Special military operations contain lessons for special business operations.
“The workload is probably more difficult and significantly greater than in any other profession, military or otherwise, yet these special people volunteer, take immense risks, and willingly do the impossible.”
“Can commando techniques work in business? My research shows they can. If you can select, develop and motivate your employees to peak performance, they will accomplish dramatic, almost fantastic feats for you – just as fighting commandos do in uniform.”
“The notion that special ops leadership techniques can be indiscriminately applied to all business organizations is just as erroneous as attempting to apply them to all military organizations.”
Six basic principles are involved in executing special business operations. They are: “purpose, repetition, speed, surprise, security and simplicity.”
“To understand how to accomplish success with business commandos…first delve into the history of battle commandos and the theory of commando operations.”
Communicate the mission’s purpose clearly to your troops.
“Screen your candidates carefully. Fully interview only the best.”
Repetition is necessary in business, as well as in commando operations.
“The basis of all strategy is to concentrate superior resources at the decisive point. This is true in commando operations as it is in any other situation, on the battlefield, in the boardroom or in any competitive human endeavor.”
Speed, security and intelligence are essential in a competitive market. Make your business operations as simple as possible.
“In business, application of special operations principles means that a smaller firm with less financial resources can overcome a stronger competitor that may be already entrenched in the marketplace.”
Follow 14 strategies – from “recruit the best” to “be where the action is” – to deploy the lessons of commando operations in your business.
“Give them demanding and important jobs, and the results will blow you away.”
Since you’ll ask your special ops folks to go above and beyond, recruit the very best.
“Give them anything else and not only are you wasting your resources, but your commandos will soon disappear and go somewhere else.”
A special ops leader has to go where the action is. Head for the sound of gunfire and lead from the front.
“Once you’ve got your commandos ready, you can’t just throw away their talents on less-than-important tasks. They signed up to dare to do the impossible, and that’s what they want to do.”
The “Ready! Aim! Fire!” sequence is a good way to conceptualize the execution of your special business operations.
“Commandos don’t work as individuals. They perform as a team. Therefore, the time you devote to building your commando team and developing teamwork is well spent.”
“All leaders, especially special ops leaders, need to practice absolute integrity at all times.”
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.