The Benefits of Australian Special Forces Operating Principals in your Business

The Benefits of Australian Special Forces Operating Principals in your Business

The tenants that Special Operations personnel adhere to have led Australian Special Forces to achieve success in the some of the worlds most complex and conflicted regions, all the while leaving behind an amazing public reputation. By applying these same principles to your business, you too can reap the benefits of having a strong, cohesive workforce that works together to accomplish and achieve your goals.

Below are six of the Military Special Forces Operating Principles leveraged by Australian Special Forces.

Team, not self

Within Special Operations the team (typically a group of 5-6) is the nucleus for operational success. When focus is shifted to individual rather than team success, employees neglect to contribute to the forward momentum of the whole group – including accomplishing major goals and business initiatives.

The principal can be easily adapted and implemented within your ‘business battlespace’. Encourage collaboration and idea sharing and develop performance rewards for entire teams, not just individuals. It is also beneficial to publicly acknowledge moments when employees put teamwork ahead of self-positioning. Businesses should also aspire the same level of precision teamwork that allows Special Operations teams to achieve remarkable results.

Conversation, not degradation

The Special Operations community realizes that punishment and verbal degradation are both time-consuming and ineffective for creating positive change. Managers can derive greater benefit from positive conversation.

Aim for creating positive conversation in your workplace. Water cooler gossip benefits no one and public degradation is a tool of empowerment for the misguided and incompetent manager. Conversely, open, objective conversation and a workplace that doesn’t tolerate bullying will create happier, supported, and more productive employees. ‘Conversation’ also implies vertical idea sharing from top to bottom, breathing fresh air into possibly stagnant ideas, providing intuitive lateral insight, and quite possibly sending you on your way to your next cash cow.

Confidence, not arrogance

To have confidence is to trust in one’s own abilities. To display arrogance is to exaggerate and overstate your abilities in hopes of impressing or intimidating others. This tenant emphasizes humility, a principal that focuses on teaching and skill development rather than maintaining the status quo.

The fine line between confidence and arrogance can be misinterpreted during initial engagements with perspective clients, something that can potentially impact your crucial first impression. Have confidence in your own abilities and remember that showing, not telling, is the best way to demonstrate your skills and expertise.

Toughness over fitness.

A large component of Special Operations training is specifically designed to develop mental and physical toughness over pure 'fitness'. Mission rehearsals, endurance training and selection courses are all designed to prepare Special Operators for the trials of having to make critical decisions amidst extremely challenging circumstances. Further - to be mentally tough allows individuals to manage countless setbacks and obstacles that may seem unending or deeply frustrating. Obstacles are unavoidable in the path of the entrepreneur, and developing the capacity to deal with them in a healthy way on an ongoing basis can mean the difference between success and failure for your organization.


No one within Special Operations escapes the consequences of their actions. Taking personal ownership of all aspects of their professional life, including both successes and mistakes, is what separates elite Special Forces from the rest of the pack. If you expect to own the reward when an objective is met or exceeded, you must also accept responsibility when a project goes bad. Ownership earns respect, respect builds solid teams, and solid teams accomplish and achieve. Lead by example by owning up to your mistakes as well as your accomplishments.

Finally, integrity above all else

Integrity, both personal and professional, is something that Special Operators hold onto dearly and strive to protect over than any other trait. Integrity is the most common link to trust, a crucial element of a cohesive team. A workplace where professional integrity is an ideal that all employees maintain will be on a path to a cohesive, interdependent and kick-ass office environment. As within Special Operations, when once an individual’s integrity is lost, it is near impossible to restore. Take preventative measures by encouraging your team to stay true to themselves, their teammates, and their goals at all times.

The training principles developed and implemented by Australian Special Forces are designed to create strong teams, unparalleled work ethic, and positive, self-sustaining work environments. By leveraging these techniques and tenants for your business, you can increase productivity and employee satisfaction while fostering entrepreneurship and a self-starting attitude amongst your staff.


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