I have been fortunate enough to have worked alongside the finest soldiers in the world. Only in training mind you, I could never hope to even pass the first stage of their recruitment let alone the tough selection process.
Here's what they taught me which I find valuable in business;
- Be ready - Always be ready for anything and everything. Know your product/service well and if you are asked to do something that is outside of your scope try to accommodate the request.
- Be reliable - This flows from the first point, be consistent in your delivery and always say yes. Be the first person that others turn to when they need something.
- Be relevant - There is always a solution to every problem and it is about finding the solution without going off on a tangent. 'Stay the course'.
- Train - You can't do any of the first three points if you aren't competent at what you do. You must train yourself and your staff to strengthen weak areas so that the service you provide is exceptional.
- Equipment - The first thing a soldier does when he finishes work is to ensure his equipment is serviceable, ready to use immediately if necessary. Ensure that yours is the same.
- Appearance - Be professional in appearance and demeanour at all times. This includes physically and mentally.
- Collegiality - Look to your colleagues for help and support when you need it and be prepared to go the extra distance to help others.
- Truthful - A soldier will be truthful. They aren't afraid of what others might think of them because they believe in what they are doing.
- Be humble - Humility is a powerful thing. Don't say something unless it needs to be said and then say it tactfully when you have to say it.
- Fear - Soldiers are human and have the same emotions as you and I but they learn to manage their emotions so that they continue on when times get tough. They push through the hard times knowing that if they fight hard enough they will always win.
As Sir Winston Churchill once said - "If you are going through hell, keep going." (As someone who suffered from depression, who better to listen to than him).