I just read an article on the Forbes magazine leadership forum by Col. David Sutherland entitled Hiring MBAs? You Should Be Looking at NCOs. Col. Sutherland advocates hiring senior Non-Commissioned Officers (Master Sergeants, Chief Petty Officers) into corporate roles because of their experience, professionalism, and ability to manage.
I concur. My experience is that NCOs bring commitment to the mission, ability to manage logistics and people, and a deliberate maturity to decision making in the face of uncertainty. They have been key to the successful launch of First Of A Kind technologies I have been part of, including Cheng Cycle Steam Injected Gas Turbines and Ausra/AREVA Solar Steam Generators.
My tag line these days is ‘Vision — Leadership — Execution.’ Success still depends on Vision — you need to know what you want to accomplish.
But I know I can count on NCOs to lead the team to execute the plan.