Leadership bootcamp: Lessons from military veteran CIOs

The U.S. Armed Forces takes leadership training seriously. Here, a trio of IT leaders reflect on the key leadership competencies they learned while serving in the military.

Most CIOs develop their leadership principles and perspectives through experience—by rising through the ranks of IT organizations or through various experiences in business units or third-party partners like consulting firms or technology vendors. But how many corporate leaders have actually been trained in leadership?

Christian Anschuetz, chief digital officer at UL, told CIO.com in a recent discussion that the leadership lessons ingrained in him during his almost eight years in the Marines Corps, are the most important that he took with him after leaving as a Captain. And they have served him well in his private-sector career, which began in consulting, followed by starting his own firm, to rising to IT leadership roles with Publicis Groupe and UL.

"It goes back to being formally and very, very deliberately trained on the topic of leadership: What leadership is, how it works, what are the proper mechanisms for it, and being indoctrinated into a culture that absolutely expects it from you,” Anschuetz said.

Anschuetz, along with Earl Newsome of Praxair and Mark Settle of Okta, recently shared reflections on their military service and how those experiences influenced their careers. They experienced critical lessons in leadership, strategy, developing talent and building successful organizations—not to mention sacrifice—in very unique environments that few truly understand.

While civilian CIOs can’t turn back the clock and join the military, they can learn from those who served.   

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