Battle-tested – from the defence force to the boardroom

Author: Ashley Naughton   Date Posted:5 November 2018 

Battle-tested – from the defence force to the boardroom main image Battle-tested – from the defence force to the boardroom image

Battle-tested – from the defence force to the boardroom


As an ex-military person specialising in supply chain management, my background has given me insight into the importance of leadership and direction.


Now that I have made the switch from the military to the business sector, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on some of the lessons I learned from my time in the military and talk about how I think the lessons and skills I learned whilst serving my country translate back into the business sector.


Firstly, in the military you need to stay one step ahead of your customer. You need to be able to plan in detail and adapt quickly to an evolving situation, you need to be able to apply both the art and science of logistics planning, to ensure your customer gets what they need on time and in good order; you need to stay ahead of their expectations. By achieving this in the military, your actions directly impact on the outcome of the mission and in the corporate sector, you deliver according to customer needs.


Secondly, you need to be able to achieve the task at hand with little or no direction in often remote or austere conditions. Fully understanding the overarching intent of the commander and your role in the mission is key. You need to focus on your goals and have confidence in your ability to deliver on these goals.


Thirdly, you need to have a strong work ethic and be able to do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done. As an ex-army officer, I have spent many a day in ditches and jungles feeling exhausted, dirty, hungry and drained but, more importantly, I understand fully that the task at hand still needs to be completed. Transferring this work ethic to my corporate role at Di Bella is vital to ensure work is completed ahead of time and with great detail.


Fourthly, you need to be self-aware of your own personal foibles – your strengths and weaknesses. Without this self-knowledge, you will not learn to take advantage of the opportunities in your strengths and you will miss the opportunity to seek help to improve your weaknesses.


And finally, you need to really understand leadership and the art of leadership. To me, the art of leadership is the ability to inspire and instil passion in people so that they buy into your vison whether that vision is to protect your country or to grow your business.


I was pleased to recently hear Di Bella CEO, Darren Dench, talk about his future goals and aspiration for Di Bella. His views were both inspirational and motivating. That, to me, is what true leaders do for their teams.


I’m enjoying my new role at Di Bella as Supply Chain Manager and I’m looking forward to taking my battle tested skills into the boardroom.

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