Lessons from a Green Beret: In the military or in business, building relationships is the key

Posted On October 14, 2018

We often use military metaphors when describing other things. We might call a hard-fought football game a “war,” or refer to a tough sale as a “battle.” But is there anything that the military can teach us about how we do business?

Our guest in the latest episode of “What’s Working with Cam Marston” is uniquely qualified to answer that question. Brad Israel is a U.S. Army Green Beret and Afghanistan veteran who is now the Chief Leadership Officer of 68 Ventures, a real estate holding company based in Baldwin County.

Israel says there are several lessons he’s taken with him from the military into business, with the first having to do with dealing with subordinates: “Take care of the men and the men will take care of you.”

While the military operates on orders – senior officers issue them and the rank-and-file carry them out – Israel says that much like in running a business, it’s still important to create relationships with those working for you and build a level of trust.

“It starts by slowing down enough to connect, and you do that by engaging others,” he says. “A beautiful thing about the military is, you learn from remarkable leaders, and you also learn from some atrocious leaders, and you learn what you don’t want to be. That experience, when you put it into perspective, I’m also grateful for.”

Israel says a lack of trust is the biggest thing that surprised him when he entered the business world, and a lack of self-awareness in not only business but all walks of life may be the biggest roadblock to growth.

“I think there are so many people who walk through life and never really stop and try to gain any true understanding of self-awareness,” he says. “They use the cop-outs that you hear of: this is how I’ve always done it, or everybody needs to respond to me and adapt to me.”

Join us to learn about the tool Israel and his company use to improve self-awareness in their team, what he learned about fostering relationships in hostile villages in Afghanistan, and why constantly looking for ways to improve is important on both the battlefield and the boardroom.

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Podcast, What's Working with Cam Marston, Work, Workplace