I am a former United States Army expert infantryman. I’ll never forget the 13 weeks I spent at Harmony Church in Fort Benning, Georgia, attending boot camp and advanced individual training, and then being shipped out to my duty station at Fort Polk, Louisiana – the Mechanized Infantry.
As I was being processed into my unit, I received a briefing explaining life in the Army: You only have two rights – a right arm and a right leg. There is one color in the Army – green. Some people are light green, some people are dark green, but everyone is green. A pissed-off soldier is a happy soldier. And when we want your opinion, we’ll give it to you.
In my view, the United States Military is the greatest organization on the planet. It necessarily operates a “command and control” and top-down environment. When lives are at risk, in the midst of a crisis, split-second decision-making and blind obedience are mandatory.
In business, though, that approach doesn’t always produce the best outcome. I learned that firsthand. After ETS (end term of service), I entered the private sector. I advanced fast, mostly because of the work ethic I learned in the Army. Twice a week I pulled 24-hour duty, charge of quarters (CQ) and sergeant of the guard. Both ran from 7 a.m. to 7 a.m. (I used to joke about the 12-hour shifts in the private sector being half-days.)
Once I became a manager, I tended to drive everyone around me as hard as I drove myself. They often didn’t appreciate that. I deployed the management techniques I learned in the Army: Do what I tell you, when I tell you, or get out! I was often referred to as “intimidating.” That always brought a smile to my face, accompanied with a chuckle. I Read More Here