Warriors, Fall In!
Today, we are joined with a guest who entered the Air Force during the early 80’s, when finding a job was rather difficult and then retired just after the housing market busted in 2009, so career transitioning and timing is very familiar territory for our guest today, Don Gleason.
Aside from being a retired 27-year Air Force Veteran, Don is also an Executive Director for the John Maxwell Team, which helps folks further develop their skills for professional advancement.
John Maxwell Executive Team: https://achievenewheights.com
Military Transition Roundtable Website: https://militarytransitionroundtable.com
This episode is powered by Aktau education, go to www dot ACC now education.com For free comprehensive educational resources and opportunities for active duty veterans, military spouses, and children.Don Gleason:
A lot of them said, I was told that if I walk out the gate with my resume, people are gonna be there to hire me. And they found it most of the time, it wasn't true. And if they did get a job through their network, they really didn't analyze it, figure it out, they probably were in that statistic as well and left and went to a different job to some of them took three or four jobs before they really figured it out.KP:
Warriors fall in, it's time for formation. Today, we're joined with a guest who entered the Air Force during the early 80s when finding a job was rather difficult and then retired just after the housing market busted in 2009. So career transitioning and timing is very familiar territory for our guest today. Mr. Dog Gleason. Aside from being a retired 27 year Air Force veteran, God is also an executive director for the John Maxwell team, which helps folks develop further develop their skills for professional advancement. Don, I want to thank you for joining us today on the morning formation. Oh, you're welcome. And thank you for the opportunity to get together and talk I enjoyed our time before this, you'll get in together. And I always love talking to veterans and talking about transition, and seeing how people transition their through their career. And I think this is a great opportunity. So I'm appreciate the opportunity to be able to pass a few tidbits out to the population that's out there getting ready to transition. It's always nice to connect with familiar folks. And a lot of us share the same experiences, we were just talking about our time in Iraq in different places that we've been to. So it's certainly nice whenever I get a chance to connect with folks, even if you're 1000s of miles away. At the end of the day, it's nice to talk and kind of relive and go back to those days when those formidable years I guess, when we were challenged. And Dawn, you know, here on the morning formation podcast, we're focused on career transitioning for our military community, understanding that you are a career transition coach, speaker and trainer, would you mind just sharing your thoughts on to the listeners out there who are planning to transition out of the military within the next few years? Sure, there's a couple of key thoughts I thought were important. And some of these you hear in different places, some of it is going to be potentially new. So I think one that you hear a lot is start early. But I tell you, I keep running into more and more people who are ready to start in the last couple months. You know, they're they're working out, I'll start when I'm on terminal leave. And you got to really kind of start 24 months in advance. And why? Because there's so much to do. And second piece I would say is don't start with your resume. I tell people put that aside and focus in on answering the question, what do I want to do next? I find that is probably the number one thing holding people back is probably the number one challenge for most military, when we got in the service, and we got put into a job, what won't matter what service it was, may not have been what we want. In fact, we may not have won anything we get when we came in the service, we just wanted a job, we wanted to have that mission, we wanted to do something bigger than ourselves, especially if after it was after 911. A lot of people jumped into the service. So now I was a civil engineer. I knew a long time before what I want to do. So I was really kind of focused. But that's the time as you get out of the service. Whether you're separating you're retiring, is to really think about what do I want my life to look like? Going forward? What do I want to do? How many hours how much travel? What kind of organization do I want to work in? All of those different things are important? And people will say no, I just want to get a job? Well,Don Gleason:
