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:

  1. Businesspeople argue that military-style command-and-control systems are out of date in a world of knowledge workers and fluid alliances.
  2. We are bombarded by advice on the importance of culture, yet many businesses new or old do a dismal job of nurturing it.
  3. 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.
  4. The military turns out soldiers who can handle technology, who work well in teams and who never quit to join a competitor.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.