Can Business learn from the modern military?

Some of the systems the modern military employ are interesting. Especially when applied to the challenges and traumas of the workplace. not to over play it, the workplace is certainly no battlefield, but maybe some of the hard learned lessons can be applied to make the workplace a little less jarring.


Probably the biggest single lesson the military teaches is that teamwork is king. the unit,platoon or whatever organisational unit is engaged rely wholeheartedly on teamwork to succeed. It is interesting to note that the teams needs always take precedent over the needs of the individual.

Now I must admit this does sound a little holistic, zen and over the top; but indulge the theory here. The idea is to engender a collective unity, that no matter how hard the going gets, the cohesion and motivation of the team will ensure success.

One man Jack

Closely related to teamwork is ‘one man Jack’ . Now this will take a little explaining, so bear with me. One of the tennets of a successful team is the feeling that you will never be abandoned or left on your own to complete a task which requires more resource. that you can rely on your pals to get you through.

It’s basically an unwritten covenent between team members, if you’re in trouble we’re in it with you. It’s this collective identity which helps surmount difficult problems.

Any skill can be learnt

This is key¬† and is so easy to apply; it’s a wonder why it isn’t more apparent in the workplace.

The military believe that any difficult function, job or procedure can be broken down into small manageable parts. intelligence and job suitability simply doesn’t enter into it. if everyman can’t perfom the job then the instructions aren’t good enough.

Now this works for repeatable jobs, but can it really work for those situations where you need to think on your feet, or where there could be a million different reasons something is happening?

The military condition its soldiers to apply a set of principles and constants in these circumstances. To attempt to arrive a best possible scenario. the key here is that to make these decisions, you need to know what is expected of you, what the desired result looks and feels like.

Maybe not a perfect fit for the modern workplace, but think about how often you are asked to undertake a task or piece of work and the desired results are either not made clear or you’re uncertain of the steps you should take to get there.

Whilst extremely formulaic and not allowing much variance in solution finding, this system does provide surety of result.

Hopefully the above has been thought provoking if nothing else, all comments welcome.



  1. It is very difficult to find advised people about this issue, nevertheless, you sound like you know exactly what you are writing about! With thanks

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