
- Businesspeople argue that military-style command-and-control systems are out of date in a world of knowledge workers and fluid alliances.
- We are bombarded by advice on the importance of culture, yet many businesses new or old do a dismal job of nurturing it.
- The military services, by contrast, have been adept at preserving their culture at a time of social turmoil. As the article notes -Military mottoes make strong men or women cry, The few, the proud or Who dares wins. Contrast those with most corporate mission statements that make desk warriors cringe with embarrassment.
- The military turns out soldiers who can handle technology, who work well in teams and who never quit to join a competitor.
- Many former officers argue that the armed services could teach the private sector a lot about training. e.g. rather than prepare people for the next job: armies routinely think in terms of “two rungs up”. Post- mortems are commonplace. Something I’ve pointed out that is often missing from completed acquisition projects.
- Coping with risks and making decisions quickly under pressure are useful skills for entrepreneurs, which is perhaps why the Israeli army sires so many high-tech start ups.
- As the article concludes so powerfully – companies that complain they cannot find people with the right mixture of drive and experience have only themselves to blame if they miss this arsenal of talent.