Saturday, February 21, 2015


Actually I can think of hundreds of reasons veterans - not just Special Operations veterans - are a good way to go . . . S.L.

Given the nature of Special Operations units and the selection process required to gain entry, a Special Operations veteran is already a qualified individual, a seasoned professional. The qualities found in Special Operations veterans are the product of their training and experience - including the character traits that get them through that selection process - and are directly applicable to productivity and excellence in a corporate or industrial environment.


In the military this is a two-way street: "Loyalty Up & Loyalty Down". It was explained to me by my first Team Sergeant, "Don't you worry about the Sergeant Major - you let me worry about him. You worry about ME." The message was the essence of Loyalty - as team members, our immediate loyalty was to our Team Sergeant, and he had just described his obligation to us. There is nothing more destructive to a team than a disloyal member.


Veterans learn to identify their chain of command, know how important it is to keep the chain informed and understand the correct etiquette for communication up and down the chain. Commanders in the US military have an "Open Door Policy", but you'd better keep your immediate link in the chain informed before you go anywhere near that door. I once used the Open Door policy and the results were positive, but my Team Sergeant was sitting right beside me in the room as I spoke with the Commander.


A theme in elite military units is "If you see something wrong or that needs fixing, do something about it. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem." Veterans expect to be challenged and not afraid of hard work. When you hire a veteran you're getting an individual who's accustomed to a regular work day that started at 6:00 am (zero-six-hundred) and is accustomed to working up to 24 hours if that is what's required to get the job done.


Effective communications is the sender, the message, the medium of transmission, and the receiver. There is a jargon, a idiosyncratic dialect unique to each organization and veterans are aware enough to learn and use it. We are taught if you have nothing to say then say nothing, if you have something to say keep it brief, include the 5-W's and How Many, and if pointing out a problem to always suggest a solution.


This cannot be stressed enough. In the corporate environment, the office and the boardroom are the battlespace environment, and the rules, regulations, policies and ethos of modern society - written and unwritten - represent the constraints and limitations guiding our conduct. There is a distinct corporate culture, and separate organizations have their own sub-cultures to be aware of. Special Operations soldiers know when to pause and accustom ourselves to the "sights, sounds and smells of the battlefield", and that often the "sit back, wait and see" approach is the way to avoid crippling cultural faux pas. During interview situations, we have been taught to read body language, to look about the room and determine who is actually the chief, and when asked a question to stop and think before replying.

This is by no means a complete list and the values listed here are not in any particular order, in fact they intersect with each other. I considered "Code of Ethics" as a character trait, but of course the subset of that value is far greater than the fingers of one hand. A mentor of mine described the corporate environment as "playing five games of 3-dimensional chess all at once, in your head." Given that, I say without hesitation that Special Operations veterans are suitable candidates for excellence, to any organization or operation.

This is what I bring to the table . . .



  1. This article is definitely on point, except that you could fill the blog with reasons.

  2. for me, the key attribute is mission focus - you don't just put in your 8 hours and go home. instead, your actions are driven by the imperative to successfully complete your mission. in the private sector, you find way too many people who are very comfortable giving you an excuse as to why they didn't accomplish what you both agreed to.