WAR IS MY BUSINESS
Bridging The Civil-Military Divide
Bridging The Civil-Military Divide
There is a saying that has become attributed to many people, in many different forms, but goes like this:
The more you know, the more you don’t know.
The meaning behind this is that the pursuit of knowledge can feel like a never-ending journey. That, in the effort to answer the world's questions, we learn that there is an even greater depth that we only then realize we didn't fathom. Just like the mythical hydra when one of its heads are severed, for every question that we answer, more questions take its place. But there is a finite amount of knowledge to be had for any particular subject, and through time and effort, amateurs become experts who can then become masters.
These experts and masters, however, are merely the most skilled practitioners of the ways and means of their particular endeavors. Just because someone is an expert in one area doesn’t necessarily make them better in all others. If you are familiar with the “argument from authority” fallacy, you know this to be the case. Through their efforts, however, they have gained the conceptual knowledge and ability to influence those around them to achieve great ends in their own domain that we are able to study about today. But are the ways and means of Henry Ford, Peter Drucker, and Ohno Taiichi really that different from Carl von Clausewitz, Sun-Tzu, and King Shaka? Can a small business owner learn from George Washington and Jiang Ziya? Can a C-level executive surrogate the strategies of Schwarzkopf and Bruchmuller?
In a universe where all things are related based on a Theory of Everything, all that limits you from comparing and contrasting the courses of actions of different endeavors is your ability to break them down to their fundamental aspects and change out variables without fundamentally impacting the formula that made them successful. To achieve this, it would behoove you to find appropriate surrogates. Ones that have the most in common in regards to challenges and capabilities. Ones whose variables are fundamentally similar yet may appear to be leagues apart to the untrained eye. This is the presupposition of War Is My Business, that you can effectively use the study of military thought, and use it for private business purposes. Before we continue though, let's wrap up everything we have discussed so far. A summation of the science that forms the foundation of our discussions. Using a Socratic style of answering questions, birthed from other questions, we will start with our premise: the science, study, and application of military principles and tenets for use in business.
Why would businesses want to study military principles and tenets?
The reason for this is because all businesses need to adapt their business plans and operations based on market factors and the nature of their industries. It is the same for an army, a fleet, and even single combatants, that they must adapt their operations and posture to the realities of their operational area. Military history and theory provide thousands of years of examples of numerous military organizations studying and applying principles and tenets to be tested on the field of battle, where only the best survive to be written down in the annals. There is much to learn from both successes and failures.
Why study the principles and tenets of military organizations of the past as opposed to more modern businesses?
Indeed, if a business had no existing structure or operational processes, then a book about management by Peter Drucker, or one on lean manufacturing by Ohno Taiichi would do you well. Finding the most relevant examples that you could mirror would do you better than studying modern principles of war or the martial tenets of ancient Chinese strategists. But do remember that your competition has likely read the same books, or at the very least studied organizational management and operations processes inspired by them.
We know that differentiation is critical, not only in the goods and services we provide to customers, but in how we run our businesses. Having more effective manufacturing processes, better opportunities for career advancement, or increased throughput for your logistics can mean a stronger, resilient, and flexible company. A company that can adapt to changes in the environment, and provides greater value to customers. Some of this undoubtedly comes from technological advancements, while others require merely looking at existing ways and means with a new set of eyes. To look outside the box that is traditional business theory for new inspiration that may already exist in other sectors. War Is My Business is about studying military principles and tenets to find that inspiration. Entrepreneurs and C-Level executives are already doing this. We are merely putting all of it to a process.
How can you take principles and tenets from the military sector, and bring them into the business sector?
There is a basic foundation for all human endeavors, and that is the nature to which any individual or group undertakes an action. That is to influence other humans, and their environments, for their benefit. Warfare and business are alike as both seek to use their means in order to shape their environments and their targeted audiences in specific ways. Think about it. For a business, what is their ultimate desired end state? Generally speaking, it is to maximize profit and maintain it for the long-term by gaining clients and customers and retaining them. How about the desired end state for a military? It is nested with securing the strategic and national objectives of their people by influencing others via force. Both the business and the military influence their environments, and the people that live in them, to achieve their objectives.
