6 Israeli Defense Forces Principles that Will Make You a Better Entrepreneur
“Courage is a special kind of knowledge; the knowledge of how to fear what ought to be feared and how not to fear what ought not to be feared” – David Ben Gurion
You would think a typical 18-year-old would want to go college or party. But on the other side of the world, Israel, most 18-year-olds must go through mandatory military service. I was one of them. Back then, the last thing I wanted was to waste 3 precious years of my life, following orders, and wearing a green uniform. However, those must have been the most important years of my life where I learned about respecting authorities, disciplines, and teamwork in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). A lot of things I absorbed during my 3.5 years of service are what make me a better lawyer/entrepreneur now.
(Me during the first week of basic training)
The Israeli military has the reputation of being the best in the world. The main reason for that is because soldiers embrace core principles and they religiously implement them early on. Under no circumstances, they will deviate from those principles.
During the first week of basic training, our platoon was assigned to patrol the base at night. That night the platoon commander gave us a surprise visit – he wanted to inspect our equipment. My rifle was not clean enough; needless to say, I paid dearly for this lack of attention to detail. In the IDF, negligence and sloppiness are not tolerated. Till this day, these principles always echo in my head when I practice law, run my business, or deal with clients.
If you want to be a better entrepreneur or a leader both in business and in life, make sure to embrace the following principles of the Israeli Defense Forces:
Be Responsible: Responsibility is an idea that is easier said than done. In the corporate world, it seems to be a thing of the past. Far too many executives and leaders fail to take responsibility for their actions, and often pass the buck. True leaders are just like soldiers: They carry out their due diligence at all times with initiative and a strong heart to face all repercussions.
Be Credible: You and I have both met enough people who are not telling the truth. Unreliable people that are doing a half-assed job are everywhere while performing duties and exercising responsibilities. Always act in such a manner that your peers and superiors can rely on you. Always present things objectively, completely, and precisely, in planning, performing, and reporting.
Lead by Example: As a team leader, it’s your goal to protect your team members with your wings. Again, this is easier promised than acted. By walking your talk, you become a person others want to follow. When leaders say one thing, but do another, they drive away trust, which is the most crucial element of effective leadership. So demand of yourself what you demand of other. Be an authentic role model.
Master Your Craft: We live in a society where we are held accountable by online reviews. Almost perfect is not enough anymore. Don’t see bad reviews as a discouragement, see it like a challenge. Like what the IDF’s Code of Ethics entails, IDF soldiers “acquire the professional knowledge and skills required to perform their tasks, and implement them while striving continuously to perfect their personal and collective achievements. Always strive to do the best job possible.”
Comradeship: Ask yourself what you will do to add value to your team. Put others before yourself. Successful companies are those that rise together, not as individuals. IDF soldiers will “act out of fraternity and devotion to their comrades, and will always go to their assistance when they need their help or depend on them, despite any danger or difficulty, even to the point of risking their lives.” I always exercise this mentality and encourage my staff to imagine our lives are tied in this battle together. While in real life you may not put yourself in the line of fire to win that deal, thinking like that may help you actually get it.
Respect Your Mission: Be proud of your company and where you work. Wear the logo with pride, talk about it with others with passion. As a leader, empower your employees with authority to market the company, organize events, and spread the word. By doing so, your people will have a sense of mission like the IDF soldiers – they will be ready to give their all in order to defend the state, your integrity and security.
Many of the entrepreneurial spirits coincide with the mission of an elite force. The IDF’s values are manifested through the “tenacity of purpose” and “drive to victory”, just like an entrepreneur would fight to ensure the prosperity of his or her business. All soldiers live by the code of ethics to defend their countries and their citizens’ security. I hope you can also learn from the IDF and perhaps adopt their strategy to better your entrepreneurship.
Do you agree with the resemblance between the IDF and entrepreneurship? Please leave me a comment below or email me at email@example.com. I would love to hear from you!