there's a lot of reasons why we ought to think about what we want to what do we want to do. And I think the biggest reason is for me is it focuses your research. One of the things you want to be doing during that 24 months, even before you're writing your resume or LinkedIn profile, is talking to companies talk getting involved in organizations that so I just put the little flag there Society of American military engineers, I joined that 1015 years ago, even 20 years before I got out of the service. And I got to know corporate environment. I got to know people working in the business, I got to understand how they were doing things. So when I transitioned out, I had a better understanding. But I went back to them and said, Hey, can we talk again, I need to get upgraded, know what you're doing, how the organization works. You'll What do you guys looking for? And then I could bring all of that into what position that I wanted to get to. And then I can write my resume to to focus in on that. Because if you write your resume first, all you're going to do is list everything you've ever done. And as soon as you put that in, you're not going to Change it. As soon as you put it down as a mental block of pulling that back off, so figure it out first, and then write it to the position that you want to do. I always say, don't look at the position description as No, don't look at the job as is, I can do that job, I can do that job, I can do that job. Ask the question, do I want to do that job? Is that what fires me up? Is that the skills that I have? Is that the passion that I have? Is that fit my purpose? Drive into that, and really go forward from it. But I'd still say, the last thing I would say is, know what you need, what resources do you need? So when you're, when you're starting that 24 months in advance, figure out, Where am I? Where am I going? What do I need to close the gap? I think too many people try to go to every transition program because they want that one little nugget that every program can give them. But the question is, how much time are you investing? To get that one little nugget? And will it really make a difference? So figure out what you want i i tend to use the example when I got to Booz Allen on my first week, they didn't have a project for me right away. So they said, We're going to have you sit on the assessment board tomorrow. And within a couple minutes, within an hour or so sitting on the assessment board, I saw how the process work. And I said, I wonder what I need to do for a professional development plan for this next year. And I said, Well, I'm pretty good at these areas from all my military time, right speaking, communicating, writing, leading, but I didn't know how Booz Allen did professional development and business development and writing the proposal and financial management and risk management. So I wrote up a plan and said, these are things I need, these are the people I need to go talk to. And I think you're doing kind of the same thing. When you're transitioning, you'll What do I buy pretty good writer, can I write my resume by myself, then I probably don't need to go to a resume class. If I'm a good financial situation, I probably don't need to go to financial class. But if I'm not, then they should. So really be aware of what you need to do. So I think those are the a couple of key things that I don't know that not enough people focus in on those, because we go to transition.KP:
Now, I certainly agree with what you're saying you can never start early enough. And that was something that I fortunately did do when I came back from my deployment. And we talked about that how I immediately started working on my graduate degree after coming back from my deployment. And I tried my best to encourage others to do the same to go back and, and go to the Education Center versus going out on those crazy wild barracks, Fridays and Saturday nights. And I felt like that was my role as a leader, as an Army leader was to not just look at the here and the now but think about what the soldiers were going to do after the military. And, you know, we talked about that. And I did have several folks that did listen to me. And they did go to the Education Center as as well as some other lieutenants as well that did knock out their graduate degree or their bachelor's degree while they were there. So awesome advice. Those are three really, really great tips. And when we spoke, Don, you mentioned, there's an article that came out that read that around 45% to 50% of military veterans typically quit their first employer within that 12 to 24 month period after the military to civilian career transition. Would you mind expanding and talk a little bit more about that?Don Gleason:
Sure, is actually Syracuse University, their veteran center, Syracuse University does a lot with military in that transition. And they, they have a veteran center. And they focused in on a survey about 2015 and interviewed 1000s of military, and they came up with an average, and it's 45%. So they looked at within six months, within 12 months within 24 months. So 28% leave within six months, 45% leave within 12 months, and 65% leave within 24 months. And I asked myself, Why? What is it that's driving our members to get into a job and get out because I don't know about you. But even even though my transition was pretty successful, it was a lot of work. And it was stressful. So I hate to think about doing that again. So why do you leave so quickly? And I asked myself, What is it and I think it's a multivariate equation, right? Everybody's gonna be a little bit different. Some people it's not the right pay, they found that they asked too little, some people is the values wasn't a match. Some people it wasn't the right culture, some people wasn't the right leadership style of the boss, and all kinds of reasons why they leave. But then they asked myself, How much of that was figure out double terrible English. I love the word winter that was figure out double. I just did some posts on my LinkedIn profile this last week had I'm on there every day posting things about transition. It was about the interviewer. What are you really asking during the interview? And I think a lot of people wing it. And the second group just says, I'm going