Last weekend was the annual “Twin Peaks Battle Tab”, a New Zealand Army endurance race sponsored by our unit 2/4 Battalion. Held over the hills to the North of Dunedin city this race saw 17 teams (from units right across the Army) and 34 individuals compete. This is the second year I have competed and my Company (A Company, 2/4 RNZIR) had 3 teams and a number of individuals competing.
The weather was wet and cold, we carry 20kg of gear and it makes for a full on day of navigation, endurance and focus. Over 26 km we climb across two peaks a number of times. Ironically we trained more for the event this year and it seemed to hurt more! But you have to challenge yourself and get in amongst it and as a Company Commander it is important to be doing the same things that your soldiers are doing even if a few more years make you a bit slower.
Nailing it is very satisfying and makes the beer taste good.
An interesting blog (link here) about how Military Veterans need to plan for their transition into the business world. Being one myself who has made the jump into the commercial world after 18 years as a professional Army Officer and having supported a number to do the same I do tend to agree. The Army gives you some of the best academic, strategic thinking and leadership training on the planet. On top of this, from a very young age (19 in my case) you are leading soldiers around the world to do some pretty challenging things. The Army teaches systems, processes and training and exposes you to a wealth of situations.
What it does not teach you is the commercial realities of running a business and in particular the sales and marketing, cash flow and financial skills needed to lead complex, fast moving organisations. That said some of the best Business leaders I know have a military background and many of my friends are doing some amazing CEO roles right around the globe. With good planning, good mentors and some opportunities to make the transition it can be easy, albeit requiring good self awareness. Businesses seeking good leaders who can develop & execute plans can also pick up top talent that will grow their culture.