Instead of looking at the difference between modern business and military organizations, we’ll see how they are similar. We focus so heavily on the means they use that we fail to see the similarities in the ways they use them, and the ways they build, maintain, and expand their size and scope. Let's take a look:
Doctrine: Both utilize not only underlying theories for how and why they do what they do, but also routine schedules and procedures that ensure operations run smoothly. The bigger the organization the more essential routines are to keeping them functioning effectively. They have suspense dates and times in which they have to report information up the chain so that superiors can act on current data. Even small businesses that only report to themselves have their own routines: when to conduct inventories, restock shelves, depositing money in the bank, etc. Without these types of processes that dictate what work gets done and when, organizations may either fail in their short-term performance or their long-term objectives. The more successful a process and the more principled it may seem, may result in that process being codified as doctrine.
Organization: Both require diverse staffs to handle the different functions that make their organizations successful. Every activity in the military isn't just about destroying the enemy, just as everyone in a business isn't just about making a sale. The modern military organizations have their own staffs that support the various needs of the force: personnel, intelligence, operations, logistics, planning, communications, finance, and public relations all have their own staff primaries that function the same as comparable C-Level executives. The ultimate end of a process within with military may be the destruction of an enemy, just as the ultimate end of a process within a business might be a sale, but the bulk of the work of both is in allowing that end to manifest, not necessarily in executing the end itself.
Training: Both require their personnel trained to execute their assigned duties, as well as trained to work alongside their teammates in the execution of their processes. It's one thing to perform a specific task to a satisfactory level. It is an entirely different thing to execute it amongst a process where numerous variables and competing priorities can distract you. Training the process is as important as training the individual tasks that make it up. Additionally, in more complex organizations, there is a requirement to cross-train personnel in the duties of other team members, as well as training in the functions of superiors. This is to ensure that the organization has enough personnel to execute its assigned tasks when some are unable to continue the mission.
For a military organization, failing to cross-train can open up critical vulnerabilities as personnel are killed or incapacitated. Imagine that the radio operator is the only one that knows how to work that radio and is killed, how dangerous that would be to the rest. As casualties mount, the vulnerabilities get worse, if not fatal to the unit. If superiors are taken out of the fight, their subordinates need to step up to assume those leadership duties immediately. For a business, such a vulnerability is not as devastating, but it can still have a critical impact on its performance. From an accident, family emergency, or illness, it would be problematic if the only person who knew how to work your register, compiled your metrics, or managed your vendors were gone.
Material: Both require tools and supplies to accomplish their tasks, from the equipment that allows their processes to function to the goods and services they provide. Personnel need to be clothed appropriately, given subsistence, and the tools of their specific profession to accomplish their assigned tasks. A bare-handed, naked, and emaciated human is of no use to any organization, and these organizations have to plan to sustain these materiel requirements throughout their operations. Supplies may run short, equipment may break, clothing may become tattered, and failing to maintain these logistical requirements will kill off an organization as much as anything else.
Leadership and Education: Both need leaders with a structured chain of command and responsibility in order to execute priorities, and when necessary, alter those processes when environmental conditions require. They also provide purpose and direction to their organizations so as to unify the efforts of their personnel in working towards objectives. The discussion of leadership amongst military and business is more than just having people fill positions in leadership, but the educational apparatuses so that you can grow them from within.
For businesses, growing leaders to fill those positions may not be the only option, as it is within the military, since you could purposely hire candidates that possess those traits and skills. The modern military, however, must shape them at every phase of their careers in order to ensure they fill the ranks with component leaders. For example, on average, it takes 25 years for a junior officer to become a general officer; if all the stars align for them in their careers. So if by 2020 the United States found itself in need of more general and flag officers the professional military education systems would have to have been providing exemplary education since they were second lieutenants and ensigns back in 1995. They can't simply put out a job opening on job boards and hire senior officers amongst the population as many have done in the past; modern military requirements are just too complex to support it.
Personnel: Both need people, but that is a given. When we look at how businesses and military attempt to acquire the right personnel to meet their needs, they go to venues in which their target demographics may frequent. The positions of the least skilled prospects may have the most openings that need to be filled. For the military, it will send its recruits to establish booths at high schools and conventions where they seek to enlist the services of young adults, with at least a high school level of education, to the enlisted ranks of the armed services. For businesses, entry-level positions are usually posted on their websites or job boards for crowds of people to apply. Both will have incentives to entice. Both will screen out those unqualified, and those that are accepted and sign the contract will be further trained to have a baseline knowledge of those duties before jumping straight in.
