Red, White and Blue

Red, White and Blue: What Businesses and Employees Can Learn from Memorial Day

Friday, May 27, 2016

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By Kara Svenson - Marketing Communications Co-op

With Memorial Day weekend approaching, we take extra time to appreciate and remember those who have dedicated their lives to the armed forces.

It’s no secret that veterans also make great corporate employees and business leaders. The lessons learned from training, being in the field, and the strong sense of unity translates very well into the workforce. Successful veterans have risen the ranks to CEO in companies like P&G, McDonalds, Walgreens, Foot Locker and countless others.

There are three important takeaways from a successful military career that can be applied to your professional work style.

Respect

Throughout the military training process, respect is emphasized every step of the way. This includes respect for the chain of command, those that have served a longer time and respect for everyone in your unit. This focus on respect translates into humility – a highly beneficial trait for leaders. Humility can lead to a better sense of teamwork within an office. It can help employees with different temperaments and perspectives get along better and work in teams more effectively. For decades, young employees are often stigmatized as having a lack of respect or humility. This is something to keep in mind as Millennials navigate through the early stages of their respective careers.

Character-Based Leadership

The curriculum of the United States Military Academy at West Point and the other military academies weaves the theme of character-based leadership through the whole experience. Integrity and selflessness are reiterated. Now more than ever, people appreciate companies that act with character and social responsibility. Executives who display these characteristics are admired by their employees and can foster a deeper sense of commitment and shared responsibility within an organization.

Teamwork

Arguably, the most important lesson from a military career is teamwork. In both the military and corporate world, the cohesion and commitment of a team is paramount to the success of the organization. Military members are constantly assigned to new teams and are comfortable working constructively with a wide variety of personality types. They are passionate about the common goals and values of the military, which fuels their productive, professional behavior.

Business executives and employees should strive to exemplify these values in their everyday work routine. We all can learn a lot from a successful military career. This Memorial Day, make sure to acknowledge and give thanks to a veteran in your life.

What other lessons can we learn from the military? Share your thoughts below.

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