On November 11, Veterans Day, we as Americans have an opportunity to recognize our great debt to our armed forces. At the same time, we can and should acknowledge how veterans’ service to the country can continue even after they have taken off the uniform.
The men and women who have served share a number of common traits: persistence, decisiveness, tenacity,adaptability, comfort with risk and preference for bold action, and personal sacrifice for something larger than themselves.
Not surprisingly, these are traits that are also often attributed to successful entrepreneurs.
In fact, many of America’s most innovative – and most successful– companies were founded by veterans. Consider FedEx, founded in 1971 by Fred Smith, who just a few years earlier had been serving as a Marine in Vietnam. In an interview with the Academy of Achievement, he spoke about how his military service influenced his business career:
“I learned an awful lot in the Marine Corps –particularly about . . . how to treat people, lead people– which has played a big role in FedEx. A big part of the employee relations systems and all that we have at our company came from my experience in the service. The Marine Corps is the best when it comes to teaching people how to lead other folks.”
He also talked in the interview about how his military service gave him a relatively high…