There are plenty of reasons some Americans feel distressed about the state of the country. Politicians are at each other's throats, populations feel divided, and people are concerned about the future. But there's one group of people all Americans can feel supremely proud about: veterans.
This is National Veterans Small Business Week, and Veterans Day is next week. It's important to celebrate America's veterans and support their post-military lives. They've earned their nation's gratitude, and Americans should be proud to provide them with opportunities. And, thankfully, veterans have a ton to contribute to any company:
1. They're determined.
When soldiers go to basic training, they face physical and emotional obstacles that many probably cannot imagine. Despite the many challenges, daunting expectations, and screaming superior officers, they push through with sheer grit and master the new skills. Soldiers have also learned the importance of being mission oriented, and having enthusiasm about reaching specific goals. This is similar to the type of goal-setting you should be doing in your company. Who better to help your team grow and succeed than someone who's already overcome insurmountable obstacles?
2. They're true team players.
Military members understand teamwork in a way that civilians may not. They understand that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link -- and they understand the severe consequences that can result when the chain doesn't move as a unit. The military teaches how all levels, from troops on the ground, to field command, to organizing generals, must be coordinated. Plus, when you're in the military, it doesn't matter where the person next to you came from or what they look like. It matters that they're on your team, and that you have each other's back. In your company, having true team players will improve performance, increase camaraderie, and help you exceed customer expectations.
3. They communicate.
Troops have to be excellent communicators. Their style may not always be fancy, but it is efficient and accurate. When coordinating plans and executing missions, there are so many moving pieces that must be synced -- air support to soften the enemy needs to be timed so the troops don't hit their own people -- that lines of communication must be clear to everyone and used fully. These skills are critical in your company, too, as you deal with suppliers and outside contractors, employees, and clients all at the same time.
4. They have high standards.
American soldiers take great pride in representing the USA around the world. They hold themselves to the highest standards, and demand the same from those around them. In your company, the returned service member will execute to the highest of their ability, which will inspire others and demonstrate how they can improve, too. This will boost the norms in your own company, build morale, and grow your bottom line.
5. They can resolve conflict.
Troops know what real conflict is, and have experienced it firsthand. They have the perspective to tell the difference between real conflict and nonsense. If there's strife internally or disagreements externally, they are well prepared to handle it and skilled in settling any kind of discord. They can work with all varieties of personalities, and maximize anyone's strength.
6. They've seen worse.
Whatever comes up in business will not faze a veteran. No matter what you throw at them, they've seen and overcome worse. They won't be paralyzed with fear but rather will gather their resources, develop a plan, and execute it well.