As we approach the 4th of July I can’t help but think of our founding fathers and the sacrifices they made when they fought to establish our country’s freedom. Those thoughts of respect and admiration in turn led me to think about of our troops overseas currently fighting to protect our way of life and preserve our freedom. The more I began to ponder the heroism of our military (past and present) the more I began to consider the traits possessed by our nation’s warriors. I believe the same characteristics that are present in the heart of a warrior are also present in the most successful executives and entrepreneurs.
Regardless of whether or not they have served in the military, today’s business leaders would be well served to possess the characteristics of a warrior in their pursuit to achieve sustainable growth and long-term success. Commitment, attention to detail, discipline, service above self, honor, integrity, perseverance, the ability to both lead and follow, to execute with precision, and the ability to adapt, improvise, and overcome are all traits that will serve you well in the boardroom.
There are many so-called management gurus in today’s politically correct world who would take great exception to what I’m putting forth in today’s post. They would tell you that the classic strong leadership traits that define our nation’s best military leaders are outdated, and that they don’t display a proper amount of empathy and compassion. I’m here to tell you that strength and compassion are not mutually exclusive terms…rather the strongest leaders are in fact the most compassionate leaders. When I was in the service my troops slept before I did, they ate before I did, and they were cared for before I was. A leader’s greatest responsibility is not for his/her own glory, but it is for the well being of those whose care has been entrusted to said leader.
The characteristics mentioned above will allow you to inspire and lead with a focus and commitment not present in DNA of those leaders who don’t have the heart, mind, and soul of a warrior. It is the ability to stay mentally focused on achieving the mission at hand, regardless of circumstances, that will help you take your organization to that next level.
A warrior’s heart has served my family well in both business and life in general. It is the mental agility, a fierce determination, and a never say die attitude that has carried us through the best of times and the worst of times. My father was a Marine before he was an attorney, I served in the Army before I entered the business world and my son is an officer in the US Air Force. While not all great business leaders have served in the military, those of you who possess the heart of a warrior understand the advantages you derive from your military bearing and state of mind. I’ve rarely come across students of military history that don’t have a great command of both strategic thinking and tactical implementation.
I strongly recommend to all business leaders that they learn to develop a command presence, and lead from a committed and passionate position of strength. The word “passion” comes from a Latin root which means quite literally to suffer. If you’re passionate about something it means you care so much that it hurts…Refusing to surrender, and having the ability to make the tough decision or the needed sacrifice, will allow your company to continue taking ground and will keep the competitive advantage on the side of your enterprise.