Granted, many of the warriors that have served reading this will already know these; however, I firmly believe if you didn’t serve and want to improve yourself, your career or your life in general, try them, I bet they help.
- Attention to detail-In the military, sometimes directives/orders/tasks are given quickly. The Marine Corps uses a five-paragraph order sometimes to condense tasks in a quick manner. Manny times in combat, things are according to the unit’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) where the unit has already established what they will do in a certain situation. Regardless “how” the task is given, it is imperative that you conduct the task with attention to detail. If it’s a written brief, I would always get another set of eyes on it because usually I had been working on the damn thing so long, I would miss a basic error. It is imperative to listen to what you are being told and not gleaming over what you think they are telling you so you know the specific facts they want executed. In the Marine Corps, attention to detail is emphasized all the way down to the most junior ranks. Exact times, ammo amounts, exact grids etc because they are given exact for a reason. That’s exactly what we want you to take, to be or the time I want you there. A good indicator that someone isn’t listening or has attention to detail in a meeting or even a raid on a village brief is if they are writing down what you are saying. Ok, maybe they have a photographic memory, probably not. During a mission order I would love to observe those not writing down details (radio freqs, call signs etc) then after the mission brief those would be the first Marines I would quiz.
- Communication– Listening instead of running your mouth (never miss the opportunity to keep your mouth shut) a great Marine General told me that one and it proved to be golden. I was the personal security commander (Generals body guard) / Aide de Camp in Ramadi Iraq and he just briefed up a unit that was going into combat. Afterwards, their battalion commander had his nose so far up the General ass he began asking really obvious questions. Afterwards he looked at me after telling the BN Cdr to relax he taught me that lesson. Also, I can’t count the amount of times “spring butts” as we like to call them get in front of a General Officer, open their mouths and say some dumb ass shit (face palm). “It’s always good to feed the bear”. I never was criticized for sending higher commands too much info. I always did a drive by the boss and gave him quick updates on certain situations to keep him advised (feed the bear) rather him walk into my office and ask me about two thousand topics that I wasn’t up on. It’s hard to learn what the other person is saying if you are running your lips. Try it next time you talk to someone and actually listen to what they are saying in detail. I would recommend writing it down if it’s important.
- Taking Ownership-Apparently, for some, taking ownership is a unique concept. Hmmm. In the military regardless the task, one should take extreme ownership of a task and make it theirs. When you take ownership of something, you drive the bus. You are the director and the responsibility falls on “you” when things get dorked up (also being a leader). Many times, I have seen some fail at something and quickly blame someone else. That’s not only poor leadership, that person never took ownership of their task and shows that they are weak as hell. When you take ownership of something, you take it all and run with it. There is nothing wrong with asking for a rudder steer but you make the decisions. I can always tell when a young Marine has taken ownership of a task. It’s personal, that’s his/her baby they are passionate about it and if you try to mess with it, they are going toe to toe with you. Love it!! There is a great book Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink. This is a great book for any “leader “to read.
- Discipline-Doing what is right, when no one is watching. Tough right? No, it’s not. Having discipline is doing some of the above 100% of the time. “But I didn’t get much sleep last night”, “It’s ok if we cut the corner just this time” “Let’s not do what we need to because I have to leave quick and go meet a friend”. Bullshit, having discipline means doing what you are supposed to, all the time (it’s not a popularity contest). Now, we are human and yes make mistakes but that is different from being lazy. In the Marine Corps, discipline and the lack of can be quickly noticed by those in the field, in combat or in garrison by a single identifier, their uniform and appearance. There were many times I rolled up onto a unit in Ramadi Iraq/Afghanistan, Army and Marines and noticed unshaven Marines, Soldiers that haven’t done weapons maintenance in days etc. There are tattle tails that emit the lack of discipline and usually, those units with nasty weapons and shitty uniforms were the same units making huge mistakes in battle . Some, may say the lack of the above topics (1-3) display a lack in discipline. When I was stationed at 8th & I Marine Barracks you are the poster child for the Marine Corps. Not only did we provide the Marines for the White House, Arlington burial detail. Camp David but we had everyone come see the silent drill platoon, including the President on many occasions. Our uniforms were immaculate. Period. Every Marine will eye fck your uniform when they come there to try to catch something jacked up. Our uniforms were perfect, not close, not almost perfect but perfect by the ruler to the tenth of an inch. Same goes fror when you come back for the fourth patrol in the same day, your tired, you’re smoked, hot, sweaty, dehydrated and you just want to lay down but you check on your Marines, send a follow up report to higher and then clean your weapon before you take a leak or eat or sleep. That’s discipline.
- Leadership-As a young Lieutenant, a Battalion Commander once told me “it’s not a popularity contest” while I was a platoon commander and he was right. I wasn’t really trying to have my Marines like me by being their friend but, in the end, my Marines respected me because I was fair, firm and lead from the front setting the example. If we had a shore call and you had to be back on the ship at mmidnight, I was there at 2330, to make sure my Marines all got back. They also noticed I followed the same rules as well. Being an enlisted Marine first, I never asked them to do anything I hadn’t already done before, like filling sand bags. Even as a Captain and a Major, if something needed to be done and quickly, usually I was there next to them doing the task, turning wrenches, cleaning weapons, even filling sand bags. The Marine Corps has a full line of “Leadership Traits” and “Principles” and these are hammered into all Marines. Being a leader isn’t a “hey look at me, I’m the boss”, I’m the big badass Major, no, you’re an idiot and your Marines/employees will hate you. I’ve never seen a dictator type Marine leader make it far in the Marines. We teach Lieutenants “Make a decision Lt” a 50% solution decision “now” is better than a 100% solution in two hours, (decisiveness) because we might be dead. Being a leader can suck sometimes. As a leader, I was always the last to leave, always the last to eat why? Because, in the Marines, leaders are responsible for everything your Marines do, or don’t do. Period. We put others (Marines) first and we come second (troop welfare) and sometimes you don’t get to eat. Boohoo fat ass, get over it. You become a leader when you are sound in your tactics and profession, you make sound decisions, you give a young Marine $20 out of your pocket when you know his kid needs to eat, you take it on the chin when your First Sergeant screws up and the Battalion Commander wants some ass and you tell him the buck stops with you and you will take care of the First Sergeant. You are the leader of the unit, you take all the shit, and give the boys all the glory. That’s leadership 101.
You could write a book on taking Marines Corps or military attributes that would help you be successful in business. These are simply wave tops that hopefully can get some thinking. It would be a hoot to sit some of these kids out of college down and go over these topics with them. Some, I know have no clue what they mean nonetheless use them in their daily life. I have a modest fee and usually work for cigars. Email me where to be to discuss these topics with your employees. Kidding. (not kidding)
Time for a C-Gar