Imagine a career SEAL of 20, 25, or 30 years, sitting in his new office, weeks after his retirement, looking at a financial report and having no idea what these numbers mean. He has managed a $256 million dollar checkbook to purchase specialized gear and equipment, he has led high risk missions into hostile territory, and successfully achieved objectives of covert operations against the war on terror.
He sits there, reading a report trying to make sense of each column, and does not understand how to assimilate nor interpret a balance sheet or an income statement. He has developed a product that he knows is needed in the economy, but has no idea how to place, price, nor distribute it in mass. There are no resources being presented, no intel coming to him, he doesn’t know what words to use to search in Google, and there is no senior level officer to help him understand this information and how it applies to his new company. He’s concerned about making payroll because he's hired two of his fellow teammates and stresses about ensuring the financial security of their families and his. After serving as an effective leader in a high-performing team environment, this situation is a kick in the gut to a SEAL. Although they will persevere, they are starting off from a position of great disadvantage.
SEAL combat training may seem quite different than any planning or preparation business leaders take on. But these days, when uncertainty has become a given in business and the economy, understanding how to anticipate problems, act quickly the unexpected occurs and execute confidently in ambiguous situations is invaluable. Navy SEALs understand how to operate in this landscape of pandemonium. Yet their years of education and training have never required the necessity to produce a yield of business experience outside of allocating an annual distribution of funds. It is not part of a warrior’s make-up.
Navy SEALs train relentlessly to perform at the highest levels in rapidly changing environments. Their lives and their mission depend upon it.
In business, the life of the enterprise and the tenure of its leadership may depend on performing confidently in high-stress though hopefully not life-threatening situations. One of the first things I learned when I first started working with the SEALs during their career transition in 2016, was that these warriors are not a cog in the military. They are the sheepdog – the protectors, loving husbands and fathers – the providers, and they are eternally linked to a community possessing mutual adoration – expressing their profession of love for the brotherhood. They are educated, articulate, wily, intelligent, analytical, and confident.
Navy SEALs have the ability to be at their absolute best while handling the worst possible situations. This is because they have not only the SEAL DNA ingrained into them throughout their careers, the physical and mental endurance to persevere at a high level in a team environment, but also because they are strong leaders and have strong leaders to see them through. They transition from Special Operator to Business Operator arriving at the doors frustrated, feeling circumscribed, and unsure of what the future holds. Their momentum and uncompromising desire to succeed is thwarted by an invisible force that feels like it is propelled against them like a high speed freight train. As I’ve heard it described, it is a feeling equal to trying to bring an aircraft carrier at full speed to a complete stop on a dime.
But, the big difference between you, me, and a SEAL…he will never complain, he won’t make a post about his ire on Facebook, he will not throw his hands up at the first sign of adversity and walk away. He’s humble and will persevere…but will struggle and sometimes for a long time until something clicks. Along the way, he’ll learn the hard lessons as “things they should teach you in business” only become apparent from making mistakes – and some vital and costly.
Phase II is here to close that gap. We provide pro bono shoulder-to-shoulder business consultation and business resources to SEALs. We are a nonprofit organization of volunteers from the small business community dedicated to providing this vital support to the SEAL community.
The pace at which we are growing is astronomical as we realize a need has been deeply tapped. Our Navy Seals have honored their word and it’s now time to provide our support. As our SEALs operate in the private sector, we are standing by their side. We need your support to continue that momentum we have initiated since January 2017. Please visit our web page at www.phaseII.org and submit your donation today. All funds received help support and develop our consulting programs and resources for our warriors as they engage in their next evolution in life. Your support in the form of a corporate sponsorship and personal contribution are a heartfelt “thank you” to the SEAL community and their service to this great nation.
Founder and Executive Director