Another thing the military is very, very good at is cultivating a team environment with due concern for the individual.
Part of the boot camp experience is stressing the importance of teamwork and accountability. When people behave contrary to the team mindset, they are quickly corrected. In fact, acting like an “individual” can bring significant, unwanted attention. With that said…
When an individual is in trouble and needs help, the team comes to the rescue. No one is left behind. So individual care and concern is very much there.
It may surprise many to learn that people’s ultimate loyalties are to each other, and to the team. It’s not necessarily to the unit, the greater organization, or even the nation. It is often said that people don’t die for their country, they die for each other. In my experience, I have largely found this to be true.
Of course, in business, we don’t expect people to “die” for the business or even each other. But there is something to be said for cultivating a team environment so strong that people will go above and beyond normal human behavior for the benefit of the team, and each other.
In fact, the team mindset is so strong in the military that when service members leave and enter the civilian world, they have trouble in interviews. Interviewers ask questions like “what did you do in your last job?” Answers veterans give are often “we did this or that.” It goes against their team mindset to say “I.” Civilian interviewers then wrongly believe that their role was not significant because he or she said “we” instead of “I.” As a result, veterans often find difficulty getting hired because of this stark difference in mindset. Veterans possess a very strong team mindset that doesn’t go away when they take off the uniform. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t understand this, and don’t understand the many benefits of this mindset.
Businesses would benefit tremendously to cultivate a team environment. In the modern world dominated by “I”, businesses might think this is impossible to do. It’s not. In fact, many people crave to be part of a strong, highly functioning team. It may as well be a team in your business.