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Preparedness and p­­erseverance leads to victory

Pearl Harbor - December 7, 1941
Pearl Harbor - December 7, 1941

December 7, 2013 marks the 72nd anniversary of the date that will live in infamy; the day which President Franklin Delaware Roosevelt declared war on the Japanese. What career growth lessons from learn from A Date which will Live in Infamy.

Prepare. There was a war in Europe and relations with Japan were tedious at best. Yet and perhaps because most Americans at the time were against going to war, Americans were ill prepared. After the infamous speech by Franklin D. Roosevelt, it took four months before Americans could counter an attack against Japan—and that was a token
victory” with little damage to the Japanese. Yet this mild victory boosted the moral of the Americans.

More importantly and resulting in the eventual victory over the Japanese, Japan’s preparedness in attacking Pearl Harbor was flawed.

  1. The ships were attacked in shallow waters, thus the ships did not sink, ensuring that many of the ships were salvageable. In fact, 6 of the 8 battleships were salvaged and were operational during the war.
  2. They attacked when all three of the Pacific fleet aircraft carriers were out at sea. They were used to begin the attack on Japan.
  3. Having attacked on a Sunday morning, many of the naval crews were on shore at the time and did not go down with their ships.
  4. The Japanese expected that the war would be short-lived, thus they were not intent in destroying the navy yard, oil tank farms, and the submarine base.
  5. They underestimated the resolve of Americans to unite and defend their country at all costs.

If we had been prepared and on alert, Pearl Harbor may not have been so devastating and the war may have been over much sooner.

Lesson. Get the facts straight and don’t make assumptions. As an employee, seeking a new position or a novice entrepreneur beginning a business, you need to carefully plan and prepare as you consider any and all contingencies. As an employee, research your potential employer.

  1. Research the business/corporate heads. Who are they? Can you learn from them? Are they leaders or strictly managers? Do you believe they will serve your best interests?
  2. Research the business/corporation. Are they solvent? Have they been struggling during the economic hardship? If they are public, have their stocks dwindled, increased, or stayed steady and what is the significance, if any.
  3. If possible determine their attrition rate? Have they laid off employees? Have they been hiring?
  4. Do they have educational/training programs? Will these heighten your career goals?
  5. If it is of interest, what are the advancement possibilities?

As an up and coming entrepreneur:

  1. Develop a business plan
  2. Build a responsible team which will help you through the tough times
  3. Expect tough times and plan ahead for that. The Japanese expected a short and swift war. They were wrong. Starting a business may have setbacks and take longer than expected.
  4. Research and know the ins and outs of your competition. The Japanese underestimated the tenacity of the Americans to unite and persevere until they were victorious.

This leads to the second lesson.

Persevere. In spite of terrible odds, Americans united and persevered. They fought on two fronts, the only country to do so. Image two stutterers, Winston Churchill and King George VI, and a man in a wheelchair, Franklin D. Roosevelt, helped defeat the powerful Third Reich on the European front.

Even though we won WWII, we also had many defeats and we lost many thousands of lives. Without defeats, you can’t succeed. Really, if you have had no defeats that only means that you haven’t tried.

D-Day on the European front was devastating with thousands of lives lost, and it would have been so easy to give up and die. Yet the British and Americans persevered and moved on towards Germany. Again, though, it took nearly a year, longer than expected, yet again, we persevered and we could then claim victory. The same happened in the Pacific. After being attacked at Pearl Harbor and the Philippines, Americans suffered terrible loses. MacArthur was forced out of the Philippines, only to return. Eventually, Americans were able to be victorious over Japan. Again, it would have been so very easy to give up; however, we forge ahead until we were victorious.

Lesson. Simply do not give up. Whether you are seeking new employment or starting a business, expect that you will go through tough times. Instead of quitting, learn from your mistakes and forge ahead.

When you come up to an obstacle, climb over it, detour around it or simply knock a hole through the obstacle. Certainly seeking a more ideal employment or starting a business

Victory. If you prepare properly and you persevere, you will be victorious. Now, being victorious on the battlefield is not the same as being victorious in business, yet, the principles are the same. You need to properly prepare for all contingencies. You also must be ready to confront obstacles and get past the obstacles. You also must learn from your mishaps in your career.

Eventually, you may have to make sacrifices and take tough action which may go against our gut feeling. General Eisenhower and the other leaders under his command understood that thousands of individuals will die when D-Day was implemented. The soldiers themselves knew they and many others may be killed. Yet, the leaders and each individual that was part of D-Day understood this was a devastating decision, but it had to be done. To be victorious over Japan, President Truman had two choices; to continue conventional warfare which would have extended the war and cause the lives of thousands of more Americans. Or he had the option to drop an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. He made the tough decision to end the ware quickly. Unfortunately, the devastation from the bomb on Hiroshima did not force surrender. President Truman then had to make another tragic decision and drop another atomic bomb.

Likewise, in your career, you may have to make tough decisions. You may have to lay off workers or fire an insubordinate employee. As an entrepreneur, you may have to tell your employees that you will have to shut down the company. Perhaps, as an employee, you may be laid off. You need to accept it and work towards finding other employment by preparing and persevering through difficult times.

So, take this day of remembrance and apply the lessons of preparedness and persuasiveness, and don’t be afraid of making the tough decisions. If you do, you will reach your goal and be “victorious” in your career.

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