Will Hogg is a former Army officer and founder of Kinetic Consulting, which helps businesses to improve performance. He shares his views on how to adapt as the world of work evolves.
The employment landscape, like the rest of the world, is becoming increasingly VUCA: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. Your civilian career is likely to be less predictable than it could have been even 10 years ago, but it may create greater opportunities to develop one tailored to your needs.
It is understandable if you find your transition daunting when the Armed Forces provided a secure career with clear progression. Your time in uniform, however, taught you to be adaptable, resourceful and resilient – qualities that will serve you well and are valued by employers.
Organisations need a flexible workforce, which can rapidly respond to new situations. This makes job descriptions increasingly obsolete, and every Service leaver is highly experienced at taking the initiative required to deliver the objective, irrespective of their rank or role.
In the VUCA context, swift and effective communication is paramount, and again imaginative use of your military experience gives you the advantage. You understand how to interpret complex information, and then quickly cascade the relevant parts to the necessary people. Just as in the military, giving “the why” is critical, so as the situation changes your colleagues still know what to do.
It is not all change, though. In addition to professional skills and leadership competence, employers are still looking for people who share their organisation’s values. They know that a team will always work better when its members work from a common foundation. The Armed Forces have always relied on timeless attributes such as integrity, teamwork, loyalty and service to others. If you apply these standards to any future role, you will not go wrong.
In summary, you already have many of the skills required to adapt to the changing workplace. Your main focus should be translating your achievements into terms that employers understand.
This originally appeared in Pathfinder, the monthly magazine for Service leavers. The OA edits a regular article, called ‘Ask the Experts’, where different career questions are answered.
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