It used to be Train for Operations, now it’s Train to Work

It used to be Train for Operations, now it’s Train to Work

Barry Harris – Senior Advisor to Proelium Law LLP and UK military veteran – adds to his series of blogs aimed at veterans with some practical considerations when it comes to deciding what job to take.

Sun Tzu and Clausewitz are just as relevant to the commercial world as they are to defence

“If you know your enemies and you know yourself, you will not be imperilled in a hundred battles…if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperilled in every single battle” – Sun Tzu.

Still accurate as it was in the 6th Century BC, this quote by Sun Tzu is like your former military skills –  almost entirely transferable from the military to civilian spaces as it could read:

If you know your competition and know yourself, you will not be imperilled in a hundred opportunities…if you do not know your competition nor yourself, you will be imperilled in every single venture.

To meet Armed Forces operational requirements, the military provides realistic, mission-focused individual, unit and leader training. Personnel are trained to succeed across a wide range of military operations. The resulting product of military training is a highly skilled, confident and motivated individual and effective commander.

Let’s civilianise that last paragraph…

To meet the commercial objectives of the company, it must provide realistic training to its personnel and Managers. Personnel are trained to succeed across a wide range of skills. The resulting product of this investment in training is a highly skilled, confident and motivated individuals and effective Managers.

Business and Military operations are very similar and both intensely competitive. No matter what business you are involved in, there is a hardened competitor who is ready to compete with you to win the business you want.

The strategy and tactics of the Military are very often relevant to the conduct of Business, and they are closely aligned with the thinking of Von Clausewitz.  In the 19th century, Clausewitz captured his Nine Principles of Strategy and they follow, described in the civilian context.

1. Objectives

All operations must have a clearly defined and actionable objective. Even minor initiatives and quick-wins must have objectives. Management sets the goals for employees, this is typically assessed quarterly by an individual performance evaluation, and measured by the bottom line.

2. Offensive

The attack is considered the primary means of achieving victory.  Like military operations, a business cannot be a success in defence alone. Successful companies take initiatives and reach objectives with the aggressive use of available resource.

3. Mass

Concentrate your resources at the right time and place for maximum effect. This principle of massing suggests that a business should focus resources to strike the market with the right product at the right time.

4. Economy of Force

Resources should deploy for maximum effect. No asset should be without a purpose. The resources used to achieve secondary objectives should be minimised. The allocation of resources should be continually measured and optimised.

5. Manoeuvre

Defeat an adversary by moving quickly and intelligently. Incapacitate their decision-making capabilities by surprising them with your movements.  Move fast, think faster.

6. Unity of Command

Responsibilities must be clear. Every objective must be the responsibility of exactly one Manager. Like Standard Operating Procedures, a business will have procedural manuals themselves, and like SOP’s they lay out procedures, process and responsibilities for different tasks and eventualities.  Don’t let them gather dust, make sure they are used.

7. Security

Protect your resources. Do not allow a competitor to achieve an advantage. All companies have somebody responsible for security, the physical alarms, cameras, safes, and keys, but also information, Cyber Security, and especially intellectual property. The OPSEC you were once accustomed to in the Armed Forces, is no less important commercially. Companies will operate a management structure and will have procedures in place to ensure the protection of Intellectual Property. Operational Security will be articulated in company procedures from the handling of information to reviewing existing employment policies for employees, including the screening on suppliers and consultants. Cyber Security is now at the forefront of protecting the “Crown Jewels” of an enterprise. Even marketing collateral and Social Media output will, by necessity, be controlled so as not to break OPSEC.

8. Surprise

Strike at a time, place and manner that is likely to surprise the competition.

9. Simplicity of Order

The Armed Forces are the absolute masters of this. It is very rare that companies have a set format for a report, instruction or document, sometimes even the progression of ideas in a business can be unclear, and meetings muddled. Your military training equips you with a capability that few civilians possess.  Make your orders simple, succinct, clear and to the point. Intricate instructions can be misunderstood, mismanaged or botched.

