Mr. CEO, What you can learn from Armed Forces?

I met a CEO recently who told me that he would love to have people who are highly motivated, smart and disciplined. He would love to have people like you have in the armed forces with exceptional execution capabilities.

"So why don't you train like armed forces?" I asked

"We don't have time for training, I would rather have them spend time at work. They can learn most while they are at their jobs right"

Nobody can argue, that the most effective organizations in the world are the Armed forces of any country.

Corporate leaders will love to lead a company which has the vision, passion, discipline, and efficiency similar to the Army.

However, the question is how do you bring that passion and discipline?

Training: Army vs Corporates

Training is the most important component of any Armed Forces. An officer spends anywhere between 50% to 75% in training. Training on weapons, physical fitness, battle tactics, war strategies and others which keep their mind active. They don't believe in things like 70:20 10 or concepts such as learning by doing. For a simple reason that its people's life at stake and being prepared is the best form of life prevention. They cannot afford to risks with half cooked concepts.

On the other hand, training, learning, people development are more buzzwords than actual reality in companies. The training budgets are slashed year after year and people responsible for the training are reduced. Leaders hate the fact that people skip work for a day or two to undergo some sort of training.

However, the same leaders, if asked for their preference of employees, will definitely say that they want highly motivated, smart, hard-working employees who can work in a team, just like Army.

What double standard!

What can corporate training learn from Armed forces?

More Training is required not less: There are many benefits but notably, constantly trained people are high on motivation because they feel that they are taken care of. And you want that feeling from your employees only then they will give 100% to their respective jobs. Again, armed forces spent almost most of time not spent on active duty to preparation of it.

Move training from HR. In the army, the training officers are the most battle-hardened people. They know about the importance of tactics, discipline, teamwork. They have seen multiple combats. In the corporate world, however, training is mostly part of HR. Needless to say that HR are not the most knowledgeable people about your business. Now, of course there are HR leaders who somehow have great knowledge of business but that is an exception to the rule.

The point is....


Train multiple teams together: In the army, several teams train together. When the teams train together they foster teamwork. In companies, the latest trend is that every department is responsible for their own training. No wonder, you get highly competent jerks who cannot work with others.

Storytelling: Ever wondered, why Army officers are always motivated? Storytelling is the strategy which is most effectively used in the Armed Forces. In most of their training, they are made familiar with stories of brave men who fought and died for their country. Nothing inspires more than a tale of bravery. Corporate training is normally boring and fact-based, which discourages any motivation or inspiration. It's generally a fact-finding mission.

Invest heavily on emotional learning: Its not a hidden fact that a soldier overcomes fear of life to serve the country. They would do anything for their comrades and the honour of their battalions, resulting in an absolute discipline in execution of tasks. Training for these soldiers are filled with emotional elements. Strong emotions for their country, their battalions, they team and the mission. Which CEO will say that he doesn't want those qualities in his people.

So Mr, CEO. Training, learning, people development or whatever buzzword you use nowadays, don't forget, it's one of the most important factors for the progress of your company and rather than talking about it, its your time to act!


The Journeyman

5 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

The €1.5 trillion Dutch pensions industry, the largest in the European Union, and the fourth biggest in the world, is driving forward in adopting ESG (environmental, social and governance) principles