For those positions requiring more specialized knowledge and greater leadership responsibilities, they utilize different means to acquire people for these positions. Both will have internal processes for developing leaders within. Similarly, they may engage other venues with more significant requirements. For the military, filling its ranks of non-commissioned officers and warrant officers it will promote and develop its enlisted ranks, but for its officers, it branches out to colleges, universities, and academies, since those ranks require a minimum of an undergraduate level of education. For businesses, other than only posting the job with more stringent requisites, they may send out headhunters to poach skilled personnel from other companies. This is especially prevalent in the case for C-Level positions. Regardless, even though many aspects of war and business are digital and automated, they still require people to both facilitate the operations processes of the organization and lead them to meet objectives.
Facilities: Both need facilities to conduct their operations and support all the other elements previously discussed here. While facilities generally refer to physical buildings, it can also account for land and digital space on a server. You need places, both classroom and field, physical and digital in order to execute your organization's tasks. Educating new personnel, staff workplaces, storing materiel and housing equipment, as well as tracking current operations, and developing plans require somewhere to do it. For military operations, much of it is managed digitally though it does also have physical mechanisms for command and control for redundancy; in case digital systems fail. For business, most have a digital storefront to conduct business, alongside physical ones, and some, like Amazon, are entirely digital. What an organization needs and what produces the best results will usually dictate what facilities are required.
DOTMLPF: All the previous requirements that are in common between businesses and military may look familiar to those with operational-level knowledge of the U.S. Armed Forces and some partner nations. They cover the components necessary to meet the objectives and challenges that the Joint Force faces now and expects to face in the future. All together, they make up DOTMLPF (pronounced Dot-Mil-Pee-Eff). To rehash the acronym stands for:
- Leadership and Education
This covers all the areas that make up the structure and capacity of military organizations.
For example, a new Soldier is trained to doctrine based on quality assured educational system at an initial training facility. Afterwards, they assume a specific duty position within an organization that has an established and competent chain of command. They are assigned a weapon, given uniforms, and fed. This short example covers some aspect of all seven components of DOTMLPF.
From what has been discussed, it should be apparent that businesses and militaries have commonality. DOTMLPF is an excellent tool for analyzing the capabilities of not only military organizations, but companies as well since we haven't been able to identify some aspect of business that isn't covered by it. As a result, DOTMLPF will be a tool War Is My Business uses for analysis and surrogation when we dig into our military studies. If by chance this doesn't show that, yes you can, "take principles and tenets from the military sector, and bring them into the business sector," as the question inquired initially, then at this point, we would like to hear your argument to the contrary.
If business and military organizations have so many similarities, why are they treated so differently?
The reason for this is because humans are both adept at, and compelled to, categorize everything we perceive. We identify the immediate characteristics of things that we witness, and begin to place them into associated categories according to those characteristics. Even if beneath some of the surface attributes that we first see there are substantial similarities, it is difficult to look past them as it can take time and critical thought to do so. Humans rarely have the luxury of time to ponder the nature of everything, and therefore, we generalize everything. Knowing that all human endeavors seek to influence humans and their environment for their benefit, one significant difference that we use is the unique ways and means in which we influence.
When people think of warfare and conflict, then generally they imagine the violence aspects of it. Violence and the threat of violence, that act of killing or imposing harm on others, is the primary way in which militaries influence. The material that allows them to impose this influence, the means of conflict: weapons, munitions, vehicles, and warfighters, coupled with the violence they can inflict, are natural characteristics that can be quickly discerned and categorized.
When people think of business, they imagine the sale, the money, the means and scale of production. They think of a sharp and savvy salesperson working angles, department heads leading working groups, and long lines to buy the newest game or gadget. If capital is flowing, if deals are being struck, if managers speak of profit, and products roll along assembly lines, then we can see this as business or something similar.
From this, though business may appear different from warfare on the surface, most of the necessary tasks that allow them to function have similar processes. This is because humans seek to influence other humans and the environment, and though ways and means are different, that desired end state is the same: influence, which requires a similar process to occur amongst all endeavors that seek this end.