In this, as in so many other areas, military service has equipped you to be a success in the civilian market place.  Have the confidence and get that job.

Need advice?

If you’d like further information, or to discuss working with us, you can get in touch via our Contact Us page

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Proelium Law Weekly PICINTSUM

Proelium Law is proud to launch a series of weekly picture intelligence summaries (PICINTSUMS) for the use of our clients, colleagues and contacts.  Focusing on Iraq/Syria, Libya and Afghanistan/Pakistan these reports will be updated weekly on a Wednesday.

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Proelium Law LLP

Proelium Law LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales No.OC411568.

Proelium Law LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority No. 629608 (www.sra.org.uk)

VAT Registration No. 242 4002 59.

© www.proeliumlaw.com

Web Design by Tim Mitchell Design | Web Consultancy by John Griffin, Up Marketing Co

Personal Value Defined (Without PT Scores or Military Evaluation Records)

Personal Value Defined (Without PT Scores or Military Evaluation Records)

Barry ET Harris MBE, Proelium Law Senior Advisor and UK Army veteran, shares thoughts on how to successfully transition from the military to civilian life.

Defining your values is important; they are reflections of your needs, desires, and what you care about most in life. Values are a cohesive force of our identity, and can often be decision-making guidelines. Defining your values can help you understand what to follow using a strong moral compass. Veterans have experienced so much in life, and that experience defines them and equips them with a moral courage that may not be evident in Civvy Street. Personal core values guide behaviour and choice, in theory much like company core values. But it can sometimes be difficult to align or accept the stated core values of an employer, especially if those values are wrong or ambiguous. Some positive core values that are attractive to employers are:

Truth

You will function best when you are direct and honest, although you will need to learn how to moderate some of that military directness. Being direct and honest needs to start in your CV. Openness and honesty breed the best responses as ‘there’s money in honesty’.

Diligence

Management is an applied science in the Armed Forces. Punctuality, and responding to messages almost immediately, is SOP. Veterans do not leave things hanging and are mission focused. Ensure that any statements made are substantiated, speak in absolutes only if you have completed the reconnaissance and finalised the research.

Consistency

Hypocrisy is deadly. Be consistent in your values and how you impact on those around you.  Employers seek consistency in their employees; it never hurts to have some experience, and Veterans have plenty of that!

Creativity

You might think that you would not need creativity as a core value, but it is highly valued by employers. Veterans are incredibly creative, born from a life of doing the most with the least, on time and on target!

Impact

Veterans tend to think like most entrepreneurs and see potential everywhere. Some personal traits like passion, integrity, and energy are subconscious core values followed by instinct, and they are ingredients in the impact a Veteran can make. In high-stress situations, performing professionally at a very high level of competency is an impact that Veterans can have in the workplace.

Humility

In Civvy Street people don’t wear their CV. Badges of rank, qualifications, awards and accolades have no place as corporate bling. You will have to determine and display your personal value without these aids. This might be difficult for some former Armed Forces personnel who are used to wearing their badges all year round. You can wear a lapel pin; I recommend the Veterans badge! The sudden absence of badges of rank does not mean there is no rank in the civilian world. What can you do? It is simple; be polite and treat everyone with respect.

An Exercise in Defining Personal Value

Exploring your values requires much introspection. Turn off your phone, relax and focus. Recollect the summits and valleys within your experiences that have had the most impact on your life. What we value ultimately stem from our needs which make us passionate about our values! Study your human needs they will relate to your personal values.

What is your list of values?

As Veterans, your personal value, your values, and impactfulness define you and will raise awareness of Veterans and their value in the workplace, and to the nation.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”

Need advice?

