Level 4 155 Wickham Terrace, Spring Hill QLD 4000
Australian Defence Force arms and camo uniform shoulders

As Gripfast has grown to a national company we have begun looking for project managers with the depth and experience that means they can transition into leadership roles with ease and drive growth while building, maintaining a positive culture and growing a productive, healthy and happy team.

While I am far from a business genius it occurs to me that successful, sustainable growth depends on leaders/managers who have the ability and strength of character to look at a business, see the competing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and turn that into a profitable outcome while maintaining a positive, supportive culture for all staff.

What we at Gripfast have noticed as we look for new staff at all levels across Australia is that many recruiters seem to still have a reluctance to look outside the traditional “box”. It’s totally understandable but it wastes huge opportunities for those leaving the Defence Forces, especially for project management positions.

Australian and New Zealand Defence personnel are almost invariably reliable, smart, hard-working and self-disciplined – so what? In all three Services the focus is always on the team and the mission, whether it is operations in Afghanistan, disaster relief in Banda Aceh, peacekeeping in Timor Leste or regional support operations across the Pacific. Their work demands imagination – no two incidents are ever the same; the enemy seldom co-operates, and wars are consistently fought in remote, inhospitable places, far from the routine support most civilians take for granted. There is no fire, police, or ambulance service, nor even the SES to call in an emergency; ADF personnel have to do it all themselves and it is just ‘business as usual’. This breeds determination, even temperament, teamwork, loyalty and a brilliant sense of perspective and humour.

These qualities make Defence personnel a massive “force multiplier” at all levels of a business. Given a challenge or even a routine task, their training and experience kicks in – they resolve the issue. It’s called ‘Mission Command’ and it is in the DNA of everyone in a command position in the ADF. From Corporal to General, Leading Seaman to Admiral, Senior Aircraftsman to Air Marshal it is what they do. Mission Command translated from military ‘speak’ means that when given a task and a desired ‘end-state’ Defence personnel will use their resources, imagination, leadership, and management skills to deliver the outcomes required. If they need advice, they’ll ask but otherwise, they will get on with the job until it is complete. Crucially, they will communicate, opening the door for constructive criticism, advice and guidance, avoiding humiliating errors (or BLYFUs). And because “no plan ever gets past first contact with the enemy”, they will not be concerned if the plan requires re-configuration to succeed.

The greatest obstacle to Defence personnel is the recruiter who, through no real fault of their own can’t see the benefits or appreciate the depth and breadth of experience of Defence personnel from reading the CV (often in military speak) and consequently closes the door.

How do we help fix this problem?  We use our network.  At Gripfast we have a team of ex-ADF personnel (female and male) who are more than happy to provide advice and guidance to other veterans of all ages – please reach out on LinkedIn.  Luckily many tertiary institutions are helping to close the gap. Australian Catholic University (ACU) for example is ‘fighting above its weight’ to help veterans and their families through education programs and support.

The first step … ask for help.  Be assured other veterans are very keen to help but we don’t know if you don’t ask!

The team at Gripfast look forward to hearing from you!