Leadership and Education
All human beings seeking to influence other human beings, and shape their environments, for their benefit. Civilian business and military operations may appear different at first glance, but beneath the surface of ways and means, you will find they are quite similar.
What benefit is there for humanity to generalize like this?
The primary benefit that generalizing has provided is it allows us to compensate for a significant weakness in the brains of lifeforms: limited neural capacity. Our neural networks are not only us, both physically and philosophically, but through evolution has become very adept at ensuring its survival. It can take in and process numerous sources of sensory information from the environment and respond accordingly. It is flexible and adaptable, but it is still limited. We have a limited number of neurons, around 100 billion, and many of them are dedicated to merely receiving sensory data. While our brains can process information quickly, this is because much of the complexity is simplified by categorizing that raw information.
Imagine your brain is executing processes many times a second. It takes the information it has received and acts according to what neurons were activated before others. By stereotyping the meaning behind the information we receive, these processes are executed faster since the brain isn't trying to calculate a response from the tens of billions of neurons involved in each experience. To use a political analogy, our brains act much like a democratic republic instead of a pure democracy. Each neuron doesn't vote on which action to take, but they do impact the vote of those that do through their activations. Those other neurons that are involved in the execution of actions are fewer in number, and therefore easier to quickly process and act. It isn't a perfect analogy, but hopefully the gist is understood. To make us faster in responding to our environment, our brains decide based on specific neurons that get activated, or not, from the information they receive from other areas of the brain.
Being able to react quickly to threats and take advantage of opportunities can be a life and death affair for a warfighter. This is why they continuously train to assess new and varied situations during exercises so that they learn how to react, or which responses produce the best results, immediately. The more they experience similar events producing similar results, the more their brain will begin to recognize the patterns amongst the noise.
A convoy traveling in an environment where adversaries are known for using roadside bombs may begin to stereotype every stack of tires, pile of garbage, area of disturbed dirt, and animal carcasses as a potential hidden explosive. It has happened that on occasion, during the Global War on Terror (GWOT), that insurgents began using this tactic to halt convoys at suspicious objects on the side of the road as a means to control their movement. They would then use this opportunity to ambush the convoy or get them to stop alongside better-concealed explosives. As a result, by generalizing one potential threat, the convoy would inadvertently risk putting itself in danger of another. So they would, in turn, begin to prepare for this situation. Then every potential roadside bomb became a possible ambush as well.
You see similar forms of generalization occur in business, but obviously not as deadly. We have stated before that an essential element of a business is differentiation, providing a tailored and unique product, service, and experience to a specific type of customer. You have differentiated what you offer, and therefore you must differentiate the general populous into those that would most likely buy what you are selling and everyone else. You have limited time and budget to dedicate so you must ensure you don't waste it on people that will never be your customers. So we must stereotype how our target audience dresses, where they work, what they like, etc. Will some potential clients not fit these stereotypes? Of course, some will not fall in line with your preconceived notions, but this isn't about getting all the clients. It is about return on investment for your time and capital. Your brain allows you to make these generalizations about people, and makes you a more competent judge about who you should engage and influence. Though stereotyping can have negative aspects, generalizations are very much an essential aspect of our brain's information processing system and makes you quicker and efficient at most of the things you do. So we must take advantage of it, and avoid harmful pitfalls, becoming experts in our tasks.
How can making generalizations about our experiences make us experts?
Firstly, as mentioned, the generalization about the stimuli you are experiencing allows you to act faster by reducing variables your brain needs to process. Most of the remaining stimuli are filtered out as noise. The second part is where experts are developed, and that is the more that neurons are activated together the stronger their connections become. From Professor Sam Wang,
“Neurons that have fired together because of an experience are more likely to activate together during recall of the same experience. In other words, cells that fire together wire together.”
It is the fundamental mechanism of the saying "practice makes perfect." Every possible action you can take have associated neurons that fire to execute that action, and any variation in neuronal firing produces different actions. So as we experienced an event, we react quickly based on perceived stimuli and tested and proven responses we have experienced.
Imagine anything you have done the first time, and how unsure you may have been. Over time you get used to it, having perfected your processes, and your results have improved with less effort. You got used to it because your brain figured out and activated only the neurons needed to achieve the desired results instead of partial activations of many more to see what might work. You don't know what generalization to make and which subsequent actions to take until your brain was trained to do so.