to, I'm going to ask a question about what they asked me. So they're going to talk about the role and ask if that works. I'm gonna ask them a question about the role. But those things may not be what's really important. For me, it was I wanted to know about my professional development and the professional development of those around me, at Booz Allen offered a 360 degree assessment that I thought was one of the strengths of their people development program. And it just fit I mean, now I'm I have, I have two companies, one is a for profit, doing leadership training and coaching, like you said, with the John Maxwell team. And so, leadership growth, professional development is important to me, I'm not trying to offend, but it's important to me. So I wanted to make sure that that was the right focus. And I think people during their interview really need to think into what's important to them. And, and know, how do I say this, know how they best operate, how to get the best performance out of themselves? What kind of leadership? Is it a hands off leader? Is it a hands on leader? Is it deal with no travel? A lot of travel? What is it that really juices them up about the job? And if they don't know that, I think they're shortchanging themselves.KP:
Some really great advice, Don, you know, I was one of those statistics, I went into my first year, my first employee, yeah, my first employer, I ended up quitting. And I just felt like it wasn't really a good fit. I think one of my issues was, you know, in the military, what a lot of civilians don't understand is when you when you resign your Commissioner, you ETS out of the military, you have that drop dead date. So mine was 15, August 2007. And by 15, August, either I was going to be unemployed, or I was going to have a an offer and a real job. And as that date slowly approached, I, the offers that were on the table slowly started to go away. And I only had one offer, and the thought of going unemployed was absolutely scary to me. And I really, you know, 2007, we talked about this, the the sexiest thing on the internet was Myspace, there was no LinkedIn. It was not like Facebook, there was none of that stuff. So that's right. Yeah, can connecting with those folks virtually was was really, really difficult. And today, there's just really no excuse for folks to to connect with people. And you're providing some really, really great tips. And I thought, at 27 years old, my graduate degree and my combat experience would be enough for a career to simply fall into my lap, and I was completely wrong. Would you mind talking about some of the extra things that our service members need to know in making that career leap?Don Gleason:
Sure. And I think you're exactly in where a lot of folks are. I'm my coach challenged me and being a coach, you know, we get taught that we should have a coach, there's no other way to learn the coaching process than to have a coach as you're developing yourself. So my coach challenged me a year ago, how could I really understand what the people that are transitioning you're going through? And she said, and I came up with interviews. So I'm on the I'm on the focused interview 100 members who have already transitioned, at least a year ago, some of them I've talked to about 1015 years ago, but it was exactly that situation. What did you face? What did you learn? How would you do it differently? What would you tell the people coming behind you? And I think most of them, even if they walked out, because a lot of them said, I was told that if I walk out the gate, with my resume, people are gonna be there to hire me. And I found that most of the time, it wasn't true. And if they did get a job through their network, they really didn't analyze it and figure it out. They probably were in that statistic as well and left and went to a different job to some of them took three or four jobs before they really figured it out. So I think the other piece that I would add in here is awareness. Awareness of who we are. So I'm a disc trainer consultant. A disc is a personality assessment. There are a number of them out there, you know, could be Strength Finders could be Myers Briggs. They're all good. But disc hell is one I really understand. And it helps me understand a little bit about the natural personality and thus the behavior that I have a couple quick examples, right. These are very dominant, decisive people, iser communicators. They like to be seen. They're the center of attention, Ss are teamwork, collaborative oriented. They slow to change. You don't like conflict. And C's are very analytical, very process driven. And I can go on and on about that. But just knowing what your personality is How it fits is so important because it helps you understand why you get frustrated in a situation. So we're going to talk a little bit about my nonprofit military transition round table. But my partner and I are totally opposite. He's a DI and I'm an SC. So he's very high level quick to decision doesn't want to get in the details. I'm very analytical, very process driven. I like the details. You know, so when we go into a meeting, I'm asking him, so So what are we looking to get out of the meeting? You know, who are we talking to? What's What's the bed? What kind of questions we can ask. He's like, Yeah, we'll just figure it out when we get there. And it bugs, my style, bugs him, his style bugs me. So we got to meet in that purpose. And part of the disk awareness piece is understanding the other