If you’d like further information, or to discuss working with us, you can get in touch via our Contact Us page

Read our latest news & articles

Proelium Law Weekly PICINTSUM

Proelium Law is proud to launch a series of weekly picture intelligence summaries (PICINTSUMS) for the use of our clients, colleagues and contacts.  Focusing on Iraq/Syria, Libya and Afghanistan/Pakistan these reports will be updated weekly on a Wednesday.

read more

Proelium Law LLP

Proelium Law LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales No.OC411568.

Proelium Law LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority No. 629608 (www.sra.org.uk)

VAT Registration No. 242 4002 59.

© www.proeliumlaw.com

Web Design by Tim Mitchell Design | Web Consultancy by John Griffin, Up Marketing Co

THERE ARE THINGS VETERANS CAN FIND CONFUSING – PART 2

THERE ARE THINGS VETERANS CAN FIND CONFUSING – PART 2

In this second of 2 blogs, Barry ET Harris MBE, Proelium Law Senior Advisor and UK Army veteran, shares thoughts on how to successfully transition from the military to civilian life.

The transition from the Armed Forces to being functionally on your own is not easy. Some issues that Veterans can struggle to adjust to when they start dealing with Civvy Street are …

BUSINESS LANGUAGE

Military language is awash with acronyms. Many regiments and units have their own unique internal language that can bewilder outsiders. This is no different for industries and companies. Navigating military language has trained Veterans to speak clearly, confidently, and in terms their peers understand. In the commercial world, it is simply a matter of learning a new jargon.

HOW TO FIND A NEW CAREER PATH

A big problem with leaving the Armed Forces and moving to “industry” is that you have come from a role that was clearly-defined and were trained how to do it well. Veterans can feel like they’re one-trick ponies. However, remember how fast the military trained you in new skills — anyone who’s earned a specialisation in the Armed Forces can easily learn something new in civilian life as well.

TAKING TIME OFF

Off-duty is off-duty and, in the military, things will be taken care of when you are away.  That is becoming less true of civilian holidays. The advent of smartphones and internet create a virtual tether to work, and employers are more and more convinced that their employees are always available. Be prepared to learn how to push back.  Control of your work – life balance is very important.

HEALTHCARE

Healthcare in the Armed Forces is well covered during your service. Injuries and other immediate needs are treated quickly; hospital waiting lists were not a concern for you if you needed long-term care of any kind. The civilian healthcare system, on the other hand, is chaotic, can be expensive, is often viewed as a barely-functional mess and can be a political football.  Know your options. Most Veterans have eligibilities, and if you have a disability it may be covered entirely. Make sure that you seek advice before leaving to get all the benefits to which you may be entitled. Step 1 is to get registered with a local GP and a dentist.

INSURANCE

Health insurance can be a big worry, particularly if you are working overseas.  Your car or motorbike needs to be insured (it’s illegal to drive uninsured), homes and belongings require insurance to protect against fires and other calamities. Importantly men and women with families should have a life insurance policy to protect their dependents.

Clarify your second career aims, ask ‘the right questions’ and focus.

Need advice?

If you’d like further information, or to discuss working with us, you can get in touch via our Contact Us page

Read our latest news & articles

Proelium Law Weekly PICINTSUM

Proelium Law is proud to launch a series of weekly picture intelligence summaries (PICINTSUMS) for the use of our clients, colleagues and contacts.  Focusing on Iraq/Syria, Libya and Afghanistan/Pakistan these reports will be updated weekly on a Wednesday.

read more

Proelium Law LLP

Proelium Law LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales No.OC411568.

Proelium Law LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority No. 629608 (www.sra.org.uk)

VAT Registration No. 242 4002 59.

© www.proeliumlaw.com

Web Design by Tim Mitchell Design | Web Consultancy by John Griffin, Up Marketing Co

Done More – Been More

Done More – Been More

Barry ET Harris MBE, Proelium Law Senior Advisor and UK Army veteran, shares thoughts on how to successfully transition from the military to civilian life.

It’s the soldiers of the Queen, my lads

Who’ve been my lads, who’ve seen my lads…….