For the processes of military and business organizations, they too must be trained. A process that culminates in the desired result needs all the individual elements of that process to function. If these are individual personnel, they must train many times to become proficient in their tasks. They also need to understand how their contributions impact the process so that they can adjust to the performance of others.
If a military offensive can't be supported by its logistical apparatuses; such as lack of transportation, munitions, or fuel, then the combat power of that organization is put at risk when it is overextended. Similarly, if marketing and sales are performing to a greater extent than the capacity of their production and service departments can support, then you risk frustrating and losing customer and clients to competitors. Regardless of the organization, everyone must train to assess, train to their tasks, and train to variables. Individuals need to prepare for many possibilities, and their brains will make them experts in their duties. If someone in a process is an amateur though, until they are trained others will have to compensate to ensure the process produces the desired results.
How did humanity develop the capability to generalize and react quickly?
When we question why some things are the way they are the answer is fundamentally covered within the Theory of Everything. Meaning that if you understand the science behind the theory, then you just need to work up from the fundamental laws of the universe and you will find that answer. Within the Theory of Everything, we have the most complex chemical system we know, life, and the scientific theory for how it changes over time, evolution. The thing about reacting based on generalizations is that it is not a capability solely developed in the brains of homo sapiens, but to some degree exists in all animals. This means that this evolutionary step evolved in our common ancestors long before mammals came to be. Receiving stimuli from the environment, making a generalization, and acting accordingly, is seen almost everywhere within the animal kingdom. This is because the more complex the brain, or neural networks, the more it may need to rely on generalizations to keep it surviving.
How many wild animals can you imagine that will scurry away from you when you approach even though you have no intention to harm them? Birds will fly away, fish will swim away, and even domesticated animals that are feral may try to hide. An animal in danger may lash out at its human rescuers. A parent whose den or nest is nearby may attack any potential nearby threat. Animals generalize in a way that ensures the likelihood of their survival, and in no way does nature give advantage to creatures who provide the benefit of the doubt in the long-term. Regardless of some animals intention, if you don't know what they will do it is safer to stereotype everything as a threat. That is a fundamental reason we have militaries.
Some animals have gotten used to humans to such an extent that they see them as a potential boon instead of a potential threat. Regardless of the human's intention, they generalize all humans as a source of food. As humans enter their line of sight, they begin to flock to them looking for handouts. Between the animals that flee and those that flock to humans, they are both making generalizations. For the later, experiences with humans have been good, and for the prior, experiences have either been bad or lacking so much that they err on the side of caution and avoid us altogether. Imagine the times that you didn't do something because it may have an adverse outcome, or times you thought it would all pan out well and it didn't. Animals do the same thing as it is an important evolutionary step for creatures to secure opportunities and avoid risk.
If a Theory of Everything encompasses all things that exist in our universe, how do you get from the fundamental laws of the cosmos to warfare and business?
The answer to this final question will basically condense the content of every other section of the science of War Is My Business. So here we go!
While a Grand Unified Theory will encompass all the laws governing the cosmos, there are still pieces missing. What the scientific community does know is that it will incorporate the four fundamental forces; electromagnetism, gravity, the strong, and the weak nuclear forces, as well as the Higgs field. From these, you have the laws that govern all interactions amongst matter at the level of fermions and bosons. It creates the entirety of the periodic table of elements, as well as spacetime which is known to us through the theories of special and general relativity.
The fundamental forces, when their interactions combine, produce the complex applications that build the universe in which we exist. The forces create planets, stars, star systems, and galaxies. Elements are bound together to form chemicals with various attributes and characteristics. Energy is exchanged in varied ways according to the laws of thermodynamics.
With the workings of chemical binding and thermodynamics, the next level of complex chemical systems, called "life," is created. Life itself changes over time under the constant life and death crucible of evolution. Significant elements of evolution include the ability to not only replicate itself, but to perceive the nature of their environments through sensory systems, and act according to that information; though it may be limited.
