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: The Deadliest Weapon on the Battlefield (and in the office)

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Rick Stockburger


10 Things The Army Taught Me About Business


Leadership is a topic that has always been extremely important to me. I have served in combat zones as a United States Army Infantryman as a non-commissioned officer and those lessons relate amazingly to my career. Infantrymen always joke that when we get out we have attained no skillset from our Army training that transitions directly to the real world. I am amazing with a rifle at 300 meters (my designated marksmen might disagree with that) and my learned ability to apply corrective action is not acceptable in most human resources departments.


As I have set out to change the world I realize that I could not have been more wrong. The Army trained me to be a leader that can overcome any obstacle. Even though it is not my branch's motto I have always been envious of the United States Navy Seabee's motto and take it to work with me 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 attributes to my success.



The Deadliest Weapon On The Battlefield (and in the office)


As an Infantryman the first thought that comes to mind for me to answer this question is an Infantryman with an M4, some might say an M1A1Abrams or an A-10 Warthog or a Navy Seal and we would all be half right. Well if it's none of those what would it be? What makes the United States Army the most effective team on any battlefield is a radio.


Wait, what did he just say? You heard it here first, the answer is:


Communication is the deadliest weapon on the battlefield.


How could a gunner in an Abrams shoot if no one identified the target? How could an A-10 bring the thunder if he didn't know where to fly? How could an Infantryman get into position to fight if he doesn't know where the rest of his team is? Even a Special Forces Operative is nothing without working within a team.


The military has a very streamlined approach to communication employing and empowering leaders to think on their feet and make decisions that are within the constrains of completing a mission. Do you do this as a leader? Do the managers under you have a clear idea of what your mission is and then the ability to act on your behalf to complete tasks that are part of your overall endeavor?


If we as leaders employ effective communication tools we can not only rest assured that our employees know the direction of the organization but we can in turn empower them to act and lead autonomously so we can dedicate our time to other action items that are on our docket. It all starts with effectively communicating your mission and making sure that every person from top to bottom knows your mission inside and out.


As a private I knew the strategic intent that the general had put down for a mission in Kosovo. I knew what sector my battalion was working in, I knew my companies role inside that sector, I knew my platoon's patrol schedule, I knew that if something happened to my squad leader or team leader that I could fill his role and we would be able to complete our mission. Is that something that you can say for your company? If it's not then let's work on that.


If you're not the CEO, ask yourself these questions:


1.) What does my company do and why?


2.) What does my division do and why?


3.) What is my companies strategic intent?


4.) What does my bosses boss do and how does that affect my boss?


5.) If my boss quit and I had to fill in for him tomorrow what would I need to know and do I know it?


Find the answers to these questions and make sure that the people under you know the answers as well. Naturally we want to horde information to appear like our job is important and for our own security. I assure you that hording this information is not only a detriment to your growth as a leader but a detriment to those you lead and those that lead you.


Effective communication is a weapon we must employ in our offices and in our homes. If this is somewhere you are lacking let's continue the conversation, if you have a question you're not the only one.


Let's start communicating together.


I'll leave you with this picture of me communicating in Afghanistan


Rick Stockburger

Vice President of Collaboration and former U.S. Army Infantryman



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