Veterans getting a foot in the door of employment may require the overcoming of negative perceptions. Even once inside, Veterans face unique challenges that can set them apart from their civilian colleagues and could even limit their careers. Negatives need to be vanquished: 

The Negatives

“More than 2,500 former members of the Armed Forces entered the prison system last year.”The Guardian

“There is some evidence that, for a minority, military life, through factors such as the trauma of combat, the mobility of the job or the drinking culture, had reduced their ability to cope post-Service.”  Royal British Legion

“More British soldiers and veterans committed suicide last year than were killed in battle, new figures reveal.” The Telegraph

“Homelessness among veterans has been a controversial issue since the Napoleonic Wars. Today, the media reports on veterans of more recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, who find themselves without a roof continue.” – The Independent

“The number of veterans needing help for mental health problems such as PTSD has jumped by 71 percent in the past five years in the aftermath of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, a major military charity has warned.” The Telegraph

“Veterans say men and women left with the mental scars of war are left to struggle against a Government scheme determined to give them as little as possible.” The Independent

The positive for employers is the dividend of employing a Veteran can be tremendous. Employers gain Veterans’ experience in leadership, team-building, and advanced problem-solving, skills that managers need and to which companies invest heavily in management training. How do you get past the negatives to the door of a potential employer?

The Positives

There are hundreds of groups, companies, institutions, charities, and even specialist recruiters focussed on former military whose sole raison d’être is to support you.

They are there to support all veterans, including those with a physical, mental, or social injury to obtain skills and new qualifications, and develop new careers outside of the Armed Forces, and reintegrate into society.

Many leading companies and charities partner with and help service leavers as they seek to find work, and provide mentoring, training and advice to veterans, regardless of when they left the Armed Forces.

Also, employers get advice on how to recruit from the Veteran Talent Pool and then utilise their skills.

The Veterans Talent Pool

 These are people with unique skills and experience.

Veterans are a national asset with a great deal to contribute. Transition to a civilian career is difficult and challenging. There are differences between military and corporate cultures, and there are countless transferable skills than many HR Managers initially don’t understand or believe. Former Armed Forces personnel have built competencies during their careers in indispensable and in-demand skills, such as planning, problem-solving, team-building, consensus building, crisis management, managing diversity and dealing with ambiguity. These are some of the most in-demand and hard to develop skills in today’s talent marketplace.

A great many companies give priority to armed forces veterans seeking jobs.

As an owner or Boss, the benefits to your business are that Veterans are fighters; highly skilled and with a honed work ethic. It’s a potent mix and is why our Veterans make for such excellent employees. They are a sought-after asset for any business.

A Message to the HR Manager

Let Veterans prove their undoubted worth.

When we have to show them what we mean
And when we say we’ve always won
And when they ask us how it’s done
We’ll proudly point to everyone
Of the soldiers of the Queen.

With apologies to Leslie Stuart

Need advice?

If you’d like further information, or to discuss working with us, you can get in touch via our Contact Us page

Read our latest news & articles

Proelium Law Weekly PICINTSUM

Proelium Law is proud to launch a series of weekly picture intelligence summaries (PICINTSUMS) for the use of our clients, colleagues and contacts.  Focusing on Iraq/Syria, Libya and Afghanistan/Pakistan these reports will be updated weekly on a Wednesday.

read more

Proelium Law LLP

Proelium Law LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales No.OC411568.

Proelium Law LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority No. 629608 (www.sra.org.uk)

VAT Registration No. 242 4002 59.

© www.proeliumlaw.com

Web Design by Tim Mitchell Design | Web Consultancy by John Griffin, Up Marketing Co

There are things veterans can find confusing – PART 1

There are things veterans can find confusing – PART 1

In this first of 2 blogs, Barry ET Harris MBE, Proelium Law Senior Advisor and UK Army veteran, shares thoughts on how to successfully transition from the military to civilian life.

