What are the Advantages of Hiring a US Military Veteran? – Part V

Military people will tell you when something is wrong, even when you don’t like it, often.

I remember, more than just about anything in the military, life is punctuated with a steady stream of inspections. Almost impossibly high standards are demanded in everything from uniforms to gear. Even after getting out, the habit of a strong sense of standards runs deep. Vets have the wont of maintaining a certain level of acceptability in operations, safety, and professionalism in others. This often is directed downwards, but they also develop built in mechanisms for directing problems that are discovered upwards as well. Many that I know, also have a real problem not accepting that same level excellence in others. If a failure is present, expect the vet to let you know.

You need to understand that the military are people who have an incredible amount of responsibility, not only for “company property”, but for lives. Many seem to think that you give them an order, they say, “Sir, yes, sir!” and run off to their doom like mindless drones. It actually doesn’t work that way, and I’m sorry if that is what you want from a veteran employee. Remember, they’ve spent years earning respect and a place of distinction as field experts so expecting them to just go to a point of utter subservience to you is both demeaning and ridiculous. It also throws away one of their most valuable assets, their independence and strength of character to be able to tell those they work with when something is wrong without damaging those relationships. This really does go back to the habit of self preservation, in that you don’t just do what that young and inexperienced officer says when your experience tells you, it’s going to get you killed. National security and all, but you are going to at least offer your opinion before leaping off the cliff like a flock of lemmings.

That, however, is what I see in a lot of corporate scenarios I have seen and been a part of… Lemmings. Yes Men. If you all you’re looking for is a government sponsored yesman, you should keep looking. Most veterans won’t accept a place where their input isn’t valued and they shouldn’t. They have valuable knowledge, training and skills. That said, they aren’t going to disrespect you just to let their opinion be known. A military person knows how to use tact, a word I am learning more and more, doesn’t seem to appear in lexicon of most industry professionals. They will try to communicates to you that you may not be making a good choice. That much needs to be expected, so fragile egos need not apply. They are also not so afraid of you as to speak their mind when they have a good idea or think that one of yours could use a second look. They already have self-confidence gained through life experience. This type of mentality is important, but is often squashed by egotistical bosses.

 


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This has been an independent, publicly funded article brought to you by patrons via the social crowdsourcing platform Patreon.com.

Thanks for reading! Everything I write is completely independent and made completely free through the generous support of fans and followers through tips and donations made available through Patreon. If you would like to show your support for independent writers like me you can find out more here: Support Jon Davis creating Short Stories in Military, Science Fiction and Life.

 

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What are the Advantages of Hiring a US Military Veteran? – Part IV

Intuition is a skill. It can be learned. The military teaches it.

 

What many people think is that leaders are born. Not in the military. Simply put, many times in the military people are presented with situations where they must make life and death decisions in the blink of an eye. How do you do that given that there are no pie charts to help you make the decision, no data scientists to weigh all the variables and no spreadsheets, journals or time to decide? Intuition. How exactly do you trust that someone will make the right decision when you plan to throw them into that kind of situation? Faith in a system of training which focuses on immediate decision making in response to only the information available at the time, intuition. The Marines and the military train intuition into their culture. You might not even know what intuition really is. Well, here goes.

Intuition is the ability to take massive amounts of information and quickly come to a decision from all possible options quickly and correctly. It is the precise execution of understanding gained through experience and study. You don’t do it with charts and graphs, you do it by absorbing all the knowledge available to you ahead of time and making it so readily available that the employee can access it at any given moment they wish. This sounds a lot like memory, but there is more than just recalling information. This means using that mental database to its fullest capacity. They are also able to sort through it and glean the right information without all the excessive over analysis that comes with having an abundance of information and options, often labeled “analysis paralysis” that can accompany a lot corporate level thinkers. This is one of the hardest things in the world to do and most people think you are either born with the ability you aren’t. This is a false assumption given to many by a society that worships heroes who magically just know what to do. Intuition, in truth, is a trainable skill and the vets have it already.

What they don’t have? They may not have the specific job essential abilities and skills you need. Provide them the training and let it add to their knowledge base. After that, let them use what they know, namely the ability to think, a skill often missing from many fresh college grads. You just have to provide the training and watch them succeed in implementing it.

 


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This has been an independent, publicly funded article brought to you by patrons via the social crowdsourcing platform Patreon.com.

Thanks for reading! Everything I write is completely independent and made completely free through the generous support of fans and followers through tips and donations made available through Patreon. If you would like to show your support for independent writers like me you can find out more here: Support Jon Davis creating Short Stories in Military, Science Fiction and Life.

 

What are the Advantages of Hiring a US Military Veteran? – Part III

Vets Understand Responsibility

In most veterans you will see a strong vein of personal integrity. It isn’t that they are better people than anyone else, far to the point. Many are socially unacceptable misfits by most people’s terms. It is that integrity is driven to such a degree that it is presented as a matter of life or death. Ethics and standards of behavior are codified, their policed, and a part of life to the point that it is a standard which will follow an individual. In the civilian world, that doesn’t go away. It creates employees with a proven track record of trustworthiness that are often assets to the organizations they join after they leaving military service.

