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Begin Reading Early in Your Career as a JMO
One of the most frequent questions I am asked by Junior Military Officers who are early in their careers is, “What can I do now to keep my doors open?” What they are telling me is they don’t know whether they will stay in the military for a 20-30 year career or separate and apply their leadership in another career. They want to learn about business, but not at the risk of the important military duties in front of them. I love the proactive nature of the question. These are exactly the type of officers we love to bring into the Cameron-Brooks Development & Preparation Program©. Our program is specifucally designed to teach principles and practices that are effective in both business and military organizations.
I want to share an example with you from a Cameron-Brooks candidate currently serving as an Army Infantry Company Commander in Iraq. Matt Burch is an Army captain and has been a very active reader even while deployed. He has been reading with a mission of finding key points to make his unit more effective and efficient. The following comments are based on lessons he learned from reading books like Good to Great, by Jim Collins; The Goal, by Eliyahu Goldratt; and Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni. I think it is important to note that Matt is a liberal arts major who will likely beat out candidates with more relevant business degrees because he is working very hard to build his knowledge of current business principles and then applying them to improve his unit. Here is what he wrote to Alysha Metzger one of our Recruting Team Leaders:
“Interestingly enough, since I have been deep into the C-B reading list and was taking copious notes I have incorporated much of what I have learned into being a company commander. The initial counseling sessions for my platoon leaders and first sergeant went very well. It was like I put common sense into words and onto paper for them to understand. I have been in command for not even a full month yet and we have stopped calling this “My” company, or “My” platoon, but “Our” company and “Our” unit. We have our own separate Core values. We have established our Goal. We have identified what we can be the best at and set ourselves in that direction. In that small amount of time I have already had numerous people come up to me and tell me how much better the company looks. Alysha, we are truly going from good, to great! It’s so much fun. Thank you for letting me in on these little secrets. By the way, the lieutenants have a required reading list, a lot of the C-B books are on the top of the list!” (Printed with Matt Burch’s permission).
For additional reading suggestions, I encourage you to read Joel Junker’s blog post from March 12, 2009: