Things You Can Learn About Business From The Military

What can businesses learn from the military? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Noam Kaiser, Major (Res.), Combat Officer in the IDF for 5 years + 15 more in reserves, principal at Gemini VC, on Quora:

Time management. Specifically, management time management.

Really drilling down into it, I'm referring to a rule military commanders must abide by in almost religious devotion: The 1/3, 2/3 Rule for Military Leaders.

The rule very simply states that when entrusted with a mission, a military commander at any level must take up to no more than a third of the allocated time to plan the mission, and leave at least two thirds of the remaining time for his subordinates to prepare accordingly.

Meaning, for example, if a brigade commander receives a change of plans from his division commander, with a deadline to initiate the operation in 6 hours, he has 2 hours to learn the new command, draft a plan, cross check with his staff, revise, and brief his troops. They will now have 4 hours to prep. If they have subordinates themselves, they will apply the same ratio, down to last soldier.

Note: you don't wait for a complete plan. Anything you know for sure, mission highlights, area, force at your command, you immediately share -- this allows the junior command to start getting their bearings and save time.

This is essential.

Yes, learning the attack zone, the Intel reports, planning the advance, this all takes time. But so does refueling the tanks, refilling the magazines, learning the commands, and even resting for a few minutes.

Commanders who are not sensitive to their troops' time restraints fail to accomplish their assignments.

You must give your team time to get stuff done!

This is entirely correct with managers and their teams; realizing you have to prepare for a major client presentation in 24 hours, and leaving your CFO, VP Sales, and VP of Biz Dev 2 hours at the end of the day to prep because you took all day long to decide what to share with them is an awful mistake.

The second you know something, you begin sharing information.

This is how you both let people thrive under you through demonstrating trust, and how you dispense authority.

Keeping the cards close is not a feature becoming of any leader, a business or a military one.

It's one of the key lessons I took with me from the military to business.

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