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Fri, Nov 11, 2011

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Saluting Monster’s Veteran Voices With Patrick Manzo

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Here at Monster, hiring veterans is more than a best practice – it’s a value we live every day. 

That’s why this Veterans’ Day, we’re featuring the veteran voices of some of our own leaders who have transitioned from the military to the civilian workforce – and how their military experience is helping Monster, and its customers, win the war for talent:

Patrick Manzo is Monster’s Executive Vice President, Global Customer Service and Chief Privacy Officer, a position he approaches using the experience acquired during his 4 years of service in the US Navy.

As we celebrate Veterans Day 2011, MonsterThinking took a few minutes out of Patrick’s busy schedule to dig a little deeper into how his service to our country has shaped him as a leader today.

MonsterThinking: How has your time in the Navy shaped how you approach your job today?

Patrick Manzo: I apply what I learned in the Service every day.  I find that everything from core leadership precepts to more mundane project management skills apply directly to my responsibilities at Monster.

Probably the most significant of these is an appreciation of the difference between leadership and management.

Issues and resources can be managed, but people need to be led. Management is a science.

Leadership, on the other hand, is an art, and revolves around establishing a vision, defining standards and providing the appropriate resources to accomplish that vision.

The great thing about the military is that you are assigned a lot of responsibility very early on in your career. As a 22 year old, I had 15 people working for me.  Most were older than I was, and all of them had more experience.

Navigating that situation required learning as much as I could about the details, quickly, while keeping the “big picture” – the overall mission – foremost in mind.

That’s true at Monster as well.

As a leader, my job is to focus on the big picture – meeting the goals required of my function, and helping to move the company forward towards our collective goals – while also understanding the details.

I also learned that everything won’t go as planned.  Sometimes, it is because the plan was faulty, or not properly executed.  Other times, it is because the environment has changed more than could be anticipated.

There is a military maxim that “no plan survives contact with the enemy,” and it is true in business as well.  What is important is to recognize our mistakes, own up to them, fix the problem, and try not to make the same mistake twice.

Finally, as the folks on my team will tell you, I am a fan of military aphorisms, ranging from pearls of wisdom relayed to me by my past commanding officers to quotes from Napoleon and General George C. Marshall.

Recently, I have been fond of General Marshall’s quote to his staff, “I don’t want you fellows sitting around asking me what to do. I want you to tell me what to do.”

MonsterThinking: What qualities do you look for in your team, overall?

Patrick Manzo: I look for people that understand our business and work hard to meet the tasks assigned to them.  I expect that leaders on my team will be thoughtful, straightforward, organized, and will solicit input from and take care of their people.

MonsterThinking: What advice do they have for employers looking to tap into veteran talent?

Patrick Manzo: I believe that we have a significant obligation as a country to help military veterans find jobs, particularly those that are returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These men and women have made significant sacrifices to protect and defend our country and our national interests.

Further, it makes great business sense, and I believe veterans are an untapped resource for employers.

The military teaches Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines how to take direction; how to work together for a common goal; be disciplined in the pursuit of that goal; and deal with complicated tasks in high-pressure environments.  Further, many have gained substantial skills and experience during their military training and service.

The challenge, in many cases, is how to translate those military skills into specific skills that are valuable to a civilian workforce.

For example, a Navy gas turbine engine specialist might not seem to have skills applicable in the civilian workforce – until you consider that the Navy uses gas turbine engines that are essentially modified airplane engines – and that skills learned maintaining a Navy ship power plant are probably applicable to commercial power generation or airplane maintenance.

Similarly, while civilian companies do not conduct Tomahawk Missile attack missions, it is likely that the skills learned in planning such a mission are applicable to designing coverage of a sales territory, or planning how to roll out a new product to address a new market.

At any rate, it is certainly possible to teach industry-specific skills, while many of the traits instilled by military service – dedication, discipline, and placing the team above personal concerns, are more hard-won.

I’m proud of the time I spent in the military, and the ideal of service to country is important to me.  There are obviously many ways to serve country beyond military service.

However, I am pleased to that we, as a nation and as a company, set aside Veterans Day to reflect on the sacrifices made by our veterans and the fact that the freedoms we enjoy are directly attributable to those sacrifices.

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