I had the pleasure of interviewing Shawn Rhodes, global expert on pivoting in challenging environments. Today, Shawn is one of the foremost experts in helping organizations leverage change. As one of the few people commissioned by the US government to study high-performing teams in combat zones, Shawn shares what he learned with top organizations through his keynotes, nationally-syndicated business column and new book Pivot Point: Turn on a dime without sacrificing results.
Chris: Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”? Can you tell us about your military background?
In 2001, I joined the US Marine Corps and was given the interesting task of not only fighting alongside Marines all over the world, but also studying them. That journey took me to more than two dozen countries and multiple combat tours, sharing what the best were doing in the most dangerous environments on the planet.
Chris: What from your time in the military, do you think most prepared you for business?
The military provides every member with the foundation to be successful in business — the discipline, punctuality and professionalism. More than anything, it encourages everyone, regardless of rank, to learn how to be a leader. Whether you’re leading yourself or a team, those skills are invaluable.
Chris: How would you define your leadership style?
I run my company very much like a sergeant would lead a platoon. That doesn’t mean simply giving orders. Instead, I work with my team to set our goals and encourage them to innovate solutions along the way.
Chris: What are your “6 Leadership Lessons Businesses can learn from military experience? Please share a story or example for each.
- Make every goal precise. Before a patrol steps out the gate, they know exactly what they are responsible for achieving and who’s responsible for accomplish specific tasks.
- Ensure you identify risks ahead of time. The middle of a 12-hour foot patrol is not the time to realize your competition has the ability to shoot missiles at you. Before taking a risk, the military teaches its leaders to identify what could go wrong before it surprises them.
- The most valuable resource is your people. In the Marines, we learn to make do with what we have, and that means we have to rely on our people more than our equipment. The lessons each person carries with them save more lives than bulletproof vests.
- Accountability is required. Whether someone is responsible for a small task or the success of the mission, it’s critical they know what needs to happen, by when, and how their team will know it’s been accomplished. Without that, success will slip through the cracks.
- Everyone is a leader. Everyone, regardless of rank, is required to learn the job of the person above them and train the people below them. This ensures if a leader is called away, they can continue the mission.
- No plan survives contact with the enemy. Planning is great, but your teams have to be flexible enough to change the plan when required. It’s how innovation is created and captured.
Chris Quiocho is a combat veteran and pilot. Millennial leader and CEO of Offland Media, the premier content partner for business aviation. Chris is a insightful and motivational public speaker, and an emerging thought leader in the aviation industry.
Originally published at medium.com