Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Value of the Military Skill Set – Part XII

Part XII - "Red Blood or Red Ink" Index to the Series: Part I: Initiative, marketing, sales, project planning and program management skills Part II: Auditing Skills Part III: Operations 24/7/365 Part IV: “Point Papers” Part V: Collateral Duties Part VI: The “Git ‘er done!” Factor Part VII: “Total Care” Part VIII: Communications in the Workplace Part IX: "Give a smart person with potential a chance" Part X: Process Engineering, Continuous Improvement, Total Quality Management, Total Quality Leadership, or what ever you call it. The bottom line title: Making “it” better Part XI: The Military's Supply System Part XII: “Red Blood or Red Ink” Part XIII: Constructive Plagerism This is probably an original way to portray what I’ll comment on below. It’s been running around in my head for a few years now, and this seems to be the right time to roll it out. Think jeopardy. What’s the difference between warfare and business? Bingo. On is a more gentile form of the other, but in each case, the goal is to take something from the other party, and make it yours. What’s the difference between Wal-Mart moving in, with the local hardware, toy and grocery stores taking a significant, if not financially fatal "hit," and Hitler moving into Poland? I think you can’t argue that there is a fundamental difference here. It’s all about competition. It’s about figuring out your enemy/competitor’s weakness and exploiting it to your gain. Certainly one venue is far more radical, and in many cases, far more final. Particularly for those service members who have been able to attend one of the National or international service colleges, this is a daily exercised skill, and therefore, a part of their thought processes. The curriculums of the war colleges focus on building better warfighters, at the upper levels. The degrees awarded are in the Strategic Studies arena at the Master’s level. The almost universally studied texts is "On War" by Carl von Clausewitz. The other classic is “The Ancient Art of War” by Sun Tzu. These writings are studies in how people operate in the most extreme climes of competition, that of armed conflict. Reduce this to the business environment and what you have is people who subconsciously know what to look for when you ask them to figure out how to increase market share, or how to take over, or penetrate a market. To them, it’s just second nature to mentally construct an operational concept, that will form the "battle plan." Not only will they formulate the concept, they will have had practice in drafting the operational plan and then communicating it to the office/sales force staff. Think about it. How many business seminars have you been to where some tremendously successful business person stand before you and they reference some great philosophy that is directly derived from a great warrior? Why shouldn’t they, it’s the same concept at work.

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