The transition from the Armed Forces to being functionally on your own is not easy. Some issues that Veterans can struggle to adjust to when they start dealing with Civvy Street are …

PEOPLE SAY ONE THING AND DO ANOTHER

This conduct is almost unheard of in the Armed Forces. Most companies have their procedures and there is, of course, the law, but there is nothing preventing people from telling you what they will do and then not following through. That can be frustrating for Veterans. There is no good way to deal with this. You just need to watch out for yourself, read documents carefully, be patient when people are not doing what was expected. It is a massive change from the world where a simple signature will get a weapon out of the armoury to signing a ten-page contract to buy a phone. There is no solution apart from awareness, caution, and a lot of patience.

NARCISSISM

The focus is not on you in the Armed Forces; there are always a few individual characters (some of them with a little too much character), however ultimately everyone is about what they bring to a mission. It is a team effort of shared goals, shared resources; shared support and energy. The result is servicemen and women who are not egotistical or self-centered. However, civilian life actively encourages a culture of narcissism. A good example is “selfies” on social media where everyone is signalling “look at me.”

THE IMPORTANCE OF MATERIAL POSSESSIONS AND IMAGE

Servicemen and servicewomen are generally not materialistic. Prized possessions are often cars or motorbikes, and a decent Hi-Fi system. Veterans have learnt to value the important things in life —  friends, family, health and happiness.

The mainstream culture has gone in completely in the opposite direction. For so many people, the most important things in life are material wealth and are driven by having the best brands. Not getting into material goods and the image trap is crucial to staying happy as a recently discharged Veteran.

REDUNDANCIES AND BEING FIRED

The concept of redundancy is not familiar in the Armed Forces, although it has been forced upon the military by successive governments seeking savings. Your military employment has a definite, fixed term from the moment you sign up; it is rare for anyone to be “let go”. Conversely, this is the civilian work experience. In companies your contract of employment always comes with the possibility of early termination. It is an adjustment, and alien for servicemen and women, to consider commanders as managers seeking a reason to fire them rather than as officers striving to keep them as a dedicated and high-performing unit.

As a Veteran you will probably experience being made redundant from a civilian job. Some savings and your pension will help, most important though is a good support system of friends and families – your network is everything. As well as financial, losing a job can have an emotional impact. Considering your service life and the high-performance world you have come from, it is easy to take being made redundant as a harsher blow than it is. Maintain perspective, remember people lose their jobs all the time (nearly always sacrificed for financial expediency). It does not compare to discharge from the Armed Forces.

NEGOTIATING SALARIES

This subject is where military and corporate culture are completely at odds with each other. Armed Forces pay is transparent. Pay scales are published and based on rank and need (location, housing, family, etc.). A job in Civvy Street’s salary will be open for negotiation. You will not know what your employer is paying anyone else, including colleagues in exactly the same position as you. As a Veteran working in a company, it can create considerable anxiety – are you being paid your worth?  Salary negotiations are crucial when you take a civilian job, do not allow a potential employer to balance a salary assumed on your pension. As a minimum always start your salary negotiation from the level of what you were receiving when serving, including any benefits and allowances. Research similar roles and situations to understand how they are compensated.

“Clarify your second career aims, ask ‘the right questions’ and focus.”

Need advice?

If you’d like further information, or to discuss working with us, you can get in touch via our Contact Us page

Read our latest news & articles

Proelium Law Weekly PICINTSUM

Proelium Law is proud to launch a series of weekly picture intelligence summaries (PICINTSUMS) for the use of our clients, colleagues and contacts.  Focusing on Iraq/Syria, Libya and Afghanistan/Pakistan these reports will be updated weekly on a Wednesday.

read more

Proelium Law LLP

Proelium Law LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales No.OC411568.

Proelium Law LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority No. 629608 (www.sra.org.uk)

VAT Registration No. 242 4002 59.

© www.proeliumlaw.com

Web Design by Tim Mitchell Design | Web Consultancy by John Griffin, Up Marketing Co

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