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A Veteran’s Perspective

Successfully Transitioning to the Private Sector.

By Francisco German, Security Manager at UPS
Former U.S. Marine

Upon my arrival to the United States from my native country, the Dominican Republic, my first challenge at the age of 15 was to learn and master the English language. It was evident that in order to maximize my American success I could not allow language to be a barrier. I joined and spent four years in the United States Marine Corps. This experience dictated and confirmed that the ability to clearly communicate would be critical to achieving my dreams of success.

On October 22nd, 2014 Frank German (far right) had the honor to give Former Secretary of Labor, Thomas Edward Perez (Wearing the UPS jacket), a tour of the UPS Corporate School facility in Landover, MD.

Mastering the English language and being bilingual became an asset in both my military and civilian professional experience. The opportunity to serve my country was the foundation I would need to consistently push forward in all my endeavors. From mastering the use of the language to mastering alternative styles of delivering messages, my experiences have fostered both personal and professional growth.

Following my military career, I joined UPS as a full-time hourly employee on the Security team. This was the beginning of a fast paced, progressive and successful management career with UPS. After joining the corporate workforce it became apparent that I needed to adjust my communication delivery style in my new leadership role. There is a difference in delivering military orders compared to communicating team objectives and buy in from your civilian work group.

Adjusting my communication style as military personnel moving into a corporate leadership role was one of the most difficult transitions. There is a distinct and impactful difference between military leadership and private sector leadership. Dependent upon message delivery, “how you tell military personnel what to do” in contrast to “how you sell today’s workforce on what you want them to accomplish” will have stark differences in results. It can lead to either a desired collaboration or the opposite— resistance.

Currently, as a 21st century leader in a private industry dealing with a modern day workforce, I understand I must bring more than hard skills to the job. Hard skills appropriate in the military arena are often too rigid to be effective or accepted in the corporate arena. My success is now contingent on my ability to integrate soft skills, i.e. emotional intelligence, creative problem solving, motivation and communication etc., into my management style.

I am a member of the UPS Veterans Business Resource Group (an internal organization dedicated to military acknowledgement and recruitment). This organization affords me many opportunities to mentor military personnel now seeking to join the private sector as well as the opportunities offered with UPS. During these conversations I often speak on the topic of the impact and influence of adapting different leadership styles. These range from military to private and as they relate to success.

For many service men and women this change may be difficult, while for others it will be a welcomed opportunity for creativity when moving people to action in meeting a desired goal. The fact that many may note similarities to the military at UPS due to uniforms, rigid regulations, and strict policies and procedures, it is still necessary to understand the workforce is not military and requires a different skill set to create cohesive and successful teams.

Graduation photo from boot camp, Parris Island, SC, 2000.

A former U.S. Marine, Francisco German is a Security Manager at UPS and the Co-Chair of UPS’ Veterans BRG.

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