To develop your competitive advantage, apply the 14 key strategies of special business operations.
- “Create the best” – Start by recruiting the very best personnel and then ask them to go above and beyond.
- “Dare the impossible” – The motto of the British Special Air Service (SAS) is, “Who dares, wins.”
- “Throw the rule book away” – Continually innovate, disregarding established procedures that don’t fit the situation at hand. Be aware of the level of competition in your particular arena and the world generally. Maintain a positive mentality, believe that a solution exists and work until you find it.
- “Be where the action is” – You have to lead commandos from the front. The purpose of a special op is to accomplish the nearly impossible. To do so, you must be willing to be on the firing line.
- “Commit and require total commitment” – A total commitment to attaining their objective energizes your soldiers.
- “Demand tough discipline” – With discipline, merely average soldiers can often defeat warriors of great renown.
- “Build a commando team” – Motivate team members to coordinate their efforts and inspire them to attain great heights working together.
- “Inspire others to follow your vision” – Develop a clear vision of what you plan to achieve. Lend power to your vision by sharing it with others in a way that motivates them to answer the challenge. Promote your vision. Live the vision in the way you conduct your life.
- “Accept full blame; give full credit” – Insist on accountability, expect high standards of performance, always be ready to give credit to others and never try to shift the blame when something goes amiss.
- “Take charge!” – Dominate every situation and get personally involved. Communicate with your soldiers to make sure they understand the mission and their role.
- “Reward effectively” – Reward others in a way that motivates them to perform. When you give out rewards do the following:
- Present the awards as soon after the positive action or result as possible.
- Consider monetary and nonmonetary rewards.
- Be specific about the activity, outcome or behavior that you are rewarding.
- Be even-handed. Let everyone know the criteria in advance, include as many people who made a significant contribution as possible and treat them equally.
- “Make the most of what you have” – Mold your team into the commando force you need to get the job done. Teach them teamwork and unity; create a group with strong morale and an enthusiastic attitude.
- “Never give up” – Be flexible and resourceful in achieving their goals, while being inflexible about the mission: it must be achieved no matter what.
- “Fight to Win” – In a commando organization, employees at every level know that their leader is fighting for nothing less than victory. Don’t cross ethical boundaries – find a way to win within the rules.
Former air commando William A. Cohen, Ph.D., Major General, USAFR, Ret., is an authority on leadership and strategy.
William A. Cohen, Ph.D. (Pasadena, CA) is an authority on leadership and strategy formulation and deployment. He gives speeches and seminars for the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, the Air War College, the FBI Academy, all four armed services, and corporations from Boeing to The Cheesecake Factory. He is the author of many books including The New Art of the Leader, The Wisdom of the Generals , and How to Make It Big as a Consultant.