A Valuable Business Lesson From ARMY Ranger School

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A valuable business lesson from ARMY Ranger School. Some of the lessons taught at Army Ranger School suggest valuable leadership training for business.  My 28 year-old stepson was recently promoted to Captain in the U.S Army. He was also reassigned and today is one of the Army’s youngest general’s aids. This all happened just weeks before being shipped off to Afghanistan where he is serving his third deployment overseas. In 2008 he graduated from the Army’s premiere elite combat training experience, Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, in Columbus, GA., for the most extensive leadership training of his life. Most of us cannot imagine the physical and mental fortitude it takes to graduate Ranger school and wear the Ranger insignia. As an example, of 478 aspiring applicants that entered the program, only 71 graduated.

During his three months at Ranger School he was subjected to rigorous hand-to-hand combat training, mountain warfare lessons in the Georgia mountains and survival skills in the Florida swamps. As I sat at his Ranger School graduation I wondered which part of that exhaustive experience had the greatest impact on him. It wasn’t until a short time later, when no one else was around, that I asked him and, his answer, was quite startling.

He told me that one of the most impressive lessons of his training was learning the importance of putting your rank and title aside so leader/managers can be mentored by those with greater experience, (even though they might have a lower rank or lessor title). More importantly, they may possess more current or comprehensive knowledge to match the situation. He explained that, “in the Army, (as in business), there are too many competencies required for one person to always have enough information to make a wise decision or formulate a successful strategy. That is why it’s so important to know your people and their strengths. So, they can mentor you.” “Rank/title always retains the right to overrule,” he reminded me.

He also mentioned that following his retirement from the military he might like to teach or coach others in businesses and organizations. I asked him why. He said that he thought that the leadership training he received at Army Ranger School might be helpful in the development of  leaders in the private sector. He presumed that these same lessons were already part of the curriculum available at our nations business schools. I told him that he would make an excellent executive coach because most of our country’s business schools have no courses in leadership, like those he learned at Ranger School. He was pretty surprised to hear that and asked, “how in the world do they get by without that?”

About Alan

Alan Adler is an executive coach, speaker & author.

17. November 2010 by Alan
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