Seven Business Lessons from the Military

If you are connected with  me on Facebook or Twitter,
you probably know that I recently saw my brother off as he deployed to
Afghanistan. A part of the weekend was spent at a deployment ceremony
for his unit, and the other part consisted of my asking a lot of
questions about what he does, what military life is like, etc.
Somewhere along the way, I was struck by the way things worked – and
how more civilian businesses could learn a lesson or two from these
government-run entities.

Here are seven takeaways of what I think more businesses could emulate from the military:

1) Respect – the military demands it and has little tolerance when it’s not in place. I think businesses could use more of this discipline. Demand it from your employees, provide it to your colleagues and boss, insist on it from your clients. If you don’t get it, ensure consequence to force change. It may be impossible to like everyone you work with, but you can – and should – show them respect.

2) Recognition – you’ve seen the uniforms and badges. It’s about recognizing, rewarding and promoting hard work. What “badges” do you give to your employees for a job well done? Make sure there are opportunities in place for employees to be recognized, rewarded and promoted.

3) Paying Dues/Earning Your Position – recognition doesn’t come without hard work. The military has very definitive goals and milestones laid out from position to position. There’s little question as to what needs to be accomplished in order to earn your pay grade and title. Employers – are you clearly communicating expectations and milestones? Employees – do you understand and respect the process? Ask questions if you don’t, and work hard to earn your dues – understanding that doing so means much  more than simply passing another anniversary with the company.

4) Why Hierarchy Works – The “everybody wins” mentality from grade school just doesn’t work in business. Hierarchies are in place for a reason – someone’s got to steer the ship and make the decisions. Don’t look at it as a negative, but embrace your role and respect others. And let it inspire you to do #3.

5) The Importance of Ceremony – marking not only accomplishments but rituals that honor the unit as a whole. I think we could use more “ceremony” in business – again, celebrating hard work and promoting successes. Ceremonies provide a sense of unity, accomplishment and pride. Whether it’s for a promotion, a new client or a goal accomplished, create something that can allow everyone to participate in the celebration.

6) The Value in Tradition – we’re always talking about the importance of innovation in business, but don’t forget the value in traditions. Do you have any in your business? Traditions can help connect the history of the company, create a strong sense of pride in its culture and even teach us a thing or two. It doesn’t mean you have to do things the “old way,” but rather that you aren’t opposed to learning from the past as well as planning for the future.

7) A Sense of Humor – while the military is serious and deals with serious issues, humor does abound. Punches upon promotion, the “responsibility” to buy a round of drinks, a running joke – all of which help form a stronger bond among comrades, a bit of stress relief and a sense of belonging (sensing some themes here?). Don’t you want your employees to feel loyal to your business? Do you want them to be happy and enjoy working for you? Do you want them to stay inspired and motivated? Then insist they have a little fun, too – both at the office and “on leave.”



Persuasive Picks for the week of 05/10/10

Making Time For Evolution
There are plenty of excuses for not integrating social media into your marketing strategy, but more often than not it comes down to resources or time. Amber Naslund from Radian6 urges readers to “harness their potential” and “embrace the unknown” in this motivational post.

The Metrics of Social Media
This post by Danny Brown expands on social media metrics and the importance of clearly identifying what you want to achieve, how long you want to spend achieving it and actually doing the measuring. He also suggests a variety of metrics to consider when getting started.

Social Media for Business (to Business)
Dave Evans from 2020Social provides several examples of how B2B organizations have adopted social media strategies into their organizations.

Taking the First Steps in Social Marketing
Gary Halliwell explains why tying social media profiles to your CRM records is a great first step in the right direction for getting started with Social Marketing.

5 Easy Ways to Drive Social Media Fans to Action
Building a large online community is great, but driving them to action is essential for the bottom line. Peter Wylie from SocialMediaExaminer shares these practical examples to help increase your community engagement.

Ladies’ Home Journal Features PerkettPR’s Own Heather Fraelick

If you’re a regular reader, you know that PerkettPR provides its employees with 40 paid community service hours per year, to spend on a cause of their choice.  We are proud of our employees’ efforts to help others and we want to support their desire to do so. Hiring people who care about others and have passions outside of work is a fundamental part of our culture.

