Leadership lessons from the military

The military background offers many lessons for business owners in the remodeling industry, sources say

November 30, 2009
Military lessons in business

Many remodelers served in the military before going into construction, and they say that experience has helped make them successful in business.

"I rely on my military experience a lot," says Zett Quinn, president of Quality Craftsmen in Marietta, Ga.

Quinn, who served 10 years in the U.S. Army Reserves as an engineer and ordinance officer, attributes his service with teaching him how to lead by example, a skill he now uses when managing teams of up to 50 employees and trade contractors on projects.

Setting an example to the people he leads is a key part of being a leader both in and out of the military, says Marc Chavaree, a remodeling consultant with Case Handyman and Remodeling in Charlotte, N.C., and a six-year veteran of the Navy.

"People see a leader who is trustworthy, and they aspire to that," says Chavaree.

One of the most useful things Matt Hoots learned during his time in the Marine Corps is the importance of getting a job done right, a lesson he applies everyday at The Hoots Group in Atlanta.

"In the Marine Corps, it's all about mission accomplishment and troop welfare," Hoots says. "Our staff knows that they're allowed to build correctly, and I'll stand by them. They also know if they try and take any shortcuts, we're going to call them on it."


Military lessons in business

Digest these key tips from remodelers who have adapted their military experience to business:

  • Lead by example. Your employees will work the way you do. Treat them and your clients with respect and integrity and they'll do the same.
  • Set standards. Make sure your employees know what you expect and that you'll stand behind them.
  • Plan. Just like a mission in the military, properly running a company or a project takes good planning.
  • Stay calm. Keeping your composure in the face of adversity keeps your employees, clients and trade partners calm.

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