Tag Archives: Career

Three Ways Military Safety Procedures Can Help Ensure Workplace Safety

This Contentsafety procedures Provided Courtesy of USAA.

It seems contrary to a lot of people’s conceptions that the military is a major proponent of safe operations. From the military’s stand point, safe operations are one of the most important steps a leader can take to prepare their unit to accomplish their wartime mission. My first leadership position in the US Army was as a Heavy Mortar Platoon Leader in the Republic of Korea. My platoon’s purpose was to fire our six mortars accurately, quickly, and under any weather conditions. To do this safely, though, was a daunting task. We had to be able to operate from -30F to +100F, in rain, snow, mud, and maintain and operate wheeled and tracked vehicles when most of the platoon had less than three years in the US Army. Yet, we achieved our mission with a majority of very junior soldiers.

A focus on safety made us better at our military jobs. In my opinion, the same principles of safety the military uses can, and should, be used in the civilian world to make workplaces safer and more productive.

How military safety matters to workplace safety:

It starts with training & leadership to a high standard. Training, education, and rehearsals (practice) are the best way to maintain and create a safe workplace. Safe operations come from having to train, to practice, and to anticipate how to perform tasks safely even under a great amount of stress, little sleep, and minimal time in key p

usmcno excuses for not being safe & effective. Every military leader knows the quote, “I am responsible for everything my unit does and fails to do.” During my time in the ROK, I had the most up-to-date radios and military vehicles that were rebuilt from the 1970’s. The point was that no matter how we were equipped and supplied, we were expected to accomplish our missions safely and effectively – no excuses. On a field training exercise in January, the snow and ice made driving armored vehicles very slippery. We had to move 15 miles that took over three to four hours in -15F winter weather in a pitch dark night to make our position for the next exercise. We did it safely and on time. Not one of leaders commented on it, which was good – we were expected to be safe and effective and we were.

Safety in the military is viewed as an integral part of all activities from garrison to combat. Safety of military personnel is

critical. In the military, if you lose a soldier to an accident or to an enemy action, the safety injury is the worse event because that could have been prevented. Leaders enforcing safe activity every step of the way, in person, is also essential. In the winter, when a round became stuck in the mortar tube, a mixture of anti-freeze and water had to be poured in the tube and then the round removed. Standing in support around cold steel, freezing water, and a 25 lbs. mortar round slick with anti-freeze being slowly lifted so a soldier could catch it as it slid down the tube is a critical leadership activity to support safety.

c17aaAggressively look at ways to become even safer. The US Army uses the Risk Management Process, a step-by-step process to analyze critical activities, identify solutions & hazards, and then put in risk mitigation and injury mitigation steps to create a safer work environment. This process works very well for the US Army but it is another procedure, the After Action Review (AAR) that makes the Risk Management Process work well. The AAR is when the entire unit, highest rank to lowest rank, gathers as peers in a circle, reviews what happened, identifies sustainment and improvement items, and then creates a plan to fix the improvement items. Safety items are highlighted in AAR’s. It is the team effort of an AAR to seek improvement and more safety combined with the discipline of the Risk Management Process that creates greater safety.

Safety in the military is viewed as an integral part of all activities from garrison to combat. Safety of military personnel is a critical leader task that is of vital importance.  A focus on safety made us better at our military jobs.  In my opinion, the same principles of safety that the military uses can, and should, be used in the civilian world to make workplaces safer and more productive.

Share some of your recommendations on how to maintain a safe work place!

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Step Up for America – Apply Military Veteran Skill Sets To American Challenges

step up for America veteran

This Content Provided Courtesy of USAA.

A Pew Research Center report on post 9/11 veterans in America detailed both the pride and the problems that have faced the most recent generation of America’s veterans.  Despite a period of sacrifice that has gone on longer than the Vietnam War, the overwhelming majority of veterans are proud of their service and believe the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have made them better people.  Veterans have given a lot to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, it is time that veterans revive the sacrifice they gave overseas and help solve the greatest challenges facing America.

