ASK ALAN: A Great Business Lesson From U.S. Army Ranger School
Attending Major school
My stepson is in the U.S. Army. He has served in the military for more than fifteen years. He is an Army Ranger and has served three battlefield deployments. He has been awarded a Bronze Star and recently completed attending Major School, in Ft. Leavenworth, KS, where he earned his Masters Degree and promoted to the rank of Major.
Awarded the Ranger insignia
In 2008 he was awarded the prestigious “Ranger” insignia! He received that upon graduating from Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, in Georgia. For those who may not know, Ranger School is the Army’s premiere leadership and combat training facility. It’s the most intensive training the U.S. military has to offer. Most of us cannot imagine the physical and mental fortitude it takes to successfully complete this school. Consider that, of 478 aspiring applicants entering the program, only 71 graduated.
What experiences from Ranger school had the greatest impact?
His months at Ranger School included rigorous combat training, mountain warfare lessons and being taught survival skills. When I attended his Ranger School graduation, I wondered which segment, of the thoroughly exhausting experience, had the greatest impact on him. So, later that day, when no one else was around, I asked him. His answer startled me. He told me that the most impressive aspect of his experience was learning the value of putting his rank and title aside. I naively asked him why he would consider doing that after working so hard to achieve his rank? He explained that, “in the army, (like running a business), there is too much information required to always make a good decision. There are just too many competencies required to survive. One person cannot have all the knowledge to match every situation that may arise.”
Moving rank and ego aside to be mentored by others
He went on to explain, “by moving my rank and ego to the side enables me to be mentored by others. Even though they may have a lesser rank or title. In Ranger School, they also taught us the value of learning about the strengths of the people reporting to us. Then, I can be coached with the knowledge I may need to match the circumstances.”
Leadership training is helpful in business
He reminded me that his rank allows him to overrule if need be. 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 nation’s business schools. I told him I believed that he would make an excellent executive coach. I added that most business schools don’t have courses in leadership. Especially like those they teach at Ranger School. He was surprised to hear that and asked, “how in the world do they get by without that?”
Alan Adler is an Executive Coach, Business Consultant & Speaker. He’s worked for Westinghouse Broadcasting, as a producer/director and with senior management at AT&T, as a corporate spokesperson. Additionally, Alan has been an entrepreneur, creating and growing his own business, Alan Adler & Associates. As a result, he knows management, media and marketing. Alan specializes in helping entrepreneurs through mid-sized businesses, improve profitability. He lives in Huntersville, NC with his wife Mindy. They have two grown children, two adorable grandchildren, and a rescue dog named Bentley.