Yesterday was Veteran’s Day. I don’t typically post on Sundays but I did want to honor all of those who served by putting out something, even if a day late. This is my post from 2009 (yes, I’ve been at this for quite a while) and I like it as much now as I did then. Thank you for your service if you served and please remember to thank a vet, even if it’s a day late.
Today is Veteran’s Day, a holiday which was created to commemorate the end of “The War To End All Wars.” While that part didn’t work out so well, it’s a worthy celebration of our men and women who have served and are serving in the Armed Forces. My Dad is one of those vets. He fought – as Archie Bunker used to say – in The Big One – WW2. And while he’s taught me a lot over the years, he and his fellow vets teach us another really valuable business lesson to go along with all the others.
My father got out of high school and went into the service like most of the young men (and many young women) of his generation. They put their country ahead of themselves realizing that the answer to “what’s in it for me” lay in the preservation of the principles on which this country was founded and which made everything else in their lives possible.
The really inelegant analogy I want to make has to do with how we approach business. While the stakes in business aren’t nearly what they were and are for the vets, there are still people making that same decision today both in and out of business. That decision is to put something else – your customers in the case of business, your country in the case of vets – ahead of yourself. I’ve written a lot about everything from lousy customer service to marketing messages that shout “me me me” and not “you you you.” That’s so 1999, isn’t it?
Converse, don’t spew. Listen, don’t talk. If I can’t get you to engage in a conversation and put others first because it’s smart, how about to salute the vets?