the big job skill for vets: "situational awareness"

the big job skill for vets: "situational awareness"


There's one major job skill that troops acquire that's a really big deal, and difficult to explain in the civilian world. I'm told it's called "situational awareness", which means, particularly in combat:

— figure out what's going on, fast

— detailed oriented, decide what to do, fast

— act, fast

These are vital skills in any organization, however, they're rarely perceived as critical. Things move slow in the private and public sectors, there's no sense of urgency to complement the more obvious need
to deliberate and take one's time. Getting shot at, well, that's good for "sense of urgency." Also, try planning combat missions where the are no roads and nobody speaks your language.

I've personally seen failure after failure in the private sector, often resulting from the indecisiveness which is the opposite of "situational awareness". The norm is not to learn, just to keep doing things as usual, no matter how dysfunctional.

Bottom line: if you're hiring, and can choose a vet, note that he or she has one vital skill that's hard to explain, but it could easily become a critical success factor.


One Comment

Allen Laudenslager

In the 40 years since I got out of the Army, I've noticed that the skills my employers valued from my military service (like the ones you mentioned) are no longer recognized. I suspect since the end of the draft a lot of managers have no experience with just how valuable situational awareness is and how it allows quick decision making. Without personal experience it seems like magic since the manager can't see all the steps in the decision making process.

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