• Tom Batty

Locked and loaded: Military personnel have the leadership skills the private sector desperately need

Updated: Oct 15

I’ve got the skills to maneuver a main battle tank through enemy terrain – and they’re the same skills I use to manage a growing technology start-up.

Risk assessment, situational awareness, adaptability, project management and grace under pressure – these are the skills we value in the military and they are equally at home in the private sector, particularly in this era of growing uncertainty.

This is my message to my fellow armed forces retirees and to the private sector: armed forces-trained personnel bring great value to non-military workplaces because of the emotional intelligence (EQ) and leadership skills we develop while in public service.

Now that I’m on the other side of the fence, I regularly hear tech executives and HR managers talk about their need for people with strong communications, team-building and problem-solving skills. I just look at them and point them in the direction of Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Gagetown, the place where I spent the latter part of my military career leading the Army Learning Support Centre.

As Norm and I interview and hire people to join our growing 3D Planeta team, we work off the principle that hard skills can be taught through training programs offered locally or virtually from elsewhere in the world; it’s soft skills that we look for in applicants. Our ideal employee shows up one time, they are dependable, they understand the mission and work collaboratively to achieve it.

The Canadian Armed Forces does an exceptional job of bringing those skills out in a person – and in cultivating a life-long love of learning in soldiers. That’s what you’ll get when you hire someone who trained and served in the Armed Forces and New Brunswick has ready access to a large pool of highly-skilled people thanks to CFB Gagetown. The Base is the second largest in Canada and the second largest public sector employer in the province, after the Government of New Brunswick.

I spent almost 40 years in the military and when I retired a couple years ago I thought my working days were over because no one had ever connected my soft skills to opportunities in the private sector. I was an Armored Corps officer and there’s not a lot of jobs for tank guys on Main street.

What I’ve discovered through 3D Planeta is there is a second life available for highly-skilled military people, if they and the private sector know where to look.