Second Season Winner on “The Apprentice”
When Donald Trump said to me, “You’re hired,” in the finale of season two of “The Apprentice,” I credited much of my success to one thing — my U.S. military training. I had embarked upon one of many transitions that I would make during my life.
The career transition from the military to corporate America is undeniably challenging. You are leaving a very tight-knit team and well-defined working culture. I’ll share the advice with you here that I share with all of my military brothers and sisters as they look to transition. Be confident! Be confident because you have the leadership skills that are needed to be successful. Be confident of what you’ve accomplished in your past. There aren’t many people in the private sector who have done as much as you have in the military.
The military exposed you to many types of work environments with many different types of people. You learned how to deliver results or get the mission done while being flexible. Flexibility is an understated quality, for, in the end, the winner is the one with the most options. Flexibility was something that helped me to be successful during the Apprentice competition.
On one episode, we were tasked with a fashion show. In the end, I inspired four outfits for our team. People thought it was strange to see me, a military veteran, designing apparel, but this is the type of flexibility that is enabled by growing up in the military. You learn how to problem-solve and how to do what is needed to be successful!
Now that you are confident and feeling good, it is time to get to work! It’s time to map out your transition plan and start taking action to make it a reality.
When separating from the military, you have to be introspective — to examine your personal goals in order to reach them. Just as you would in the military, treat your transition to corporate America as you would treat a new mission.
Get started by learning about the business sector and the lingo of corporate America. You can’t fall back on military-speak when you are talking to the human resources or hiring department. Learn the language of business and about the new environment that will be your new home.
Passion is a key principle. It will play a crucial role during your transition and hiring timeline. It is important to know what you are excited about — now and in the future — and then share that excitement with the hiring manager and team. When you really have passion for what you are doing, it impacts your success in so many different ways. Certainly the people that you work with feel it. Your customers, your colleagues and your associates will notice. You’re happier, and everyone around you is happier.
Networking is also vital. Use and develop your networks. Many people in business leadership positions have served in the military. Do your homework on organizations headed up by those who have served or organizations that have hired from the military. This can help to ease the pressure of your transition as you are able to interview with and join an organization that will better understand you and will value your skill and contributions from the start. Your strong sense of selflessness, duty and passion will set you above the rest in accomplishing the goals of your team, your department and your company.
As you look to your future in corporate America, work to identify your primary objectives and the intermediate objectives that lead up to them. Don’t do this in isolation. Network. Build a team. Get help in making a successful plan. “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” It’s really that simple. Personally, professionally, financially, you name it — you need a plan to find success.
Broadly speaking, success is knowing that you have done everything possible to maximize the opportunities for you and your loved ones. It means knowing you worked hard, you made good decisions based on the best information you could acquire, and that you thought about how your decisions would impact the people closest to you, both immediately and in the future.
I applaud you for seeking out the information that will help you to find success. Be informed. Be prepared. Be successful! Marcea’s Leaving the Military™ and interactive transition process will help you to find the right path. Take advantage of all of the information, examples and exercises included in these pages.
Good luck on your journey!
About Kelley Perdew:
Kelly Perdew graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point, the Anderson School of Management at UCLA, and the UCLA School of Law. He served as a military intelligence officer, successfully completing Airborne and Ranger school, in the U.S. Army and held multiple chairman and CEO positions before winning the second season of “The Apprentice.”
Kelly outlined his lessons learned at West Point and during his subsequent military service centered on ten essential principles for effective leadership. Kelly documented these skills in Take Command: 10 Leadership Principles I Learned in the Military and Put to Work for Donald Trump (Regnery Publishing, 2006). They are: duty, impeccability, passion, perseverance, planning, teamwork, loyalty, flexibility, selfless service and integrity.
Kelly Perdew can be reached through his website at www.kellyperdew.com.