Three takeaways from military that you can adopt in your day job.

Photo by: Staff Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey (Public Domain)

Every single move, every split second and every single decision during a combat can either kill or save life of many. There is no room for error when it comes to executing a task or an operation. Making a simple mistake comes at a very high cost — its about life and death.

What makes this men and women who put their life on the line to protect their nation, their people and their team, so special? Why would they do that? What makes them so different from rest of us? To put it in simple words, its about — passion, dedication, sacrifice, grit and love. These special breed of sapiens go a long way when they’re put into action.

Lately, I have been reading and watching quite a lot about how things work in the military. Whether its about how to execute a task, stay dedicated, taking ownership or to lead — there’s a lot that goes behind the scenes and few of them are something that no school would teach anywhere in the world.

1. Training matters a lot. Period.

“Under pressure, you don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training. That’s why we train so hard.” — Navy Seal

Whether you are a musician, developer, accountant or a plumber, you got to hone your skills. While facing a crisis, things will go south, you would experience the unexpected and perhaps to do something you have never been trained before. And these are the times you would reckon the importance of having been trained. In your day job, you don’t necessarily require somebody to train you — you can be a self-starter.

If your organization could spend in training, that’s well and good. Otherwise, reach out to those who you trust, those who you bank upon and those who have been there, done that! Establish a good conversation and get insights on how they handled the situation, whether they were trained for it or not. At the end of the day, all you need to do is, train yourself or get trained to do the job “right” under pressure.

“The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat.” — Richard Marcinko

2. Help your team — be there when in need.

Team work is the key to success. One man army is an overrated term, often fictional. To be able to reach the farthest, you got to take all the arsenal you have. And that is something you can’t do all by yourself. When there’s a call of duty, these men and women do whatever it takes to make their team meet the objective.

During an intense battle, they don’t mind putting their life into risk to save their comrade. If you ask them why would they do that, they all have a common answer — “because, my brother in arms would do the same for me as well”.

Below is a real-life footage of Cpt. William Swenson during an evacuation. The video reveals his willingness to help his team member who was critically injured. He gently kisses the forehead of his injured brother who is about to be evacuated and proceeds to rescue a dozen more while putting his own life into the risk.

Disclaimer: The content in the video might be graphic and disturbing.
Snapshot of one of my recent tweets.

3. As a senior, your job is to make your juniors feel secure.

In military, a senior member is somebody who possess a great amount of knowledge and experience in a battle, faced life-threatening situations, and perhaps who might have lost their friends due to mistakes. This puts them in a position of guiding their juniors what to and what not to when facing a challenge. So a senior member of a squadron should and will impart knowledge to their rookies.

Being a senior associate or an executive, your job is to deliver more, but much more than a product or a service. Your job is to make your juniors feel secure. If you are a leader, every comment that you make matters. If you are tired, feeling obnoxious or cranky — that leaves a negative impact on people who follow you. Do not complain, blame or criticize, stop the victim talk. Instead, if you stay positive and speak the words of hopes and possibilities, that changes everything. If a project that you are working on goes awry, freaking out is NOT an option.

Your job as a senior is to evaluate what’s going wrong and what needs to be done so that you can steer the ship back to it’s course. Freaking out just worsens things and makes your juniors feel insecure. You need to work hand-in-hand with them and give them a sense of hope that you will be there with them during the shit-storm your team might be going through.