The EDGE: Transitioning from the military to the business world

Posted by on Tuesday, September 26th, 2017 and is filed under .

By Karen Gregory
(Published in FLORIDA TODAY Sept. 25, 2017)

I was recently delivering a “Boots to the Boardroom” presentation about my leadership transition as a military leader to my current position as a President and CEO of my own consulting firm. It required that I reflect on my experiences in the military and how I have used that knowledge, skill and ability to run a successful business. As a woman serving in the military for 20 years, I’ve seen and learned remarkable things. But, perhaps the most important thing I’ve ever done is use all of the great knowledge, skills and abilities that I acquired over those years to benefit my career and my clients, today.

Regardless of veteran status, we as women have many experiences that translate to a solid leadership skillset in the workplace. I believe women are natural born leaders and if their skills are honed, will always rise to the occasion, if they so desire.

So what specific leadership abilities have I been able to convert from my experience as a military leader – and woman – to my present-day position?

Here are a few:

  • Adapt and Overcome: Being able to persevere through hard times and being flexible and agile when life throws a curve ball at you is a feat in and of itself. I had challenging times in the military. I have had challenging times as an executive. It’s what you make of those challenges that determine whether you will allow it to break you or make you.
  • Manage Conflict: Mental and physical toughness have allowed me to be resilient. I learned in the military to bounce back and I’ve continued to apply this as a civilian today. Also, incorporating physical fitness into my daily routine is critical to being able to successfully manage conflict and have the ability to de-stress. Working out actually enables me to be more successful. It’s amazing what a run, walk or a little bit of yoga can do for the mind, spirit and body. Try it. You might like it.
  • Build Teams: Like the military, I have a diverse team of employees. We all work together. We leverage what each of us brings to the table. We focus on our strengths so they overshadow our weaknesses. Any of our team members, including myself, will roll up our sleeves and pitch in to get the job done and ensure the team is successful.

I ask that you search your tool bag and discover what transferable knowledge, skills and abilities you’ve acquired over time that can successfully be applied to your life today. When called, what will you draw upon to take you to the next level? What do you already possess that might serve, inspire or propel you to rise to the occasion?

 

Karen Gregory, SPHR is president and CEO of HRSS Consulting Group in Merritt Island. Karen is also a mentor for weVENTURE’s IGNITE 360® Transition Business Mentoring Program.

Columnist series is sponsored by weVENTURE at the Florida Institute of Technology College of Business. weVENTURE has locations in Melbourne and Rockledge. The Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information, visit weventure.org or call 321-674-7007.

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