Gregory Hartley left the army in 2000 and initially thought he’d hate business because of a lack of rules. What he found, though, was that a lot of his military training was very applicable to the business world. He figured a lot of leaders may agree, so the Atlanta-area resident co-authored “The Most Dangerous Book You’ll Ever Read” with Maryann Karinch.
The two lay out what they call extreme interpersonal skills and take the tools of military intelligence and relate their value to the business world today.
Smart Business spoke with Hartley about a few of the key principles in the book.
What is one of the key observations you made in your book about how the military and business overlap?
When we think about team-building, there are way too many people running around doing trust falls, and that garbage doesn’t build a team. What I write about is team building like a special-ops officer. In special-ops, you don’t show up and you’re part of the team. If you do that, it means that everyone has the same value without demonstration. They do a good job of rooting out people that don’t fit, but in the process, they have a sense of belonging. When a person shows up, you want to welcome them, but you also want some on-boarding process that makes them one of your people. On the special-ops side, they create a new normal, so instead of simply going through a rite of passage and showing up, now they want you to show what you bring to the table so that when you add that to the sauce, what does it do to the team? How does the team change?
What’s another principle you address?
Try to give a new way at looking at how your people in your organization function and try to make sure you have the right mix. Instead of having all of one kind or all of another, it’s a different way of thinking to say, ‘I don’t want all my guys to be the guys to charge the hill when I tell them.’ Some of them need to be underminers and question your plan and say, ‘Are you stupid?’ otherwise everyone gets killed on the hill, and it was the wrong idea. By blending the right skill sets, you end up with a team that’s versatile and a team that can adapt to situations like our current economy.
Is there anything about spies and covert missions in the book?
I cover networking like a spy. When people think spies, they think the ‘Bourne Supremacy’ and those kinds of things. Spies don’t usually work like that. Spies are usually working their environment and putting other pieces into play, so when a spy is actually working, what they’re doing is managing people as assets. They’ll use people in different positions to help out. Instead of thinking of your network like a flat, Facebook-like network where you have 1,000 friends, and they’re all equal — think of it more like LinkedIn or a chess game — you have people at distance that matter too, so you stop thinking that the only people who matter are people who have clout, who have power, who can do something for you immediately. Spies understand that every person they meet has some value. When you walk past a receptionist and fail to make eye contact and talk to the receptionist, you’ve lost an opportunity. Most often, access to information you need is going to come through people who don’t understand the importance of it. The more access they have to information and the more knowledgeable they are of how valuable it is, the less likely they are to freely give it.