What SMEs can learn from the military

There’s a lot that businesses can learn from the Defence Force, and no, it doesn’t involve running corporate boot camps or launching paperclip grenades in the office (although that might make for an interesting team-building exercise).

  1. Strong Leadership and Clear Hierarchy: Just like a military unit needs a commander, businesses thrive with a leader who doesn’t make employees feel like they’re charging into battle every Monday morning. A clear chain of command ensures everyone knows who’s in charge, so no one accidentally promotes the office plant to Managing Director.
  2. Emphasis on Teamwork and Collaboration: The military’s teamwork is legendary. They know that it’s not about one soldier outshining the rest; it’s about an entire unit working together. In the business and SME world, collaboration means more than just a fancy word. It means putting the “we” in “workweek” and embracing the idea that success is a team effort, not a solo mission.
  3. Strategic Planning and Execution: Strategic planning isn’t just for officers with maps and mud models. Businesses can benefit from plotting their path to success too. Remember, the objective is not to conquer neighbouring cubicles but to develop comprehensive strategies and execute them with precision, minus the camouflage face paint.
  4. Adaptability and Resilience: In the military, being adaptable is essential when the situation changes faster than the weather during a Melbourne morning. Similarly, businesses should be flexible and open to change, so when the market throws a curveball, they can swing and hit it out of the park (figuratively, of course).
  5. Effective Communication and Information Sharing: The military knows that clear communication saves lives, and businesses can save their own metaphorical lives by adopting the same principle. Instead of sending coded messages or using smoke signals during meetings, strive for clear, concise communication that leaves no room for misinterpretation or the need to decode your boss’s cryptic emails.
  6. Focus on Training and Development: While it’s unlikely you’ll see employees doing push-ups in the breakroom (personal recommendation), businesses can borrow the military’s dedication to training and development. Invest in your team’s skills and watch them rise to the occasion like superheroes in business attire. Capes are optional but encouraged.
  7. Attention to Detail and Discipline: Military operations require attention to detail and discipline to ensure mission success. Similarly, in the business world, dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s (and making sure there’s enough coffee in the office) can go a long way in preventing costly mistakes and maintaining a well-oiled operation.
  8. Respecting and Supporting Personnel: The military understands the importance of its personnel, and businesses should do the same. Remember, happy employees are productive employees. So, don’t forget to sprinkle a little appreciation, support, and the occasional pizza party into the workweek to keep morale high.

So, while we don’t recommend turning your office into a battlefield, there are valuable lessons to be learned from the armed forces. Embrace teamwork, plan strategically, adapt to change, communicate effectively, invest in your team, pay attention to details, and respect and support your personnel. With these lessons in your arsenal, your business can conquer challenges and achieve success without the need for camouflage uniforms or combat boots in the boardroom.


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