Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How Military Values hold Meaning for the Corporate World

Fortune Magazine, in an article on its website edition, has done a cover story on the rising popularity of recruiting military officers for leadership. It is easy to understand how someone whose leadership skills were honed in combat would be more qualified for leadership than the candidate whose only leadership test could have been winning the school summer camp obstacle race.

The correlation between military service and leadership ability is well documented. Studies show that companies with military leaders outperform their peers.Many of our nation's most respected companies have discovered a source for talent that traditional recruiting methods often overlook - the men and women of our Armed Services. The leadership skills, core values, integrity, and work ethic of our military transition members provide a bridge to span the leadership gap in our current workforce.

There are seven core values associated with the military: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honour, Integrity and  Personal Courage. Let us examine each military value for its usefulnes to the corporate world.

Loyalty - Bear true faith and allegiance to the Nation, the Army, and other soldiers.

This means showing your faith in your organisation, your leaders and your colleagues. People want to know they can trust you. And you want the same reassurances from others.

Duty - Fulfill your obligations. Accept responsibility for your actions and those entrusted to your care. Find opportunities to improve oneself for the good of the unit.

You've got a job to do and people depend on you to get it done. If someone needs help, give it to them. If you need help, seek it from your peers. Be consistent in action and deed.

Respect - Treat people as they should be treated.

How we consider others reflects upon each of us, both personally and as a professional organization. Act courteously toward customers, colleagues and seniors. If you disagree with an opinion or point of view, challenge the position, but avoid the personal attack. Remember that your actions speak volumes about yourself and your business or organization.

Selfless Service - Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own.

Selfless service leads to organizational teamwork and encompasses discipline, self-control and faith in the system.Take care of your co-workers. Go the 'extra mile' for your customers and clients, even if gains you nothing more than some personal satisfaction. Volunteer to take on the tough job, or the mundane job that others avoid.

Honour - Live up to all the Army values.

Live up to the values of your business. Act accordingly, and others will recognize you as an individual of principled character. Don't fall into the trap of, "but I just did what others did before me". Given the choice, take the 'high road'. Distinguish yourself from those who would be satisfied to do less.

Integrity - Do what is right, legally and morally.

Ask yourself, "Is this the right thing to do? How does it reflect on who I am?" If your inner voice is sounding the alarm, it's doing so for a good reason. Avoid shortcuts, cheats, or otherwise doing less than what is expected. Don't compromise yourself, your friends, family or business for some short-term satisfaction. Integrity offers long-term rewards that can't be acquired any other way.

Personal Courage - Face fear, danger, or adversity with physical and moral courage.

Is a boss asking you to do something questionable? Been in a group that disparages a certain race or ethnicity? It may be safer to go along with the crowd, or do nothing at all. It takes inner strength to stand up to peer pressure and moral dilemmas. It's easy to be a follower - anyone can do that. True leadership requires all of one's audacity, nerve and 'guts' to negotiate the difficult roads that lie before us.

Yes, these men and women who wish to launch their second careers have battle proven leadership ability. But even more importantly they have honour. And the courage to do what is right, even if there is risk of casualties. They are worthy of respect and worthy of trust. They are ready to lead, with integrity.

And they are looking to leading their way to the corner office instead of the hill.

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