Friday, November 21, 2008

Lessons from the military (as taught by my dad the tech sergeant)

army marines air force navy
As some of you know I am an Air force brat. My father was a tech sergeant in SAC before the reorganization. As I get older it is funny how much we are like our parents and yet why should we be surprised – they raised us. Here are some of the lessons I learned growing up:

  • Service before self
  • Unit before self
  • It is about the mission not the individual
  • Remove people who are not helping you accomplish the mission at head
  • Swiftly and decisively deal with people of questionable ethics
  • Honor before all else
  • Understand your assignment
  • Follow all orders except bad one
  • Plan your work and work your plan
  • Think strategically
  • Protect your family at all costs
  • Give respect to receive respect
  • Respect the person not the rank
  • Avoid a fight is you can
  • If the enemy will not let you avoid a fight decimate the enemy leaving them no grown to stand on and no quarter to retreat
  • The best way to win a war is never to fight one but if you are left no choice to win commit all, decimate your enemy, scorch the earth leaving them no quarter to retreat, and be willing to die for your beliefs
  • Losing a battle does not mean the war is lost
  • Set a clear objective
  • Eliminate things and people who do not assist you in achieving the objective
  • Eliminate people who cannot carry their own weight or make the minimum cut
  • Know politics enough to know when they are coming so you can avoid them
  • It is not what people say that matters but what they do in times of pressure and crisis
  • Reward loyalty
  • Reward respect
  • Reward honesty and character
  • Reward performance
  • Tolerate no disrespect
  • Do not argue with a fool or waste time with people
  • Never BS
  • Never tolerate BS
  • Respect is not given freely it is earned
  • Communicate clearly and concisely
  • Say what you mean, mean what you say and then do it
  • Know your job and do it well
  • Be a person of impeccable integrity
  • Lead not by words but by example
  • Expect nothing less than the best
  • Let your work speak for you
  • Hold people accountable to their words
  • Help those you can and who are willing to learn
  • Openly share your knowledge with others
  • Do not ask for or demand respect conduct yourself such that people have no choice but to respect you

Granted not many sergeants get promoted to the commissioned officer ranks and yet those who spent time in the military know the Sergeants are actually the people who run the military not the commissioned officers and consider the Sergeants are often the ones training the officers.

There are other lessons, but these were the lessons taught by my father growing up in both word and example

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