One such species that had come to dominate our planet barely survived itself, and its descendants, though numerous, are not genetically diverse as a result. These homo sapiens, humans, developed very powerful brains, especially in the executive functions of their prefrontal cortex, allowing them to apply more critical thought than others. They have the capacity, just like other animals, to perceive and generalize their environments and act accordingly. Equally important, they are incredibly social creatures, creating societies with unique features based on norms they have established through shared and taught experiences. Because of their strong social tendencies, they desire to influence one another, and their environments, in varied ways, with each approach having its own risks and advantages. To perfect their performance in shaping the world around them, they develop processes based around principles and tenets that produce desired results, and train their brains to act quickly and effectively in support of these processes.
Because of the unique characteristics in their means and ways, and a desire to react quickly, they generalize and differentiate between those processes based on their unique characteristics. When the processes involve means and ways that employ violence as an influencing mechanism, then they may call it "war" or "conflict." When the processes involve means and ways that employ the exchange of goods and services for capital, then they may call it "business" or “commerce.” Regardless of what it is called, the result always involves influencing humans, and their environments, for the benefit of the influencer. Therefore the principles and tenets that made one process effective in warfare could be applied to a business process if you can compensate for those unique elements that differentiate them. This is the justification for the study of military theory, history, and leaders, and using it as inspiration for the development of business plans and processes.
A Hypothetical Example
On a closing note, I want to emphasize the commonality between military and business organizations, and the inherent value that veterans can have within the workforce. I am going to describe an organization. Try to figure out whether it is business or military.
- This organization contains a large number of employees whose job it is to meet the organization's mission statement, but does outsource some non-essential tasks to salaried and waged contractors for specialized positions and custodial work. They have special staff that handles human resources, ensuring people get their pay, fill important duty positions within the organization, managing personnel vacation, sick, maternity and paternity leave days, and that everyone gets their mandated periodic evaluations from their supervisors.
- This organization has personnel that gathers information about the environment, metrics on themselves and competitors, and whose systems are there to feed up to date information for decision-makers regularly. Executives rely on their assessments, and there isn't an operation or planning meeting that they aren't apart of providing their expertise.
- This organization has staff dedicated to the daily operations of the organization and may be considered to be the largest of the teams due to the sheer amount of coordination they have to manage. Not only do they coordinate the capabilities of all the different staff sections, but also requesting and synchronizing those of external and subordinate organizations so that the combined effort of the whole meets the organization's mission.
- This organization has staff that ensures the organization's materiel needs are met. They keep the offices stocked with supplies and work with contracted companies that service things like office printers and portables latrines with handwashing stations for personnel on site. Requests for additional supplies and equipment from other staff and sub-organizations are pushed through this section for requisition. They plan and execute the movement and delivery of fuel and material in support of major tasks and projects.
- This organization has a staff section, usually part of their operations section, whose specific task is to plan for future operations. The intent of this is to develop a viable plan that meets future objectives before execution, as well as coordinate for resources and support that they can't meet internally. The other staff sections will have their subject matter experts vet the plan to ensure it is executable, and make their own coordination with others if necessary. If good to go, their plan will eventually be executed by operations when the time comes.
- This organization has staff dedicated to information technology. They ensure lines of communication are quickly established and maintained where needed, and that their network of digital systems that the organization relies on to accomplish its tasks are talking to each other. If there is ever a communication or computer network issue, they are tasked to correct it, often through the use of a trouble ticket system.
- This organization has staff focused on monitoring and advising the executives on the current and forecasted budget. They track overall expenditure in office supplies, equipment requisitioning and maintenance, vehicle maintenance and fueling, etc.
- This organization has personnel dedicated to focusing on engagement with the public. Their public relations activities involve social media engagements, partnerships in volunteerism in the local community, engagements with VIPs, and any activity that could be considered reputation building.
- This organization, finally, has sub-organizations that report to them and that they monitor, as well as a higher-level organization in which they report to and from which they receive objectives to accomplish. When they receive a major objective to achieve, they, in turn, break it down and assign tasks to their subordinate organizations so that the combined effort of this whole meets the original objective they were assigned.
So, for the previously mentioned organizational structure with associated tasks, it may have been challenging to identify which type of organization it was. It only discussed how the organization was structured, and didn't mention the specifics of its assigned objectives. That being the reason for why they exist in the first place, to achieve objectives using unique ways and means that aren’t necessarily employed by others. Which fundamentally show that regardless of the reason why they are established, or how they achieve their objective, that military and business organizations are structured very similarly.
