Three Surprising Lessons I Learned from the Military

Dec 11, 2019

By Dave Pierce, EVP and president of MedSurg at Boston Scientific

I went to Norwich University, a military college in Vermont, before serving as an Army officer for four years. As you might expect, these experiences instilled in me a good work ethic, a sense of organization, and a commitment to a greater cause. But I learned other powerful lessons from my military years that stay with me to this day—and they might surprise some civilians.

Hierarchy isn’t everything

People assume that when you’re an officer in the Army, you give orders and people obey, but the reality isn’t so clear cut. In the chain of command, you rely on the skills and experiences of the people below you to achieve shared goals. Yes, one leader must eventually make the decision and issue the order, but when that decision-maker pulls the team closer, solicits feedback, and values on-the-ground perspectives, the entire operation is strengthened. Put another way, the leader who relies solely on chain of command to engage a team is destined to fail.