Fighting the Taliban

Business Lessons from a Lieutenant Colonel

Understanding the Big Picture

There are a few times in life when you get see the big picture of what is happening around you.  This allows you to connect all of the dots.  Things suddenly make sense to you in a whole different way.

That happened to me this week… 

Lieutenant Colonel Jim EriksenLieutenant Colonel Jim Eriksen spoke at West Chester-Liberty Chamber Alliance in advance of Veteran’s Day.  For 28 years he served in Active Army and National Guard and is a recipient of the Bronze Star for Actions in Combat as a commander of a combat unit in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. He also seems like a regular guy and is a friend of Rick Shively (which tells you something if you know Rick).

Lieutenant Colonel Eriksen told a compelling story of a day in Afghanistan when he led his team accompanied by Afghan soldiers through a series of villages looking for the Taliban and walked into an ambush.  Solid intelligence, assistance of Afghan soldiers, critical decision making and courage saved the day.

I’m not a military man.  I don’t come from a military family.  I have great respect for veterans.  There is something inside of me that wells up with respect for those who have faced battle, been shot at and defended our country.  That service demands respect and I listen when warriors speak.

Lieutenant Colonel Eriksen wrapped up his story, saying…

If the enemy is using a big gun against you, when it is removed the battle dynamically changes.  In this simple example, we call that big gun the center of gravity.  Our enemy’s goal  is not to defeat the US Military.  They know that they cannot.  Rather, their center of gravity is to sway American public opinion. 

So what does this have to do with business owners in America?

9/11 was an attack on America’s economic engine which is our strength… our center of gravity.  As business owners, every day we go to work, run our businesses and innovate, bring value to our customers, support employees and take risks.  When we operate a strong, healthy business, we are battling to defend America’s economy.  Like it or not, we – the business owners – are on the economic frontlines of a battle against our enemies for America’s future.  Remember that EVERYDAY.

So this Veterans Day, I’d recommend that you:

  • Fly a US Flag at your home or business.
  • Thank a veteran for his or her service.  Defending freedom allows us to operate our businesses.
  • Thank the veteran’s family.  They had to endure during any deployment.  The family is the unsung hero.
  • Hire a veteran.  They are well trained and disciplined.
  • Defend America by building a strong and healthy business.  Your investment goes well beyond your business and family.  It is about America’s future.
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