person so you can communicate better. So I have to not drive so many questions. And he has to not be so upset when I do so. But the connection back to transition is once you understand what kind of job you want, so if you're an analytical type person, you probably want something where you're going to be in the numbers, you're going to be processes, you know, it's going to be analytics, it's going to do those people are probably not a real time pressure situation, ds make decisions very quickly, sees make decisions very slowly, because they like to analyze it and think through it. So knowing how you fit makes a big difference in the type of job you want to get into. And one of the disc assessments we do through the John Maxwell team, is helps people say, Well, if you're this style, you have a propensity more for these jobs, doesn't mean you have to take those, but it gives you a starting place. I think it's so important to be again, aware of who you are, a lot of us shy away from that, because it's like, oh, it's the soft science. There's a lot of good detailing just came out of Harvard in the late 1930s, published in 1950s 10s of 1000s of people were researched on that, before they published it, they've continued to put all that data back into it to make it more and more rigorous. So there's I went, Everybody I talked to and do the disc debrief, and I've done over 100 of them. Everybody says man, this is spot on, and they take it to their spouse and their spouses, man, is that accurate? So it really gives you a good insight into yourself. And I think that pays a big difference in your in your transition.KP:
That sounds absolutely fascinating. And that kind of got my attention, I'm curious to to check that out and try it out for myself just to see where I'm at. And it brings to mind the whole idea and concept of, of Know thyself, and every little piece like that, yeah, every little piece like that matters when it comes to finding that next jump, you know, for what you want to do, potentially for the rest of your life for for a good portion of your life. And you met, you mentioned the John Maxwell team. And from what I understand you've been a part of that for six years. Now. Would you mind talking a little bit about what that means? And what have you learned since being a part of that team?Don Gleason:
Yeah, you know, I, I thought I was a pretty good leader. And I had a lot of people tell me, I was a really good leader, I got to be a three times squadron commander and a group commander in the Air Force and, and just loved leading people and leading teams and, and helping individuals be better than they ever thought they could be. And I realized how little I really knew about leadership when I got into the John Maxwell team. Because it's more than just being Oh, I'm a servant leader, or I'm a you know, what's the other one participative leader. There's so many more things, you know, just a perfect example is John Maxwell's 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. He calls this his Bible and leadership that was just looking a little bit ago and things laws that make sense to me, right the law of navigation. He says that anyone can steer a ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course. And he talks about two people who did the first Antarctica expedition to the South Pole, Ahmanson in Scott and how they approached it differently. And bottom line, all of Scott's people died. Because they made they made decisions that were not for the betterment of the team. It was for the betterment of getting their first, Amundsen made the decisions that we're going to try to get to the north south pole, but we're going to make sure that everybody survives. So he charted a different course a different vision than Scott did. So it takes it takes somebody who can really chart the course, to be that true leader and take care of your organization. I think another one was law of empowerment, right? Only secure leaders give power to others. And I think we can all go back and think of the military and how we've had insecure leaders, and they were very much micromanagers always questioning you wouldn't give you the authority to go out and do things. And I noticed when I think back into my career, leaders really gave me the authority and the leeway to fail. And to succeed. Man, I loved working for them. It was so much fun. And I grew. But when I one time, I was a Squadron Commander. I had a wing commander who just because it was just painful. And you what you end up doing is you're trying to almost do it. The minimum just trying to survive. And that's no fun. So I think, again, what John Max was really taught me about is so much more to leadership and leadership is a journey, not a destination, I'm never going to be complete, I'm going to be always growing. I'm constantly reading, I just am starting on this year, you're 22 bucks and 22. This isn't I'm already almost finished. My first one is a gentleman here in Texas has a TV show for 50 years now called the Texas country reporter. And he just goes out and interviews people. And he wrote a book called The Good long drive. And I'm just really excited. But But I think back to how I can use that, because it's not just about reading the book, it's about how I can use it. And he's a storyteller. And in our interviews for the military, our resume, we're telling a story, we're getting the reader to think about what we did, how we solve problems, what the impact result was, to many