America’s problems are enormous.  The challenges of unemployment, education, housing, innovation, government, economic revitalization, and business growth are not too big to be solved, but they are too big to continue to be disregarded.  Military veterans are the solution to be the vanguard to lead America through these challenges.

Why Veterans?  Veterans possess an intense ethical focus, they live leadership-by-example, and they have skills that immediately translate for use in a wide variety of industries.  Military veteran skill sets reside in planning, post completion problem analysis, the use of rehearsals, competitive analysis, team leadership, coaching, risk management, back up plans, war-gaming, and decision making.  These skill sets are desperately needed everywhere.

Here is how veterans can start to help:

Elected Office.  If you are feed up with government, then do something at the local and state level.  The local and state challenges of matching budgets with needs are an enormous challenge and require capable leaders.  You may not know it yet, but your PTA, city council, and state legislature needs your help.

Entrepreneurship.  All of the great business ideas are not already out there.  Businesses form around a group of people that have a way to satisfy an unmet customer need in a profitable fashion.  Do not worry about starting big.  Get a great idea, satisfy customers, be profitable, hire, and grow.  Believe in yourself and your ideas.

Healthcare, Education & Government.  Industries that help people such as Education, Government, Healthcare, and other services need great people.  Many of these industries have a 50+ average age and will see the start of a massive retirement book in 4-5 years.  Get in at the ground floor and help people that really need your skills.  Veterans know how to build teams, create a plan, lead, follow orders, and exercise initiative.

Higher Education.  The Post 9/11 GI Bill was the most positive piece of veteran focused legislation in decades.  Veterans in education need to focus on two things while using their GI Bill.  First, complete your education and help others do so.  Veterans not attaining their post-military education goals remain too high – help others stay in school and complete their degrees.  Second, focus your education on skills in technology, education, health care, business, science, engineering, and mathematics that will create a competitive edge for your future and the future of America.

Veteran Unemployment and Underemployment.  Veteran under employment remains shockingly high and no government program will have a significant and lasting impact on its reduction.  Even with high unemployment, businesses still hire people that show how they can grow revenue, solve operational problems, and reduce costs.  The military skills veterans have will help a company succeed.  Business needs to focus on how to translate and apply military skills to business in the areas of leadership, planning, competitive analysis, and safety.

Volunteer.  There continues to be an intense and ongoing need for after school programs, tutoring, food banks, homeless shelters, and job fairs to name only a few.  If you have time, volunteer to help others and help veterans succeed in their career transition.  The thanks of a child as you help them master a new book will be rewarded.

It Starts Today.  The country is extremely grateful for the service of veterans in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also the previous generation of veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Gulf War I, Bosnia, and Kosovo.  However, in these dire times, the country needs its veterans again.  There is not going to be any better day than today to start making the country better – it is up to veterans to start.  Veterans, you are the cavalry, now get going for America!

Resources to Support an Effective Military to Civilian Transition:

  1. 5 Keys to a Smoother Military Transition – Great Advice to Succeed By @USAA – http://bit.ly/2rI3qKT
  2. After Service: 3 Routes to a Civilian Career – Solid Military to Civilian Transition Advice By @USAA – http://bit.ly/2q8QzAg
  3. Create a Military Transition Fund to Have a Successful Military to Civilian Transition – http://bit.ly/2qMqrhB
  4. USAA Employment Tools to Help Translate Military Skills to Civilian Jobs – USAA Members Only (Free to Join) – http://bit.ly/2q2zsUF
  5. USAA INSIGHT: 3 Ways to Ease Your Shift from Military Service to Civilian Life From @USAA – http://bit.ly/2qMoz8x
  6. USAA Leaving the Military Guide – Advice & Support for a Smooth Transition – USAA Members Only (Free to Join) – http://bit.ly/2rI53Iu
  7. USAA Military Separation Assessment Tool for Financial Planning – USAA Members Only (Free to Join) – http://bit.ly/2q8R8tS
  8. USAA Military Separation Checklist Tool for Planning Your Military to Civilian Transition – USAA Members Only (Free to Join) – http://bit.ly/2q2RGp5
  9. USAA News – Member’s Easy Military Transition? He Credits Education and Planning – http://bit.ly/2qOdMJc