In reality, those points mentioned are not only found in a military organization; from battalions of about 500 personnel on up to the national level, but also with large companies and firms that employ similar numbers of staff and have extensive networks of facilities and operate with large areas of responsibility. Fast-food franchises, hotel chains, retailers, suppliers and manufacturers, and any business that handles hundreds of personnel will follow a similar structure to manage it all. For much smaller organizations, they will still have these tasks to accomplish to some degree, but won't have or need groups of individuals on staffs assigned to each one. Individuals may even be assigned multiple functions if the workload is manageable; such as the person handling communications being tasked with also taking over public relations and personnel recruiting activities, since they can all be executed on the organization's digital network. We speak from personal experience on that.
We bring all this up in order to not only show that the organizational requirement between military and business is similar, but that the tasks that individual personnel are assigned are just as related. Throughout their careers, servicemembers will hold numerous positions in varied locales. For the U.S. Armed Forces at least, it will send its members to a multitude of bases and ports within the country, as well as installations and embassies overseas. Not only must they learn their tasks, just as personnel in businesses do, but they have to learn to adjust their contribution into processes that have been shaped by local laws and cultures faced by their units.
They begin in junior positions when they first enlist or receive their commission, and they are molded and mentored by supervisors that will prepare them for future advancement. Just when they begin to become comfortable in their duties, and may already have the opportunity for promotion, they may be assigned to fill another duty position in which they will have to learn new processes and how they personally fit into them. Taking on new duties, new projects and assignments, with increasing levels of responsibility mean that servicemembers are trained to operate effectively in unfamiliar environments, and always to be flexible.
Coupled with the team-focused and results-based attitude, which is required for an effective military organization, when they transition into the civilian workforce, they bring this mentality and their ingrained military values with them. When you employ a veteran into your workforce, their supervisors will have to teach them the company's processes, and how they contribute to them. However, this is true of all new hires coming in from outside the company, and even internal shifting of employees to fill gaps. All things being equal, they are as capable as any other potential employee in the same technical area; human resources, logistics, information technology, etc., but they have that added capability of working in unfamiliar situations with limited information, and still achieve results, thanks to years of military service providing that opportunity. The longer they served the more confident they are in their ability to adapt quickly to new situations. They may not know how to excel initially, as does everyone, but do know that they will excel once they learn those processes since they have gone through this many times over.
Let's Begin Talking About Warfare and Single-Combat
Let's Begin Talking About Warfare and Single-Combat
This marks our transition from the discussing the science of War Is My Business to the actual study of military and martial leaders, battles, and the analysis of theory to find principles and tenets that you can apply to business plans and operational processes. Some analysis may seem redundant, but that shows that those underlying theories are more apt to be accurate. Just like the study of successful businesses and ventures may have repeating variables and results that cement their arguments as well. The same lessons may be learned in different ways, yet still be interesting to delve into.
We will occasionally harken back to certain scientific elements we previously discussed, and with that justify some of the connections we are going to make. It is easy to make connections, people do it all the time, but to defend the reason why they work, on a fundamental level, is something we wanted to do from the very beginning. That is why War Is My Business has a significant portion of its study dedicated to only showcasing the science behind how war and business are related, or at the very least how we perceive it to be so. We seek to avoid the fallacy of a weak or faulty analogy by breaking our comparisons down to fundamentally common elements that are shared between them, such as; at the very least, how humans seek to influence other humans, and their environments, for their benefit.
From ancient times to the contemporary, amongst all cultures on all continents capable of carrying humans, as individuals and as groups, humanity has known both conflict and commerce is its many modes. Lessons taught in ancient Chinese military annals and tomes can inspire practical and useful change in modern Western businesses as long as you know how to surrogate them properly. The study of manuals of arms written by skilled practitioners of single combat can yield practical guidance for individuals seeking an edge against others in debate and boardrooms. Not all military organizations are the same, just as not all business organizations are the same, and as a result, you may not be able to effectively surrogate the study of individual military leaders and battles since they may not be as practical as others. In a battle between equally capable forces, the lessons learned will have a lesser value if you happen to be managing a smaller business competing against giants. For every connection we make, War Is My Business will provide apt comparisons that real companies can utilize.
We hope you enjoy delving into the rich tapestry of human conflict as we take its lessons as inspiration for business development. But enough dawdling, let’s begin!
The Human Domain