USAA Community Business Lessons from US Navy Veterans.jpg

This week, I reached out on RallyPoint and across my network to gather some US Navy skill sets that make and made a difference in post military service. 


Here are the tips from several Sailors that help make these US Navy veterans proud of their service and successful in their next careers.


  1. “The Ability to Work in an International Environment.” The US Navy is the most international in terms of deployments, working effectively with allies and in various global settings. Several veterans cited the ability to recognize and not to judge the differences between American and foreign cultures. Even with cultural and language differences, the ability to work productively together in an environment of success is vital. Another veteran relayed that in his experience, the US Navy has one way to do something, but international allies demonstrate other ways to do the same thing, some more effective. The business line: the world is a big place and all business today is international so learn and embrace foreign partners.

  2. “Mind Your Helm.” The command of “Mind Your Helm” is given when a ship is starting to steer off the assigned course due to poor steering. The “Mind Your Helm” command is a constructive command to coach a Sailor, of any rank or specialty, to pay attention to what they are doing and to get back to the assigned task at hand. The business line: even the most experienced employee and a new employee need coaching and reminding when they begin to exhibit poor performance, to get back to doing the assigned command or task. In addition, some tasks are so important to the organization, such as steering the ship, that others must look out and assure correct performance.

  3. “Collateral Duties Are a Way to Learn.” Additional duties have long been the bane of every military member, especially the Navy. However, additional duties are also ways to learn new skills in maintenance, budgeting, materials handling, and materials ordering that are exceptionally valuable in the business, government, and civilian career world. The business line: before you say “NO!” to an additional duty, understand of the potential value of those skills in the civilian job market.

  4. “Belay My Last.” The command “Belay My Last” is the command to halt execution of the prior order. In environments that are demanding, chaotic, and filled with constant change, it allows yourself (and fellow shipmates) space to decide, recognize a mistake, and then to reverse yourself from a bad decision. Too often in business, once a decision is made, employees mistakenly believe that any change in the prior decision, even if it is not working, will result in punishment or blame. The business line: allow yourself and your organization to recognize, adapt, and stop decisions that are not working. Changing decisions to a more effective path is a sign of great leadership, not failure.

  5. “Take Care of Your Shipmates.” Easily the most frequent answer was the importance of taking care of fellow shipmates, helping each other out, and leading by example to ensure a Sailor was setting a positive precedent for all the eyes that were on them. The business line: some organizations think of employees as assets and not as people. The US Navy’s example of helping people succeed, learn, and grow into greater roles and responsibilities is a lesson we can all take to our place of work.


Thanks to all the comments on RallyPoint, contacts from Social Media, and messages to share the lessons on the value of unique US Navy skills for post military service.  


Share your story – How did Navy service help you?


Related Information:


  1. Best Practices For Military Transition – An Interview With Hirepurpose
  2. How Military Training Maintains An Ethical Focus At Work
  3. How to Advise a Young Person to Consider Military Service
  4. Military Leadership Skills During Times of Chaotic Change
  5. The Number One Thing That I Learned from My Military Service
  6. USAA Leaving the Military Page


About the Author: Chad Storlie is a Retired US Army Officer, the author of Combat Leader to Corporate Leader and has published over 360 articles in over 185 publications on military veterans, career advancement, business, leadership, strategy, education, financial planning, and national security topics.  Chad excels as an author, mentor, speaker, and teacher showing business leaders and military veterans how military skills make lives, careers, and businesses better.  Chad is an adjunct Professor of Marketing at the University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management.  Chad has a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Georgetown University.  Follow Chad @CombatToCorp and