How Disney World Took Lessons From The US Military

disney

The New York Times ran a detailed story on a new attraction at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL.  The new Disney Operational Command Center is everything that it sounds like.  A state-of-the-art, technology driven command center in a central, protected location that supervises everything in Disney World to ensure that theme parks guests, employee, and services run smoothly, effectively, and on time.  To a veteran, this news story about an Operations Center (OPCEN) seems like a “easy decision.”  An OPCEN?  There are probably several hundred military OPCEN’s operating globally, 24-7, and under combat conditions.  Why, when Walt Disney does it, this becomes a news story?

The Walt Disney Operational Command Center is news precisely because the adaptation of military concepts to civilian organizations is a vast and great unknown.  Today, Gulf War II veterans (primarily Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans) are less than 0.5% of the US population.  The US public knows very little of what the day-to-day military does; let alone how to adapt military skills and methods to their organizations.  The lack of public knowledge concerning the benefit military methods can and do bring to Disney and countless other organizations are a great advantage point for veterans in their career search and career advancement.

The essential point for a veteran is that they must weave the application of military skills into the organization’s culture and work processes.  The Walt Disney culture is all about teamwork, positive customer experience, authenticity of performers (workers) to their roles, safety, and efficiency in the face of growing crowds.  Knowing this, the Disney Operational Command Center was not seen as a top down command and control center.  Rather, it was a place to monitor ride line length, safe operating conditions, and to mitigate other potential effects of customer dissatisfaction.  The Disney OPCEN supported the company culture and existing work practices.  In this way, the weaving of a military process, the OPCEN, in support of Disney culture of customer satisfaction and customer experience was perfect.

nabyAs you look at potential employer’s and your career progression, understand the problems your company experiences, the culture of how your company operates, and how the military skill set will be a solution to the organization.

Here are three ideas how military skills add value to organizations:

  1. Leverage Your Military Experience to Your Company and Job. Veterans need to translate their military skills to their businesses and organizations in a fashion that supports the culture and work practices of their company.  First, sit down and describe one accomplishment that you performed in the military, the problem that it solved, and why it was successful.  Second, list the skills that you used to accomplish the military task successfully.  Third, list problems within the company that could be solved by using some or these skills.  For example, maybe you started a regular meeting of tribal elder’s or shopkeepers in your AO in Afghanistan to discuss problems and look for solutions.  These meetings produced military skills sets of coordination, negotiation, planning, and leadership.  Could you set up a series of meetings with your company’s customers to generate ideas and discussion on what your company could provide in the future?
  1. Start a Veteran’s Network in Your Organization. You do not have to have all the great ideas.  Get a group of veterans’ together, brainstorm, and plan how to implement military skills to solve your organization’s problems.  Military Veteran Employee Resource Groups (ERG’s) serve a variety of roles to help companies employ more veterans, keep veterans on as employees, serve as a resource base for deployed employees, and help veterans translate military skills into improving the company’s business.  No matter your organization’s size, a military veteran ERG is a great idea.

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  1. “A Desk Is a Dangerous Place from Which to View the World,” – John le Carre. In the military, inspections, field visits, and “walking the line” were an implicit responsibility for leaders at all levels.  In business, conducting field visits with customers, manufacturing locations, and the like can make a dramatic difference in your career, allow you to understand the business, and establish a special relationship with your customers.  If you do not know what to do, get out and look at the problem from your customer’s perspective.

