Management Tips from Special Ops

Sometimes it’s refreshing to look at our businesses from a different perspective. Using the experience and wisdom from others in a different field can help us see things we might have become blind to in our organizations. Here are a few tips from special ops that could change the way you lead.

There is absolutely no military force on earth as powerful, agile, and strategic as the United States Armed Forces.

What makes America such a great nation is the spirit and order of its Armed Forces.

The ideas that undergird our Armed Forces are a part of the fiber of the nation. These same ideas are essential to the effective operations of a business.

Power, strategy, and agility are vital to starting a business and crucial to its long-term success.

  • Power in business is intricately associated with the process. Whatever the product or service, the process of creating and replicating that product or service makes the company powerful. The process makes the business a severe entity.
  • Strategy in business is required. An articulated process ensures that all persons involved in the industry or those who support it as contractors and advisors understand the direction and methods of the business. Tactics may adjust, but the strategy should remain clear and unchanged.
  • Agility in business is associated with a business’s ability to be fluid, adaptable, and productive. 21st Century businesses must be agile, or they will become nonexistent. Technology drives industry and those who leverage it best are agile and remain industry leaders.

Many business leaders can learn from the world’s most accomplished military force, the United States Armed Forces. Nestled within our nation’s prestigious Armed Forces, is a band of elite warriors unlike any known to man.

Special Operations Forces are smaller detachments of the military who acquire far more rigorous training. This training makes them elite in that they can execute missions quickly, effectively, and thoroughly.

Failure is not an option for them – they get the job done.

What makes the Special Operations Units of our Armed Forces so unique?

What is transferable to the business world today? Let’s explore.


Army Special Forces, Navy SEALs, and Air Force Special Tactics are the elite warriors of our Armed Forces. Their training is beyond, far beyond, that of other service members.

Whereas there are approximately 2 million active-duty personnel, only 15,000 are special operations service people – this is the elite of the elite.

In business, employees are similar to service people in the military. They train and execute their duties with dignity and honor.

However, in the 21st Century business environment, there is a clear and present need for elite employees.

Those who train beyond the norm to execute flawless missions require agility and specificity.

For the budding entrepreneur engaging in a new business endeavor, the ability to be agile is essential.

Below is a list of imperatives for the entrepreneur who seeks to build a robust, strategic, and agile business. In other words, a company that wins.

1. Recruitment

To build a winning business, the entrepreneur must be intentional with human resources. Regardless of the technological savviness of the company, people make a business work. Be specific about who you recruit into your business. It would help if you had people who:

  • Enjoy competition
  • Long to be successful
  • Self-starters
  • Collaborate willingly
  • Forever learners
  • Embrace challenge
  • Know how to grind
  • Desire to make a difference
  • Work efficiently
  • Can follow directives and pivot without hesitation

While this list could continue, these traits are vital for a winning business. Recruiting people who possess these qualities reduces the need for the entrepreneur to be a cheerleader, instead, permitting the entrepreneur to be what they need to be – a leader.

2. Elite Training

No serious branch of America’s elite military would ever recruit prized service people and give them substandard training.

However, even the best training programs available may fall short of building your winning organization. Therefore, do not take the idea that skilled training is one-size-fits-all. It is not.

Train your staff for the tasks they need to perform now and in the future. Train them in such a way as to prepare them for the “worst-case scenario.” In addition, make sure the training exceeds the rigor of the tasks required. When training is thorough, personnel tend to exceed expectations in the workplace, taking the workplace seriously.

Make sure the training fully embraces the desired culture of the business. Training is the entry gate to your organization.

Therefore, ensure that personnel are adequately introduced, welcomed, and prepared for success.

Training is more than competency development. It is a holistic development. Your training should prepare the employee for:

  • Job success
  • Professional success
  • Team success
  • Personal success

Invest wisely. When employees understand that training is necessary for their success, they value the investment, and the organization experiences a greater return.

As the training continues, it should be professionally driven but culturally adaptive.

3. All-For-One Culture

The word teamwork is an overused adage anymore. Corporations have sterilized the word in an attempt to make employees feel at home, even though employees in these types of organizations dread the place. But, when teamwork is associated with Special Forces, a completely different dynamic transpires.

