Honestly, I'm no longer surprised by Christmas commercials airing just after Labor Day or the fact that stores will be opening before the turkey is even in the oven. For years now, it's seemed like the "Retail Industrial Complex" has wanted to transform the entirety of autumn into the kickoff for the holiday shopping season. It's part of what I think of as "holiday creep" - we don't have October 31st anymore, we have Halloween weekend. It isn't Thanksgiving Day; it's also Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
But this coming Monday, November 11, our nation will observe Veterans Day, where we will solemnly recognize and salute the sacrifice and heroism of our servicemen and women who have given so much to our nation. Still, for me and my colleagues at State Street, recognizing our veterans is a year-round duty. One day isn't enough.
The skills that those who have served in the military can provide - perseverance, leadership, strength and teamwork - are skills that are in demand in today's workforce - each and every day.
Veterans exemplify the power of commitment - their dedication and their wherewithal are perfect traits for a business world where staying ahead of the competition is as much a function of unceasing effort as it is innovation.
The veterans of our armed forces demonstrate wisdom and knowledge. In the military, intelligence is an asset; its information you can choose to use - just like it is in today's business world. But without wisdom, intelligence simply becomes an asset that lacks practical application. The power of intelligence, and this is something our veterans grasp almost immediately, is in how it is gathered, how it is verified, and how it is analyzed well before it's ever put to use. Strategy is strategy no matter the setting.
Veterans embody the ethos of continual improvement. Today, business leaders are asked to do more with less, find ways to squeeze margins and operate at peak performance. These things seem to come naturally to the members of the military I've been privileged to encounter. Through sheer force of will and grit, they've transformed who they are physically and mentally to meet the challenges they face.
Servicemen and women treat their jobs as missions. They strive to understand their own specific roles within an organization and to they innately understand the significance of what they do and how it impacts others. To them, teamwork isn't an option - it's critical in reaching desired outcomes.
Our veterans demonstrate the flexibility to adapt to ever-changing situations. I've been told that there's an old Army axiom, "The plan never survives contact with the enemy," and that's a truism for businesses today as well. In our 24/7, interconnected, information-addicted world, the rules of business and the strategies to succeed can change without any notice. Leaders who are married to the plan and not the outcome are often lost. It's the leaders who are adaptable -even after the plan has encountered the enemy - that thrive and survive.
There are few people who are as resilient as those who have served as members of our armed forces. In business today, the ability to bounce back from a sudden change is a key trait. We often hear about a leader's credentials - her MBA or his talent, but not so much about his or her resilience. As Woodrow Wilson observed, "The difference between a strong man and a weak one is that the former does not give up after a defeat."
At State Street, we're proud to honor America's sons and daughter who have served in our armed forces. We value the training, operational skills and leadership that our military personnel have acquired while defending our nation. And we are devoted to helping them transition to new careers and civilian life. Let's honor our Veterans on November 11th and throughout the year, because we know, one day isn't enough.