After a long week of battling exams I thought I would take our mind off of school and focus again on one of our amazing classmates. We learned from Sean Bode in our last Military Leadership post about Integrity. This time Ben Brooks shares how he has applied lessons from his time in the Army to his current civilian consulting job. Ben focuses on communication and planning as skills that he has, but also shared a great insight into a value that is much sought after in the public sector but hard to achieve….Selfless Service.
Ben’s story reminded me of a great article written by the Harvard Business Review focusing on Footlocker’s CEO. Ken Hicks graduated from the US Military Academy and served six years active duty in the Army before he joined the retail world. Just as Ben has, Ken Hicks highlights the importance of valuing people’s service at all levels to achieve a strategic goal. He points out that when leaders at an executive level show respect for and involve the frontline, these employees respond with the same self-sacrifice to work harder and deliver results.
Ken says in the article, “In retail and the military, you’re very dependent on the people at the front or the selling floor. You realize how important the sale associate is. It’s the same thing in the army; you’re very dependent on your privates and specialists, and so you talk with them and learn from them. Six or eight months after I’d left J.C. Penney’s, I was in a Penney’s store looking at some merchandise, and an associate recognized me and came running across the floor to say hello. She remembered me because I’d treated her with respect and listened to her. That’s what you have to do to inspire people. The people on the selling floor, just like the cannoneers, the gunners, and the infantry, are the ones who make everything happen.”
As you can see from Ben Brooks’ article here, he’s clearly learned the same lessons and is applying them towards his own bright future.