Why I Am Hiring Military Guys
“We’re time-on-target for the go-live.” Why Mission First also helps in business.
Outing yourself as a military guy is not always well-perceived in the business world. Nevertheless, I do it. I am an active reserve general staff officer in the Swiss Armed Forces, and at the same time, I am the Co-Founder & CEO of a software company.
I am not the only military guy in the company. One of my co-founders was an active reserve officer in the National Emergency Operations Centre, and our employees include a former infantry platoon leader and an RAF Tornado navigator.
The parallels between business and the military are often discussed in the business media, but I want to focus on two very specific aspects which I believe are most relevant in a company of 20 people: mission first, and surviving in a complex world.
Both business and the military have clear strategic missions: Businesses should make money, and armies should bring home victory.
These strategic missions are broken down into operational and tactical missions, which are then executed by the subordinated leaders with as much freedom of action as possible. This is referred to as mission command. Therefore, every leader needs to know his mission by heart, and always put it first. The mission is non-negotiable, and the ways to achieve it are.
Once internalized, the mission command philosophy often stays with a person for life. It is an integral part of military training and doesn’t magically disappear once a person transfers into civilian employment. This is where startups can take advantage of hiring military guys: do whatever it takes to achieve your mission.
Here is a real-life statement I heard in our company:
“We’re time-on-target for the go-live.”
This was said a few days before a major customer go-live when the team was working day and night to make the go-live successful. One of our military guys skillfully synchronized all activities to make sure all go-live relevant tasks were finished on time, and everything else was shifted to the…