people in their resumes, all they put is I was responsible for this, I was responsible to give advice to the general I was responsible for 15 people. That doesn't, that's not telling a story. But if I say you know, I was the first one to think about how we always forget the word. We're Baghdad work in the reconstruction. And nobody had ever got government and contractor to agree on cost, schedule and scope. Well, that was my chant one of my challenges for four months, and it was a $12 billion program. So you can remember the number of contracts that we had to walk through. But before I left, we were 74%, complete within a month, they got to a 95% complete and made a huge difference, because we're we're overrunning the cost, because there was no controls. So we had to get agreement on where we were going to set the bottom baseline. So I think that's, that's really what I've learned from Maxwell is it's a journey, not a destination, it's always growing.KP:
Yeah, I've heard a lot of a lot of great things about John Maxwell, and his books and some of his leadership skills and training. And you're right, it's it's really it's it's a long term marathon versus who gets there first, when it comes to just working on yourself and getting yourself to where you can improve yourself every single day. And you mentioned earlier, the military transition roundtable. Would you mind sharing with us a little bit about that?Don Gleason:
You bet. Appreciate that opportunity to almost two years ago, last month, it was two years ago, last month, my partner and I were sitting in another transition program. And we heard the CEO of that program, say don't transition alone. And we were across the room from each other. We looked at each other. And it just clicked in both of our heads. And we had been working together doing some transition programs for a couple years, helping others and trying to start some things, but it just wasn't resonating. And we started thinking about using the process called mastermind, and I'll talk more about that. But we looked at each other. It's like how do you not transition alone, the program is kind of set up that way mean, you come into the military, you survive through basic or officer training school academy, as a team, you survive through your career as a team. But as soon as you start transitioning, you're on your own. And we said how can we truly bring them together? So a mastermind and it comes out of the comes out of the book Thinking Grow Rich, which was 19, commissioned by Andrew Carnegie and 1919 20 years study, to find the 13 success principles for the most successful people I know, we're talking Andrew Carnegie himself, you know, steel magnate and Pittsburgh, Charles Schwab, oil magnate, Woodrow Wilson, President, Teddy Roosevelt, president Albert Einstein inventor, these what made these guys successful in the mastermind, was that piece bringing like minded people together in a team meeting regularly, to help each other overcome issues, create ideas and hold them accountable to moving forward. And that's exactly what we do in military transition round table. We meet every two weeks, we have five cohorts underway. We're trying to get 10 people in every cohort and keep 10 people in every cohort. And we just come together and we talk about what's their wins and their challenges. But then what's the spotlight? Spotlight is something that somebody brings in, I want some in some input from the team to help me and we just nothing's off limits. And we've had questions about you know, where do I go? Where do I Where do I? Where do I move to my husband wants to live right next to his parents. I don't want to live within 1000 miles. Hmm. So we help the ideal person to have that conversation with their spouse. We talked the other day about, you know, moving out of Illinois, and I'm going to Phoenix and I have to think about my housing. How do I work that? So we gave them ideas. We've had situations about what type of resume should I use in the situation. We had situation of, hey, I got 100% disability on the VA and I don't think I deserve it. And we walked through that. We've had people who were in an internship or skill bridge, and they were just ticked off because they weren't getting an offer when the timeframe that they told they would get an offer and they were ready to leave And we help them approach their boss with the conversation. And they got, they got an offer better than even expected. And even somebody who was out for a year, came back and said, Hey, I'm about ready to quit. Because I'm working 70 hours a week, I said, Well, have you talked to your boss? No. So we've that night, in the in the roundtable, we help them prepare for their conversation to the boss, and now they're working 45 hours a week. So they're selling that same job. So again, that's part of that reason, our people in transition roundtable who've been in there at least 12 months, are only leaving an 11% rate versus that 45% rate of the Syracuse study. And we think it's because we really helped them dig into the problems, the questions, the values, all of those different pieces. We also help people one on one coaching with resume and LinkedIn and networking and and answering that question, right? Why did I start with? What do I want to do next, I help people really dig into that.KP:
