Americans that look to challenge the status quo on a daily basis are the ones that succeed the most and are often viewed as powerful leaders.
U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. John Michel sees that and an innate ability to lead in Sharp Decisions CEO, and V.E.T.S.™ Program founder, Karen Ross.
“She’s an example of someone that’s powerful, especially having no experience working with military folks,” Michel said. “To be open enough to go ‘I don’t know anything about this, but I know what the right thing to do is here,’ we call that leadership. And we call that operating with integrity.
“She wants to reach out and help because she recognizes these people are the ones that chose to go defend this nation,” Michel said. “It demonstrates a willingness not to take a one-size-fits-all solution like you are told to do so many times in this society. There’s a two-way benefit: she was willing to take this risk in bringing on military people, but also believed she was going to get people she could count on with character, loyalty and trust-worthiness.”
Michel says the V.E.T.S.™ Program and Ross set themselves apart by pushing the boundaries with critical thinking by identifying a need and a way to help.
“Challenging the status quo is really about saying ‘what if I suspend the way I’ve done things and challenge myself in a new way,’ Michel said. “V.E.T.S.™ is a perfect example of that. Karen said ‘we’ve never done anything with veterans and I don’t even think I understand their language. It’s the right thing to do, so lets give it a try.’ It’s really inspiring.”
He believes another thing that sets sets V.E.T.S.™ apart from other veteran programs is the team component that helps with that transition from the military for long-term success. These veterans are used to having someone on their left and right to rely on, which doesn’t happen in the civilian workforce.
“You go from a clear sense of purpose and mission and now you’re telling them to go learn new skills and a new language because we have a different language in the military,” Michel said. “V.E.T.S.™ is the kind of innovative thinking we need to bring across every industry. The toughest, most tumultuous part of the transition is when individuals are finding a new culture, figuring out a new language and new skills. When you can eliminate most of that angst with teams of three or four and equip them with relevant life skills, you’ve set them on a trajectory for success. This also puts them on a trajectory to really build a sustainable life.”
Michel believes it’s that team component that gives the V.E.T.S.™ Program an advantage, and will keep it sustainable long-term, because it sets these veterans up to perform better and then everybody wins: the customer, the individual and the organization.
“I would suspect a program like V.E.T.S.™ is going to show a statistically higher rate of people being able to finish the program, learn the skills and integrate into society,” Michel said. “There’s a very specific mission to get them high-end, high in demand skills they can use for the rest of their lives. The more they put into it, the greater in demand they become.”
Michel believes people like Ross need to step up to give these veterans a chance because, he says, each time, the employer gets someone that is the epitome of a team player and the kind of person that all organizations want.