A perspective from an Armed Forces Veteran

Shaun Micallef-Green Capt (Ret’d) AGC(ETS)

The Covid-19 pandemic has created many challenges, with virtually every business and organisation in the country having to adapt their practices, or worse still cease their activities altogether. Many factors will have played a role in determining which changes, if any, were feasible, including the size, location, nature of business, resources and finance available to enable the business to continue to operate. It is suggested that even when enough of these factors appeared to support a viable change being made to allow businesses to survive during this crisis and beyond, the common factor which will have had the greatest impact upon the success of many is likely to be the adaptability and mental resilience of the employees throughout the company.

Whilst many business leaders are fully familiar with the requirement and benefits to be gained in continually looking to evolve and develop their products, services and practices in order to remain relevant, this would usually be part of a much more considered approach, including market research, analysis, preparation, communication with employees and customers, and structured change management. The immediate and far reaching effects of the lockdown introduced in March 2020 clearly did not allow for these steps to be taken in the way they might usually be planned by most organisations.

Instead, businesses have been required to take and act upon decisions much more rapidly than would usually be deemed to be “sensible” management, having to quickly adapt to a huge change in circumstance which very few are likely to have anticipated or had planned contingency measures in place. Hence, in my view the willingness and ability for business leaders, managers and employees at all levels to adapt and to dramatic change, which for many is likely to include their role, method of operating, working environment, family and social situation, will have a significant impact upon the success and sustainability for many businesses.

As revealed by a poll by leading CV writing company Purple CV, adaptability is listed by recruiters and employers alike as the most sought-after quality for employees, closely followed by management skills, pro-activeness and organisational skills. Thankfully, I don’t believe there are likely to be many (if any) occasions in our lifetimes when these skills are put to the test to such an extent and so widely across the country.

It is perhaps unsurprising that mental and emotional resilience are not listed amongst the key skills sought-after by business within their employees, as the circumstances where they would be shown to be of such benefit are less likely to have been anticipated. However, amongst the many lessons to be learned from this pandemic, I would hope more business leaders would place greater emphasis on resilience were the poll to be conducted again today.

Should this be the case, Armed Forces Veterans offer excellent potential candidates for many businesses, as the nature of their training, roles and experience allows them to develop resilience, along with adaptability, management and organisational skills.

For those wishing to find out more, I would strongly recommend viewing the inspiring first-hand example of resilience at work and leadership insights was given by WO1 Kim Hughes GC, in a recent live stream event, “Resilience in Times of Adversity” arranged by ABF The Soldier’s Charity.  

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