I don’t mean to imply that civilians have no integrity. To contrary, there are many who are the most reliable people I have ever met, but in my experience, it can be hit or miss. In one job I had, by the time I had worked there for no more than a month nearly the entire staff had called out sick at least once, people wouldn’t show up for work, complained incessantly, and generally, would do anything to avoid work. It wasn’t legitimate sickness. It was dishonesty and an inability to be relied upon. The worst part… corporate wouldn’t even let me fire them! I know that I said that the Marines and the military in general can’t be fired and that makes vets good leaders, but firing people is a tool and needs to be used when you have it. Let’s face it, because of lawyers and HR reps afraid of wrongful termination lawsuits, people can get away with murder without being let go far too often. This blows the minds of some vets.

In the military there are no sick days. I am not exaggerating. You absolutely must come to work and then must go to Sick Call before they will ever acknowledge that there might be something wrong with you. And if it is a PT day you will run three miles before you get to go.

When on deployment we also work every day. Every single day. There are no holidays, no weekends, no birthdays. It is the same thing every day. If you show up late, even by five minutes, or so, you will be running for miles or end up digging a massive fighting hole and 300 sandbags in an effort to make the base more secure. (It’s not really about making the base more secure.) So you learn how not to get punished. In the civilian world they don’t reward this behavior, but they also don’t punish the latter.

“Why should I reward them for doing their jobs?” some might say.
“Because you won’t punish them for not doing it.” I’d reply.

People like us show up early, stay late and if you ask them to do something they work hard to see that it is done. In the worst case scenario, they will be responsible enough to tell you when they need help.  There is a point I made in the last section that I would like to take the opportunity to repeat for emphasis.

By the time I was 22 I was a Sergeant in charge of a team of 13 other Marines. We were all occupying very technical jobs in the computer networking field and  responsible for overseeing the maintenance and distribution of over $3 million dollars of Marine Corps property.

Most organizations wouldn’t consider this type of thing a wise decision, but in the military it is common for very young people to be given a great deal of responsibility, relative to civilian counterparts. You wonder how. This might help. Image you give an 18-year-old a rifle and tell him that it is only thing that will protect his life for next seven months. Follow this up with a few months of proof and little else but living with the constant reminder of this fact and I promise you that rifle will not be lost, broken, damaged and will come back to you polished and good as new. I promise. Military people get responsibility because when they were very young, there were serious consequences to the decisions they made. Civilians don’t go through this kind of trial by fire and training and many of them don’t make good decisions because of it. The military has given young men and women real life and death responsibility and choices before a regular civilian would have graduated college.

 


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This has been an independent, publicly funded article brought to you by patrons via the social crowdsourcing platform Patreon.com.

Thanks for reading! Everything I write is completely independent and made completely free through the generous support of fans and followers through tips and donations made available through Patreon. If you would like to show your support for independent writers like me you can find out more here: Support Jon Davis creating Short Stories in Military, Science Fiction and Life.

What are the Advantages of Hiring a US Military Veteran? – Part II

Leadership is Ingrained in Vets

What many people don’t know is that the United States Marine has an average age of only 19. What? Yes, that Marine is incredibly young, but it still needs to be led. Who do you think is doing this? 19 year olds. By the time most people are twenty in the Marines (this goes for the other services, as well) they are already an NCO. This stands for Non-Commissioned-Officer. Don’t let the “Non” throw you off. What an NCO means is, “The guy in charge who will make my life Hell if I screw up,” or just as often, “the guy whose job it is to make sure I stay alive.” By the age of 20 some kids have already become technical experts in a professional field, are teachers to younger service-members and have led small teams in everything from shop operations to combat deployments.

By the time I was 22 I was a Sergeant in charge of a team of 13 other Marines. We were all occupying very technical jobs in the computer networking field and  responsible for overseeing the maintenance and distribution of over $3 million dollars of Marine Corps property. You probably might think that that was a stupid investment on someone so young, but we pulled it off, with no fanfare I might add, and we did things like that all the time. It wasn’t until I received a degree in Business Management at 25, that the civilian world could trust me again with doing the same thing. I suppose, on the outside, people can’t be trusted with that kind of responsibility. Every day, though, vets do. The fact is that I could not have done this alone. I had those thirteen Marines who did the work and it was my job to coordinate. I had a very solid framework for leadership that include such gems as the Five Paragraph Order, Six Troop Leading steps, and the Thirteen Leadership Traits. These have become pivotal to my personal growth as a manager, teacher, and how I lead others. The military philosophies on the science of leading aren’t something that leave you. The military trains Service Members to lead by example. Skills like motivation and delegation are actually given time to be trained and implemented in the most hostile environments imaginable.

The military doesn’t just educate their members on the practical ways to manage behavior, such as the discipline and communication methods. Leadership is truly studied on the academic and theoretical level. More so than in other organization, this theoretical and practical leadership are put in practice as a matter of survival.

You want another note on leadership? In the military, no one can be fired, not at the bottom tiers at least. That means that you have to get the job done with the idiots God gave you. You are out there for seven to fourteen months with no replacements and just the same team along with all their problems. You have to train them, discipline them, correct them, counsel them and shape them, because you have no other choices. You didn’t even get to hire them. They were just assigned to you, more or less, at random. That is another reason why vets have such strong leadership skills. Could you honestly say that you could run a company the way the Marines do, with their success record, if you couldn’t even pick who gets hired and can’t even get rid of the ones who suck? You probably couldn’t, but the military does. Choosing team members and leaders who have proven they are able to do this means that you are choosing team members who are adaptable and know how to lead others.


 

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This has been an independent, publicly funded article brought to you by patrons via the social crowdsourcing platform Patreon.com.

Thanks for reading! Everything I write is completely independent and made completely free through the generous support of fans and followers through tips and donations made available through Patreon. If you would like to show your support for independent writers like me you can find out more here: Support Jon Davis creating Short Stories in Military, Science Fiction and Life

What are the Advantages of Hiring Someone who has Been in the US Military?

be different - business team

I am launching a new series based on my answer on Quora to “What are the advantages of hiring someone who has been in the US military?”

Over the next few weeks I will line out many of the advantages that military employment will add to your culture. I am going to speak as a Marine and a former hiring manager. I was once a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps and have worked in the retail, real estate, the tech industry start-up and education sectors. I’ve hired more than enough people to know that it’s one of the hardest decisions you have to regularly make. I also know that almost all the decisions you make as a hiring manager happen as the sum result of the generalizations and stereotypes you have attached to the bullet points on their résumé. Don’t feel bad. It’s important to not follow that instinct that all individuals fundamentally good and fundamentally the same. That’s how you get robbed and your employees drive your company into the ground.

The facts are, you rely on those generalizations to give you the best guess of who is going to add to your company’s culture and who isn’t going to burn the place to the ground. So what happens when you see military experience show up in your inbox? The problem with many hiring managers is that they have no idea what it means when they see a veteran’s resume. What qualities should you expect? What flaws? What do they add? How are they different from someone else? I wrote this piece to help communicate what to expect. Hopefully after reading the posts you will be able to make an informed decision. You’ll be able to know better if this applicant is not only a good worker for you, but also someone who can grow and drive your company in the future, someone who can grow with you, and maybe even someone who can help you take your operations to the next level.


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7 Things Businesses Should Learn from the Military about Training

Enduring Freedom/Operation Marjah/Operation Moshtarak

 

I’ve worked in the tech startup scene, retail sales, and real estate, mostly in operational roles, either as an owner or in a manager’s role. I was also a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps with two tours in Iraq. I feel qualified to answer the question of what could businesses learn most from the military. More specifically, what shortfalls are prevalent in the business world, have a solution which the military has overcome?

To me, the answer to that question comes down to training. What I have noticed most outside of the Marines was that the rest of the world doesn’t actually put any investment into training. Sure, they might get convinced to allow their associates to go to a conference a few times a year, mostly to get drunk on the company dime and three days away from their tool of a boss, but they have no clue what the real value of training is. I’m not even sure if most businesses would know how.

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Thanks for Reading What Businesses Should Learn from the Military

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Summary

The Marines have a saying, “The Marine Corps is a perfect organization made of imperfect people.” A lot of companies today want to be a perfect organization of perfect people. That just isn’t possible. It’s also not fair to expect that of your very human employees. No one is built for the hole you have that you need filled. You have to mold them. You have to teach them, grow them, and you have to train them. Furthermore, that hole is never the same hole. Every time you make a decision, your competitors make a decision, the market changes or the winds of fate blow in the the wrong direction, the shape of that hole changes. You have to have people capable of growing to fit that too. More importantly, you have to have a culture in your organization that encourages them to learn and grow into it. I don’t know a lot of companies that accept that people come into the organization flawed and focus on making them better rather than spending millions in recruitment.

Lastly, I want you to remember that my advice is meant to be implemented in a process. It takes time to build the “perfect” organization. Many fly by night wonders happen every day, but ten years out, you’ll wonder where they disappeared off to. The fact is, they still exist, in the memory of their employees who all now work somewhere else. If anything, remember that creating the perfect training strategy is something that can’t be done overnight. It is a major part of culture and will need time to implement. If it helps, it took the Marines 238 years to become the heroes of the universe that they are today, and I am kind of a history buff, so I am pretty sure most of that was spent basically resembling, for all intents and purposes, pirates. The best we have ever been is over the last century where we have mastered the arts of warfare, expanding upon those arts, and passing them on to new generations. As I said, it took us a while to get to that point, but two and a half centuries is a long time to wait. Hopefully you can get a good culture growing in much less time than it took us to be what we are today. Of course, for all I know, focusing this much on training may not be the best idea for your company. Maybe you guys already have everything you need, but it works for the Marines, and that’s saying something.

 

Semper Fi
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This has been an independent, publicly funded article brought to you by patrons via the social crowdsourcing platform Patreon.com.

Thanks for reading! Everything I write is completely independent and made completely free through the generous support of fans and followers through tips and donations made available through Patreon. If you would like to show your support for independent writers like me you can find out more here: Support Jon Davis creating Short Stories in Military, Science Fiction and Life