Over the course of his 27-year career in the U.S. Army, William Bailey served in many roles, including a stint as the information manager at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Those experiences helped him as he launched Rapier Solutions, a Matthews, North Carolina-based government contractor that provides IT, logistics, and social-work expertise, including a new survivor outreach system for the U.S. Army.
Without the military, I wouldn't be where I am today. Everything I do is based on what they taught me. The military trains you and motivates you to always give your best. You learn your strengths and how to overcome your weaknesses.
For example, I have a bad habit of solving problems in my head. One day, I was giving an update to a colonel. I told him when we were going to start and finish a project, but he had to point out that I never told him how we were going to get it done. That was an important lesson I still use today about making sure you explain how you've reached conclusions so others can follow along.
Blunt honesty is prized in the military. People don't do things blindly--they speak up if they disagree. But I've learned that you cannot do that as much in civilian life. People don't always want to hear the bad stuff. They take it as a threat or an insult.
I make it a priority to hire veterans in my company. More than half of my employees are vets and women. When you can sell vets on your mission, when they believe in where you're going, they give their best. It comes down to a trusting rather than a command relationship. That makes it easy to delegate.
As told to Inc. contributing writer Darren Dahl.