 

Resources to Support an Effective Military to Civilian Transition:

  1. 5 Keys to a Smoother Military Transition – Great Advice to Succeed By @USAA – http://bit.ly/2rI3qKT
  2. After Service: 3 Routes to a Civilian Career – Solid Military to Civilian Transition Advice By @USAA – http://bit.ly/2q8QzAg
  3. Create a Military Transition Fund to Have a Successful Military to Civilian Transition – http://bit.ly/2qMqrhB
  4. USAA Employment Tools to Help Translate Military Skills to Civilian Jobs – USAA Members Only (Free to Join) – http://bit.ly/2q2zsUF
  5. USAA INSIGHT: 3 Ways to Ease Your Shift from Military Service to Civilian Life From @USAA – http://bit.ly/2qMoz8x
  6. USAA Leaving the Military Guide – Advice & Support for a Smooth Transition – USAA Members Only (Free to Join) – http://bit.ly/2rI53Iu
  7. USAA Military Separation Assessment Tool for Financial Planning – USAA Members Only (Free to Join) – http://bit.ly/2q8R8tS
  8. USAA Military Separation Checklist Tool for Planning Your Military to Civilian Transition – USAA Members Only (Free to Join) – bit.ly/2q2RGp5
  9. USAA News – Member’s Easy Military Transition? He Credits Education and Planning – http://bit.ly/2qOdMJc

 

 

Secrets How Military Veterans Enable Their Employers to Succeed

 

TSecrets How Military Veterans Help Their Employers SucceedHIS CONTENT PROVIDED COURTESY OF USAA.  Military service members are taught how to create integrated operations plans with multiple contingencies to ensure critical strategies succeed, create and develop personnel to succeed in their careers, and coordinate the placement and use of critical resources to ensure a plan has the best chance of success.  This military training and military experience, with some modification, is “off-the-shelf” ready to be applied to the successful execution of business strategy.  Military veterans before having often overcome great personal struggles to establish their civilian career success.

Great companies are based upon a sustainable value proposition of creating and maintaining value for a variety of stakeholders.  The Business Qualities of Success are what business need to do in order to be successful among customers and in the marketplace.  Customers find the products or services the company produces to be satisfying to meet their needs, stockholders find the return that the company produces to be equal to the comparable risk – reward ratio of other similar ventures, and employees find the time spent at the workplace to be engaging, interesting, and rewarding.  When any one of these three elements fail, the company usually fails.  The central driver for success in business is the employee.  Employees create products, satisfy customer needs, meet financial obligations, and make the critical decisions to guide the company to success.  Therefore, finding and keeping the finest employees is the most crucial decision for a company.

The Business Qualities of Success

The Business Qualities of Success are the primary drivers for what makes a business, or any size or service or product, successful.  Business must complete successfully an amazing amount of centralized and simultaneous tasks to be perceived competitive in today’s marketplace.  Businesses must manage cash flow to ensure they have enough immediate money to pay their bills, pay employees sufficient benefit packages so they remain with the company, operate at the lowest cost and highest service level to meet the most demanding customer, and ensure all the company’s and their employee’s activities are both morally, ethically, legally, and socially sound.  This is a challenge to achieve, but the qualities below help businesses ensure they meet these demands.

caMO2Consistent Improvement – The final area is consistent improvement.  The modern marketplace, from a dry-cleaning store to operating a hot dog stand to a global corporation, is in a constant of flux.  Customers demand new products, customers want to pay less, governments consider new legal measures, and markets demand even better returns.  Central to the all the criteria in the Business Qualities of Success is the ability to get constantly and consistently better in these.  The process that businesses go through of almost evolutionary adaptation is critical and central to their success.

Execution – Execution is the successful delivery of the product or service to the customer that fulfills the need for which they customer purchased the good or service.  The company must execute literally thousands of tasks before a good or service reaches the customer from purchasing raw materials to transporting goods to conducting advertising.  However, all the events in executions must be viewed through the prism of customer satisfaction and how the good or service satisfied the need of the customer.  For example, if I do anything from developing marketing, and delivering a laundry detergent to customers that does not clean clothes or make them smell fresh, then I have ultimately failed because my execution failed to satisfy the reasons the customer purchased the product.

