Veterans Day Message

Every year as the leaves turn a nice combination of orange and red, when a slightly cool nip begins to fill the air, we celebrate as a country the service and sacrifices that others have made for us and our nation. This Saturday, November 11th, we celebrate Veteran’s Day. A day designed to make us all pause and reflect.

As a veteran myself, I began to think about what a day like this means to corporate America and how the nearly twenty million veterans in this country effect our workplaces. The answers may be less apparent than they were in 1960 when veterans made up around 13% of the population. While many highlight the leadership qualities formed through military service at all levels, I tend to think the effect on our workplaces isn’t as black and white as traditional leadership roles. This is likely because veterans are used to a high amount of responsibility even when serving in lower level positions.

Our veterans help to transform our workplaces through their concepts of duty, dedication to service, and selflessness. As military leaders we are taught to put our followers’ needs above our own (servant leader), pause and think about that thought for a moment. Where does that concept fit in your current view of your office and of corporate America? Putting your ego aside to selflessly coach and teach are a vital aspect of both leadership and team building. Effective teams of diverse talent can transform not only our workplaces, but the entire business.

Take some time to think about your own professional development; have you found value in putting others first or seeing your leaders do so? Did it seem out of place in your highly competitive results-oriented business? Did/Does it powerfully influence people or did it somehow suggest weakness? Think about your most influential coaches, teachers, leaders and mentors; were any of these individuals successful because they were “servant leaders”? What made them so influential?

Veteran unemployment has dropped 1.6% from October 2016 to October 2017 and is now below 3% nationally. This is terrific news considering how veterans can help transform a team. It’s aspirational to get this number consistently lower each year until all veterans that want jobs have one. Considering how a veteran may positively transform a workplace, will this be the year you hire a qualified one?

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