Welcome to 2018! Let’s start the year off right. With a book that merits everyone’s consideration: For Love of Country written by Howard Schultz, the founder and CEO/Chairman of Starbucks and Rajiv Chandrasekaran who for ten years was the Bureau Chief for The Washington Post in Baghdad and other places in the middle eastern war zone. It’s their call to arms for all Americans to understand and value the commitments made by a small few Americans to maintain our freedoms.
Not all CEO book recommendations will be business books. I’m a big believer that some of the best books for growing and learning about business may not be business books at all.
Despite the challenges in our country today (and I’ll freely admit there are many); we are blessed to live in an extraordinary place. A land of great freedom and great opportunity. It has been this way for most if not all of our lives. More than fifty percent of all DLCers were born after the abolishment of the draft. So much so that we can easily forget the small (actually tiny) portion of our country who volunteer to protect what we can easily take for granted. These are the less than one percent of our population who volunteer and serve in our armed forces. For Love of Country tells some of their stories, both in combat and after.
Although I was lucky enough to have met and spend some time talking with Howard Schultz at an ICSC RECON, that was not the reason I originally picked up this book. The reason was quite different. I had heard that Howard and Rajiv had picked Nate and Bill Krissoff for the first story in the book, and I had met Nate – once – many years before. Nate (the son) had swum at Williams College like I had only many years after me. He was captain of the team his senior year and I met him at a Williams swimming event. Never the best swimmer on his squad, I was immediately struck by his natural leadership skills. Unlike virtually all Williams grads, Nate had enlisted after college and become a first lieutenant in the United States Marines leading a platoon of elite reconnaissance troops in Anbar Province in Iraq. Nate was killed there. The victim of an IED that was avoidable had his platoon been equipped with body armor the DOD swore they had but did not. The story in the book isn’t so much about Nate, but what Bill (his father) did after being told of his son’s death. I won’t spoil it, but Bill’s story is extraordinary, moving, and well worth reading. The Krissoffs’ are just one of the many incredible stories in the book.
While For Love of Country is totally worth reading on its own, I would urge you to think of it in the context of our team at DLC, at least a little. America still does far too little for those who volunteer and serve to protect the other 99% of us. Many veterans return home with amazing skills and experience but struggle to find careers in the private sector. How can we at DLC help change this and also strengthen and deepen our own team? How can we create a true win/win for these amazing men and women?
In the book, Rajiv and Howard write this in their Epilogue:
“What they [veterans] deserve, however, is a genuine understanding and appreciation of the skills they have gleaned. Serving in the military qualifies one to be more than a security guard. Veterans come with a can-do spirit. Many possess leadership and decision-making experiences that exceed that of civilians two decades their senior. They know how to follow orders but also exercise initiative. Hiring veterans isn’t charity – it’s good business.”
Sounds like the type of people who excel in the DLC #success culture. Let’s figure it out in 2018. This year over 300,000 combat veterans will leave the military (many due to downsizing and budget cuts). While we are only one mid-size company, perhaps we can take advantage of this pool of motivated candidates. Please let me know if you have any ideas!
You don’t need to wait for a book recommendation to come out on DLConnected! If a book in Library looks interesting, simply stop by and ask what it’s about. If I’ve read it, I’m happy to tell you. Similarly, if you’re looking for a book on a certain topic, don’t hesitate to come by and ask if we have something in the Library.
Thanks for all you do. Onward to more #success!