Financial Results – The achievement of above market financial returns is the reason that businesses operate.  This could be a child’s lemonade stand or a multi country, multi-billion-dollar conglomerate.  However, financial results are not only quarter to quarter Earnings per Share (EPS) returns.  Good fiscal management and results return an above market return to shareholders, but they also maintain a good credit rating for the company, timely payment to suppliers and vendors for materials and services, a relatively low debt level, and solid investment levels to ensure the future success of the company to meet its business objectives in a competitive environment.  At times, these can be contradictory, but they usually can be achieved.

1000w_q95ffffLeadership – Just as military forces need leaders, Business businesses need leaders that possess: high ethical quality, rigorous decision making skills, an analytical mind that can see the perspective of both the firm and the customer, an appreciation of how to attract and grow talented employees, a keen sense of financial returns possible, and how to ensure that the company meets all the legal, social, and ethical requirements of its operations.  Leaders that meet these criteria are in short supply in any business, but the leaders that possess these qualities nearly always emerge as the leaders in their companies and underlying divisions.  Leaders are the executors of business strategy and their development must be central to any successful business.

Service and Quality – Customers will buy new services and products to try them out and see if they work.  However, service and quality is what will make customers stay and attract even more customers.  Customer demand good service both in the purchase of a product, but also in the after-market support of the product.  What if the product breaks?  What if I have a question?  These thoughts and concerns run through consumers that are on their way to becoming customers.  The highlights of service and quality are primary factors of what makes the restaurant chain McDonalds so successful.  McDonald’s is legendary for their consistent service, quality of food preparation, and rigorous engineering of their food development, raw food ingredient purchasing, and in store customer service.  I can go from a McDonald’s in Key West, FL to Portland, ME to Seattle, WA to San Diego, CA and have the food taste the same with the same service quality.  Service and quality are central indicators to the success of a business.

carrierStrategy – Strategy for businesses means setting a path and establishing the conditions for success in a venture or ventures that will: (1) satisfy financial returns, (2) be difficult for the competition to emulate quickly, (3) be within the skill sets of the business to execute successfully, and (4) can satisfy the customer need for the good or service over a sustained time.  Apple has made this type of a strategy a success when Apple transformed itself from a computer company into a personal electronics company.  Today, Apple is the standard for personal electronic devices such as phones, MP3 players, and portable media devices.  A key element of a success strategy is also to know when to adapt, change, or abandon a strategy that is no longer working.

Military veterans can apply the Military Qualities of Success to support and reinforce the Business Qualities of Success.  It is not just enough to get a job; the military provides great skills that can lead to fantastic success in the civilian world.  While challenge is an inherent part of the transition, it is vital to remember that others have successfully transitioned and succeeded.

Career progression from a rewarding military career to an equally or more rewarding civilian career is a daunting, but far from impossible task that many before you have achieved.  The clear majority of Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen were leaders in the military and it is vital to their progression that they become leaders in the civilian world.  A successful second career allows you to find and secure employment in a challenging, enjoyable position and then maximize all your precious military experience and training to become a leader in your new chosen field.

