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The complex challenge of reintegrating our military veterans, i.e., “heroes”, defined as “people admired for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities”, back into the civilian workforce has persisted since Caesar Augustus in 13 BC! Therefore, it’s time to solve this problem, and First Principles Thinking is a time-tested problem-solving technique used by brilliant minds such as Aristotle, Alexander, Tesla, Boyd, Edison, and Musk. Doing so strengthens our project teams and delivery rates, organizations, and economy.
To reason from First Principles, we first break the problem down into its fundamental elements; elements and conclusions that aren’t deduced from anything. They are. Think quarks that sit below electrons that sit below atoms that sit below molecules. Or the twenty six singular letters of the English alphabet that sit below the thousands of words you can make from them, which sit below sentences, that sit below paragraphs, chapters, and books.
The fourth First Principle of solving our hiring heroes problem is most vets have two types of experience and that experience is extremely germane and useful in the civilian workforce, i.e., what I call the “CIVDIV” for “civilian division”. They have tons of general management experience running teams, shops, and ships’ departments, while doing technical things like operating and maintaining planes, tanks, and submarines. Additionally, they have a significant amount of specialized experience caring for and leading troops, sailors, and marines (think HR), planning, staffing, resourcing, and executing missions through others, which is project management, or recruiting and developing the next generation of war fighter, which is essentially business development because it taps all of those interpersonal skills and human psychology.
And managing things and leading people is exactly what managers in the CIVDIV do! They too plan, organize, lead, and control organizational activities to achieve organizational outcomes through others. So when you see a veteran resume, just know that they have relevant management and leadership experience, and when you interview them, ask them to tell you about it by recalling projects or teams they’ve lead.