The way you learn is the way we do business.


   The way you learn is the way we do business.

10 Things The Army Taught Me About Business: Timing is Everything

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Rick Stockburger


10 Things The Army Taught Me About Business



Leadership is a subject that has always been extremely important to me.  As a United States Army Infantryman and a non-commissioned officer, I served in combat zones and learned amazing leadership lessons that relate well to my civilian career now. Infantrymen have a tendency to joke that when we "get out", we will have attained no skill set from our Army training days; at least no skills that will relate to civilian careers. I am truly amazing with a rifle at 300 meters (my designated marksmen might disagree with that) and the way I learned to apply corrective action in the army, is not an acceptable method in most human resources departments.


As I have now set out to change the world, I realize that I could not have been more wrong about what I learned.   The Army had trained me to be a leader that could overcome any obstacle. Even though it is not the Army's motto, I have always been envious of the United States Navy Seabee's motto; I take it to work with me each and everyday.


"Can do.  With willing hearts and skillful hands; the difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes a bit longer.  With compassion for others we build, we fight, for peace with freedom."


This series will highlight the top 10 lessons I took from the battlefield to the office. I wholly attribute these various tactics to my success.



Timing is Everything



Everybody has a friend or colleague that has to be told the meeting is 15 minutes earlier than the actual meeting is going to start. Don't be that guy. When a person gets initiated into the ranks of the military there is one trait that should stay with you for the rest of your life. You're not on your own time, it's all borrowed. Imagine if a soldier showed up 15 minutes late to a rendezvous point, I'll allow you to picture a worst case scenario there.



If a client or a boss shows up late to a meeting what does this tell me? First off, your time is more important than mine. A great way to earn respect, please don't fall for the "I'm a big deal". Anyone that has earned their way to being a big deal knows how important every persons time in a room is. Anyone that's worth following knows that 10 fold. If you're to busy to be on time, then its indicative of something that needs fixed in your regimen. Arriving 15 minutes early lets everyone else in the meeting know that you want to be there. It also allows for you to have time to do some last second preparations either for the meeting your attending or away from the craziness of your own office. If your schedule is constantly tight, find out what meetings you can begin delegating to your team. If you do not have the time to be on time, you do not have time for the meeting and that is o.k. We're all busy, be certain that when someone asks for your time, that you are not wasting it. 


Top time saving tips:

1.) Utilize your calendar to mark out project time. If you have to spend 4 hours a day working on TPS reports make sure that time is shown on your calendar when you are scheduling meetings.


2.) Think of getting to meetings 15 minutes early as a time to relax. There is nothing I hate more than the anxiety I feel over potentially being late, and not having my mind in line for the next hour so it's productive.


3.) Do not take meetings just to take them. If you turn down a meeting think of it as you are saving the other person time as well. Plan it further out, or have someone on your team help them get some of the items prepared that will help both parties to use their time effectively.


4.) Always remember your time is borrowed from someone. When you are working you are trying to help someone else meet their goals. Which in a good relationship will help you and your company reach your goals.


5.) Have the time to Halve the time. If you take the time to be prepared and show up, your meetings will be faster and more effective and efficient.


6.) Set three goals every morning that you are going to meet. Make sure that your meetings are reflected in those goals.


7.) Never cancel unless it is life and death. Always, always show up. If you show your employees and your business contacts that you will always be there. So will they.


8.) When setting up a meeting make sure that the intent is laid out before accepting. Are the items something that can handled via phone or email? There is valuable social capital in meeting face to face but use your time effectively and wisely.


9.) AGENDA! Be certain that an agenda is crafted and in everyone's hands at least 24 hours before the meeting so everyone can be prepared and know what's happening. Make sure all documents are available and readily reviewable to optimize your meetings effectiveness.


10.) Leave your cell in your pocket. There is nothing worse than checking an email on someone's time. If there is something of dire importance let everyone know before hand and apologize ahead of time.



Use your time wisely and be IN every meeting. Be prepared and don't waste anyone's time. All of these tips come back around to you and your future leaders being more productive and more respected.


Preparing the team for a storm in Kosovo on the Serbian Border.



Rick Stockburger

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