At the end of every Cameron-Brooks Career Conference, we seek feedback from those military officers (soon-to-be business leaders) with whom we partner regarding their experience with Cameron-Brooks. One thing we ask, in particular, is for officers to define the aspects of the Cameron-Brooks Development and Preparation Program (DPP) that they found particularly valuable or helpful. Invariably a multitude of officers say the Cameron-Brooks Reading Program, so I wanted to take a moment to expound on why they say this.
Our Reading Program will educate you on business topics. The list of books on the list has evolved over the years. It is designed to be a robust compilation of business books that you can read to learn about many different facets of Corporate America. This is important because in the military, you are exposed to many different resources that allow you to be good at your current job, but you are not exposed to very many resources that will be a catalyst to helping you be better at your career after the military. Understandably, the organizational goals of the military are often in stark contrast to the organizational goals of the Corporate America – it is important to understand and appreciate those differences in order to give you a running start as you leave military service and begin your career in the business world.
Our Reading Program will provide concepts and ideas that will help you be a better military officer. Whether you are learning about continuous process improvement, relationship management, team building, problem solving or influencing people, leadership ideas and practices are ubiquitous throughout the pages of the books on the Reading Program. Committing to reading these books will simply make you a better officer and better leader. I have heard many stories of officers who use books from the program in their Officer or NCO Professional Development programs which have led to more effective and efficient units. Ultimately, the feedback from officers who committed to the Reading Program and put the concepts they learned into practice have unanimously said it made them better.
Our Reading Program will better prepare you for your transition. In a business interview, you will likely never get a question like, “Would you tell me what you learned from the seventh book on the Cameron-Brooks Reading Program?” The reading list is not designed to be a test and we do not ask you to read as if it were. I have, however, heard many comments from officers just completing a Career Conference saying books from the Reading List helped them communicate and translate their military experiences in their interviews. They said the Reading List helped them have better business communication skills because they were able to more effectively describe their military experiences in terms, concepts and ideas that not only a business person could comprehend, but also appreciate and connect with.
Simply put, the Cameron-Brooks Reading Program is designed to give you concepts, ideas and tips that you can use to be a more effective officer, business communicator (in an interview) and ultimately, business leader.
My encouragement is to make reading a priority – you will not regret it.
Pete Van Epps