Along those lines, you might have read this post from our own Account Supervisor, Heather Fraelick, about how she spends her hours – spreading the word about sun safety and skin cancer. Today, Ladies’ Home Journal featured Heather’s story in The Skin Cancer Guide – a three-part series – providing a “dermatologist-approved detection guide that just might save your life.”

Heather’s bravery and willingness to share her story to help others are just a few of the may reasons we’re proud to have her on our team.

Persuasive Picks for the week of 05/03/10

Social-media games: Badges or badgering?
CNET staff writer Caroline McCarthy expands on the growing popularity of “badge-based” achievements popping up on websites like The Huffington Post and applications like Foursquare as forms of incentive to interact.

Are your social media metrics diagnostic or objective?
Christopher S. Penn provides an entertaining and informative explanation of the difference between diagnostic and objective social media metrics. His post clearly shows the importance of knowing the difference.

How social media has changed executive roles
SFGate staff writer Benny Evangelista shares this brief interview with Charlene Li about the new wave of Open Leadership that is changing the way executives manage their leadership roles.

Sorry Guys: When It Comes to Your Audience, Size DOES Matter
Justin Kownacki hits the nail on the head with this fantastic post about the long winded debate between quantity versus quality when it comes to follower numbers on social networks. Read on for the secret to success.

Social media used to market Mother’s Day
USA Today’s Bruce Horovitz provides numerous examples of how brands are leveraging social media with targeted campaigns to attract your dollars when it comes to paying homage to Mom this Mother’s Day.

Photo Credit: Nerd Merit Badges

PerkettPR’s April MVP: Johanna Cappello

At the end of each month we give each PerkettPR employee the opportunity to call out and recognize their fellow colleagues by voting for them as our “Most Valuable Player.” Traditionally, we’ve only shared the honors and accolades amongst ourselves during our first internal meeting of the new month – but why not share it publically?

Each MVP is clear an example of the many top-notch, talented individuals we have at PerkettPR, and sharing the announcement here is a way for you to get to know them a little better. So without further ado, here is PerkettPR’s MVP for April 2010:

Johanna Cappello

JohannaCappelloWhat is your role at PerkettPR?
I am an Operation Assistant—I assistant the Account and Executive teams with research, coverage reports, or managing speaking/awards databases. Also I help with the PR for PerkettPR and more recently have spearheaded a few client driven design projects.

How long have you been with the company?
Over 2 years.

What do you like best about your job?
The variety—each day is different. The work is always fresh, and I love being part of such a motivating, inspiring team—who are continuously pushing me to work harder.

Who inspires you?
Boma (my grandmother) and my Mom—independent, passionate, resilient women.

How do you inspire others?
I am an eternal optimist— and in moments of adversity have used my ambition, my motivation, of course, my optimism to rise above.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
Writing. Cooking. And beach-ing.

What did you want to be when you were little?
Singer on Broadway

How do you stay motivated?
I surround myself with positive, honest, and inspirational people. Also, I love reading and considerate myself a lifelong student. Learning more (and more) is continuously fueling my motivation.

What’s your favorite quote?
“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth: not going all the way and not starting.” (Budda)

How did you go above and beyond to win this month’s MVP?
I worked diligently on a client project involving designing numerous materials, coordinating estimates, and delivery for a client product launch at a conference.

Editor’s note: Johanna is being modest here. In every company, there are people who stick to their To Do list and then there are employees who proactively go above and beyond. Johanna has some talents that she isn’t required to apply in her every day job. However, when she saw a need for these talents, she proactively stepped up and stepped in – surprising us all by unveiling additional strengths that we weren’t aware of, and working above and beyond what she’s required to do in her current position. Not only did she provide some new ideas and content, but she showed managers her ability to grow in a way we hadn’t thought of before in regards to her future here at PPR. Today, she’s MVP, but she also carved out a new path for her career here – one that will benefit our clients from both the PR and content creation and design perspective – and benefit her by allowing her to do what she loves. Johanna is a great example of how stepping up and stepping in can benefit both your employer and you!

Connect with Johanna on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.