Resources to Support an Effective Military to Civilian Transition:

  1. 5 Keys to a Smoother Military Transition – Great Advice to Succeed By @USAA – http://bit.ly/2rI3qKT
  2. After Service: 3 Routes to a Civilian Career – Solid Military to Civilian Transition Advice By @USAA – http://bit.ly/2q8QzAg
  3. Create a Military Transition Fund to Have a Successful Military to Civilian Transition – http://bit.ly/2qMqrhB
  4. USAA Employment Tools to Help Translate Military Skills to Civilian Jobs – USAA Members Only (Free to Join) – http://bit.ly/2q2zsUF
  5. USAA INSIGHT: 3 Ways to Ease Your Shift from Military Service to Civilian Life From @USAA – http://bit.ly/2qMoz8x
  6. USAA Leaving the Military Guide – Advice & Support for a Smooth Transition – USAA Members Only (Free to Join) – http://bit.ly/2rI53Iu
  7. USAA Military Separation Assessment Tool for Financial Planning – USAA Members Only (Free to Join) – http://bit.ly/2q8R8tS
  8. USAA Military Separation Checklist Tool for Planning Your Military to Civilian Transition – USAA Members Only (Free to Join) – bit.ly/2q2RGp5
  9. USAA News – Member’s Easy Military Transition? He Credits Education and Planning – http://bit.ly/2qOdMJc

 

Soft Military Skills That Deliver Hard Results for Military Veteran Careers

Translating and applying military skills sets to post-military careers is an invaluable, essential, and vital steps for military veterans to have the best opportunity for career success following military service.  Leadership, Coaching, Training, and finding Solutions to problems are only a few of the ways to add value.  The way to get excited, engaged, and successful in your new civilian career is to leverage and employ your hard-learned military skills in your new civilian career.

US Air Force Engineers

                      US Air Force Engineers

Soft Military Skill For Civilian Career Success #1 – Help Your Boss Define Success.  In the military, as junior leaders, we were used to helping advice, assisting, and developing our military commanders in their professional duties.  Key to this development was helping them determine the description and definition of a successful military operation.  In the civilian world, some leaders are extremely protective of their professional position and may resent the ideas of a subordinate helping them define success.  To help leaders overcome their fear, start with a small project and show how you can define the success.  This is a small impact and powerful example that shows your boss what can be done without appearing to threaten their authority.

Soft Military Skill For Civilian Career Success #2 – Train Your Team To Excel At Their Current (and Future) Jobs.  Another military skill that works great for the civilian workplace is training others to do their jobs better and how to do your job.  Often times, people believe that by not teaching others how to perform their job, they preserve their position.  However, by not training a replacement, you confine yourself to your current position because you cannot be replaced.  Training, developing, educating, and improving your team to perform their jobs better and how to do your job makes them better at their own jobs, makes your team better, and makes your team motivated because you are demonstrating how they can succeed in their careers.

Soft Military Skill For Civilian Career Success #3 – Ensure Life Outside of Work Is Good.  A classic military job of the Squad Leader or Section Leader was to check on Soldiers outside of work, in the barracks, and their home off base.  The belief was that if a person was having trouble outside of work, then how they could perform well while at work.  This applies equally in the civilian workplace.  Most workers want to keep their work and home life private, which is fine.  Inquiring about how their children are doing, their spouse, and the general activities of their home life is a great way to show that you care without being to obtrusive.  In addition, giving employees time off for major life events and personal emergencies, as long as it is not over used, is a great way to demonstrate that you care personally about them and their success.

Soft Military Skill For Civilian Career Success #4 – Create, Test, and Offer Solutions for Problems Then Implement.  Another great military skill set is when problem identification, initiative and execution intersect.  This is when people identify problems, create a solution, test to make sure it works, and then implement the solution all with their own initiative.  This discipline to creativity, innovation, and initiative is what makes military and civilian teams great.  Again, many civilian bosses can be uncomfortable with this initiative, but it has great value to a business and to customer satisfaction.  Start with small problems, solve this effectively, and move onto larger challenges.

Soft skills from the military combine initiative, leadership, problem definition, idea creation, innovative solutions, and effective execution.  Some civilian bosses make time to become comfortable with these concepts, but all civilian leaders will find them effective and the right task to perform to make customers satisfied and create a profitable business that customers want to use repeatedly.

THIS ARTICLE RE-PUBLISHED COURTESY OF USAA.  ORIGINAL PUBLISHED HERE.