Not long ago, military conflict seemed like a distant prospect primarily observed in historical documentaries about the great calamities that troubled humanity decades ago. Not only did they seem dystopian due to their futility, but they also appeared increasingly impossible due to the global alliances that had kept us at peace for several generations.
A statistic from the year 2020 shows that Europeans saw military conflict as a threat in only 2.64%, which has now risen to 46.6%, becoming the primary source of concern, followed at a significant distance by economic collapse and a new pandemic. The contested border of Ukraine and the rapid escalation of the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis add significant stress points to everyone’s lives, both directly and indirectly.
However, what is essential in this globally tense and unpredictable situation is that our lives continue almost normally, and the quality of life is not dramatically affected. In fact, even though the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is happening tens of kilometers away from us, the linearity of our lives is not significantly affected. This applies to the entire population, not just specific cases.
This brings us to the institution called the Army, and according to statistics, it now holds the number 1 position in the trust of Europeans, followed by doctors, after being in the 6th place in 2020.
The quality of our lives, economic progress, and the ability to make plans in such a situation are possible due to a team of individuals we call military units (from “to militate,” to fight for their belief, which means national security). They manage to keep us away from the war zone through a system, people, resources, and a series of processes.
“Leadership in Line 1” is our leadership program that brings the most important ideas that work in the military space and in the teams we come from. I have extracted only 5 basic principles, and the rest can be extracted by participating in this program:
1. Clarity of Roles
It’s much easier to understand what everyone needs to do. In the military, there is no confusion and dual subordination; roles are clear so that responsibilities are also clear, and the outcome is predictable. In a team, the more ambiguity there is, the higher the chances of failure.
2. Very Precise Objectives
Short-term and clear objectives take precedence. Whether defending an objective or conducting a rescue operation, the structure of formulation is precise, concrete, and tangible, and, importantly, common. Secondary objectives are stated and prioritized together, which leads to point 3.
3. Communication is simple but efficient.
Both roles and objectives are announced in full at each operation, and the commander ensures they have been understood. Additionally, at each intermediate point, there is a status report so that everyone knows where everyone stands in relation to the initial objective, which eliminates many assumptions and, consequently, actions.
4. Decisions are made based on expertise.
Where roles and objectives are clear, expertise takes precedence, so any decision is made by the right person at the right time. It seems simple, but decision noise often causes teams to tire before getting to work.
5. Trust that we have the right people in the right place.
When a team is created, it is implicit that the most suitable resources available are present, and leadership plays a clear role in focusing the team on action, not on doubt. This ensures that everyone’s attention is on processes, execution, and, ultimately, results, rather than contesting each other.
These are just 5 of the many lessons we can learn from the Leadership in Line 1 program, which will make a significant difference in functional teams within our companies. And if these arguments are not sufficient, the program is implemented by a former special forces fighter, our colleague Raul Marina, who teaches us every day that among all the roles he has navigated, being a human being is the one that has consistently brought him success and joy.