“In the civilian sector, you’re always at war with your competition, you’re always struggling to survive”, … a conversation with Vincent Martinelli

In this episode of The Leadership Sessions, Tom Van Dyck, Senior Partner at TPC Leadership talks to Vincent Martinelli, Chief Operating Officer at Boston Fusion Corporation previously, Colonel in the US Army. They discuss the importance of respect, how commander’s intent enables military leaders to empower the individuals that are closest to the action, and the challenge that the corporate world faces of always being at war with the competition.

On your personal take on leadership:

  • “You can’t develop a relationship if you don’t show respect and give respect to other people”
  •  “Once you have a common purpose, then you can have something to collaborate around”
  • “If you have really talented people around you, then you’re just wasting that talent if you don’t seek their input”
  • “And then, I also believe very firmly… in being bold and looking for opportunities to not just be incremental”
  • “The thing about being bold, is that it’s easy to be bold prematurely, and not be prepared”

On the differences between corporate and military worlds:

  •  “… In the civilian sector, you’re always at war with your competition, you’re always struggling to survive, and, you know, day in and day out … that is really challenging”
  •  “The military can certainly learn from the civilian sector … really understanding how difficult it can be to survive in an environment where you’re under constant competition”
  • “One thing that comes naturally in the military is teamwork, it’s critically important that all team members are cohesive … And so there’s less of an emphasis on that in the civilian sector, there’s a less critical aspect to why we have to work together, so it’s a little less natural”

On mission command and commander’s intent

  • “Especially with the best leaders that I’ve seen in the military, …there’s a sense of collaboration, a sense of respect for other people’s experience and expertise, and really a need to lean on that”
  • “This overriding theme of what we call mission command… the philosophy of pushing responsibility … to the individuals that are … best positioned to make decisions about what needs to happen”
  •  “If you don’t remember anything about the plan, just remember what the intent is”
  • “If the plan completely goes by the wayside, which it often does … you have confidence that they know what the intent is, and that they will move forward and execute”

On international collaboration

  • “I was really interested in learning what interests the French had, or the Dutch had. And I always thought about it as two circles. And it’s the overlap of the interests where you have to focus your efforts”
  •  “Where I was successful, occasionally, the French officers or the Dutch officers really knew that I wasn’t just trying to accomplish US interest … but that I was really trying to build something collaborative with them, and I realized that that was a powerful thing”