Remember, Special Forces is an elite organization within America’s military. They account for nearly 1-percent of troops. Why?
Anyone who achieves the status of being a Green Beret, Navy SEAL, or Air Force Special Tactics Unit possesses a discipline.

There is more inside of them yet to be exposed. They long to be more, do more, serve more, achieve more. They want more.

When business leaders, owners, and investors recruit the right people, discover those who want to be more, do more, serve more, achieve more – be more – elite employees quickly rise in the ranks. They become leaders within the organization, driving the business quicker and more efficiently, with greater profitability toward the mission’s goal.

When elite employees rise from among the ranks of their comrades, a sense of strength emerges. Sure, not all employees will be happy with the promotion, but advertising happening from within the organization builds energy in an organization.

Furthermore, appropriate entry-level training causes the culture of the business to become an “all-for-one” organization.

  • When one achieves, all achieve.
  • When one struggles, all struggle.
  • When one wins, all teams win.
  • When one department fails, all departments fail.

Although not applicable in every situation, there is a concept here that can help your organization become more robust, strategic, and agile.

4. Build Special Ops Teams

Everyone cannot rise through the ranks and become leaders, but everyone can lead. One of the elements of an agile organization is Special Ops-like teams.

Special Ops Teams in the business place are teams that address particular issues:

  • Innovative Requirement
  • Type of Research for Development
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Exploratory Research
  • Marketing Project

Additional reasons for Special Ops Teams exist, but these are the prevailing reasons. Within your organization, employees will grow at different times. Keep track of who is developing in the organization.

Remember, many employees will not want to be business leaders but will relish the opportunity to work on a “special team,” whether long-term or short-term. With a culture that encourages development, these employees will become subject matter experts. They will be invaluable to the organization as innovators.

5. Work Hard, Play Hard

No one loves celebration more than hard workers. People in your organization will be some of the best recruits in the marketplace. With a collaborative environment and groups of “Special Ops Forces,” your organization will be a place of high productivity and intensity.

Leaders must celebrate the well-trained and developed, who work fervently without complaint. Working hard should result in equal play opportunities. Make certain parties and celebrations for achievements happen, and at times, just because.

Celebration prevents burnout, which erodes an organization. People become emotionally detached because of fatigue.

Emotionally detached employees become complainers: productivity decreases, and morale sinks with it. Eventually, a high-performing organization becomes an underperforming organization.

Celebration becomes a time to “let your hair down” and “blow off some steam.” Employees and Special Ops Teams see one another as family, friends, comrades. They are no longer simply coworkers but an inseparable team of warriors.

And when it’s celebration time, everyone celebrates, from the top to the bottom. Everyone celebrates because the entire organization is one.


Building a culture where excellence is the norm is not a haphazardly undertaking. The entrepreneur must embody excellence first before passing it to others. The secret to creating and sustaining a winning organization is no secret at all.

  • Do you want your business to win?
  • Do you want leaders who foster a winning spirit?
  • Do you want employees to excel and find fulfillment in their work?

Then, hire winners. Recruit the right people for the right jobs. Find out where they’ve won in past or present employment and how. What proof is there of their achievements? Check and verify references to get a fuller picture.

Train employees for success. Develop them professionally and personally. Make an investment that will reap both them and the business.

Make sure employees understand and appreciate the organization. The culture is introduced in training and should carry over into the everyday functions at work. Employees should not only know they are one of the family but feel one of the family.

Promoting from within is essential to fueling the possibilities of leadership opportunities, but your organization should also carve out Special Ops Teams for special assignments.

Elite employees with significant skill development serve on these teams, which drive profit and growth.

Remember, not everyone wants to be a leader, nor can they. These teams become additional energy within the organization, preventing monotony and boredom.


Lastly, make sure your assisted living business is a celebratory one. Celebrate achievements, big and small.
When people work hard, celebrations prevent burnout and show genuine appreciation.

  • Do you want your business to be a robust, strategic, and agile enterprise?
  • Do you want profitability and achievement at the highest levels?

Residential Assisted Living National Association is a leader in the assisted living industry. RALNA seeks to develop and train the best-assisted living homeowners nationwide. Contact us today for more information and support.

Power, strategy, and agility are not only vital to starting a business, but crucial to its long-term success.

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