I think what's great about that is you have so many levels of experience and levels of leadership, literally, at a roundtable and you're helping work through so many obstacles that people encounter all the time, and many people decide to go at it on their own. And just your, your overall percentage of folks that are sticking with their careers is, is showing that, that it's working, and it's making a huge difference. And you know, it just brings to mind the the concept of always growing no matter how old you are, whether you're 27 years old, like myself, when I was getting out of the military, versus now I'm 41, returning 42 years old, and I'm still learning every single day. And just in these last 2025 minutes or so, Dawn, it's been so much so much information, so much knowledge packed into one episode. I don't think I've ever had anything like this before. But if you if anyone out there is interested in connecting with you, where can they find you? How can they get ahold of you? And where can they just follow up with any other questions?Don Gleason:
The two best ways would be LinkedIn. And there's a lot of Don Gleason's. But if you put the middle initial L in there for Leonard, Donald Don, first three letters, Don l Gleason, I'm the only one there and you can send me a connection note, do send me a note, not just a connection, don't just hit the button. Don't just hit the connect button. But send me a note and say, Hey, I heard you on the podcast, I'd like to talk to you about this or that this, this thing really intrigued me. And that'll start our conversation or send an email to Don at military transition roundtable.com.KP:
And yeah, definitely, definitely connect with Don, if you're listening out there, and you're making that transition, even if you're already out of the military, and you have a job right now. And maybe it's not what you have in mind, Don is certainly someone that you can link up with and check out the military transition roundtable. But before we finish out today, Don, is there anything that you'd like for our audience to know or think more about that was not covered in today's episode,Don Gleason:
I just want to add that one piece we just talked about, if you've been active duty Guard Reserve, if you're in service, or you've transitioned out, and if your 510 1540 years don't we've had one person who's 40 years out of the service, and asked if we could help them. And as far as we're concerned, if you're a military or a veteran, active Guard Reserve, you qualify for our program. And it's complimentary, you know, it's paid for by corporate and individual donations. So it does not pay anything by the member, I think the last thing to do would be is just to be again, self awareness. And I wanted to touch on this from a loyalty perspective, I think a lot of times we we don't want to start our transition, because we're being loyal to the service, we have bred loyalty into us. And if we start our transition, we think that we're being disloyal, but you're really being disloyal to yourself, because you've got to pay attention, 100% of us are going to transition out of the service. We need to be protecting ourselves and our family. And we need us it's self care, right? Just like we watch what we eat, we exercise, we do all those things. Make sure we're taking care of ourselves to give ourselves the best opportunity to get the right job that will fulfill us for the next what 1520 30 years, think that'd be the best thing I could say.KP:
You definitely have to think about what is the end game? And versus thinking about the here and now what are we doing today? And what are we doing tomorrow? But think about? What are you going to do when you do transition? Now the military and I've always told folks before too, because I used to get this from a lot of lower enlisted folks, when I would ask them, you know, what are your plans after the military? Well, I plan on doing 20 years so I don't have to worry about any of that stuff. Well, anytime you plan, something like that, there's always things that come up whether you might blow a knee out tomorrow, hurt your back or whatever next thing you know you're getting medical doubt and you didn't do enough to invest in yourself. So always invest in yourself, I think That's something that I used to always push. And, you know, connecting with folks like, like DOD, and making sure that if you ever run into those obstacles that you you know, that you have someone reach out to this isn't 2007 MySpace isn't the only thing out there on the market now. You've got folks like DoD out there who are helping out. And I'll make sure I put in the show notes, all the links that you mentioned, as well in different ways that you can get a hold of Don. But thank you, Don, for your time today. I really appreciate everything you provided us. It was certainly a 2530 minutes show, but so much action packed knowledge in there. And I think this is probably the most that I've packed into one episode. That's actually efficient, which is what you talked about with your time, right? You want to make sure that that you're officially the time you're not just wasting a whole bunch of time and getting one little nugget, but and the most effective conversation that I've had in a very long time. So thank you for that, Don.Don Gleason:
Oh, you're welcome. And thank you again for the opportunity. Appreciate it and I look forward to talking to anybody who's a listener who wants to advance where they're going. I'd love to help them.KP:
Alright, well folks out there listening thank you for tuning in today. I want you stay tuned, stay focused and stay motivated. Warriors Fallout