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Care Force: Transitioning From Military to Civilian Life

AUSTIN, Texas – The transition from military to civilian life is often difficult for returning veterans.

A retired Navy captain went through that change, and it had such an impact on him that he wrote a book about it called “From CO to CEO.”

MIKE WARREN: Why did you write the book?

WILLIAM TOTI: Frustration: That’s the short answer. While I was CEO of the company I ran, sometimes a manager would come and say we need to let someone go, and I knew the guy was a veteran, and every time I could almost predict why. And it was always fixable, and the manager who wanted to fire the vet was not a vet, so when I finally retired I decided to write all these lessons down, so vets would stop making the same mistakes.

MIKE WARREN: What are some of the big lessons?

WILLIAM TOTI: Leadership is hard, but it’s harder when the people you lead can quit. When I commanded a sub, my crew might have disagreed with me, but there was no place for them to go. In private business, that’s not true. Employees vote with the fleet, so the leadership techniques are different, and it causes lots of vets to crash and burn early on. That’s an example of a lesson in the book

MIKE WARREN: Are your strategies for officers the same for non-officers?

WILLIAM TOTI: In some ways, yes; some ways, no. Officers are more likely to suffer from hubris, thinking they know more than they actually do. Enlisted folks won’t have that. I tell officers it doesn’t matter if you’re a general when you join a company, you are a second lieutenant and realize the 24-year-old at the desk next to you knows how to be successful. Sadly, I’ve had to let generals and admirals go.

MIKE WARREN: What’s the best advice you could give?

WILLIAM TOTI: Be careful who you ask advice from. A lot will ask recently transitioned people how they did it. You want to ask a person who transitioned, but five years down the road has shown some success. If you ask the wrong people, you’ll get bad advice.

Source : Fox 7