Combat Leader to Corporate Leader
20 Lessons to Advance Your Civilian Career
by Chad Storlie
April 2010, 184pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-38332-8
$75, £58, 66€, A103
eBook Available: 978-0-313-38333-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Despite service to their country, military veterans face an unemployment rate 20 percent above the overall U.S. figure. There is no question that the military-to-civilian transition is difficult, especially when it comes to entering the workforce. Happily, vets can use military experience and training to establish, improve, and propel their civilian careers.

A business professional who is a 19-year U.S. Army combat veteran offers this one-of-a-kind book showing fellow veterans how to leverage their military experience and training to produce superior business and career results.

Military training and experience provide a superb foundation for excelling in business. The executive search firm Korn Ferry discovered in a 2006 study that CEOs with military experience out-performed their civilian peers. Combat Leader to Corporate Leader: 20 Lessons to Advance Your Civilian Career outlines 20 lessons describing how veterans can apply their universal military training to succeed and excel in the business world. Combat Leader to Corporate Leader teaches Army, Navy, Marine, and Air Force veterans and non-military professionals how to apply successfully the skills that have made the U.S. military successful.

The book is divided into four sections and aligned with military combat planning tools: (1) understanding the company and business environment, (2) planning a robust solution, (3) rigorous execution to meet the plan’s goals, and (4) improving people and process for better results. Each section offers specific examples, advice, and formats that directly address the challenge of translating military experience into business skill sets. Among other issues, the book will teach vets how to showcase military experience and value to get hired, how to apply combat experience to a career in business, how to avoid the mistakes veterans commonly make in the workplace, and how to customize and translate their own unique military experiences to their business. At the conclusion of the book, veterans and non-veterans alike will have the skills to understand, plan, execute, and improve their careers and business ventures.


  • Numerous graphs and charts to quickly and effectively translate military tools to business practice
  • Case studies of successful vets in the civilian world and examples on every page
  • A "tool box" of success aids that relate military experience to business practices in each chapter
  • Ready-to-use worksheets for topics ranging from synchronizing business operations to employee performance counseling, commercial after-action reviews, and applying direct military training to business functions
  • Candid discussions of problems veterans can face in the workplace, solutions to advance veteran careers, and an open conversation of how to navigate between military and corporate culture
Chad Storlie has had a distinguished career in both military and civilian service. Storlie is a mid-level marketing executive and has worked in marketing and sales roles for various companies, including General Electric, Comcast, and Manugistics. He is a U.S. Army Reserve Special Forces officer with 19 years of service in infantry, special forces, and joint headquarters units. He has served in Iraq, Bosnia, Korea, and throughout the United States. He has been awarded the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Special Forces Tab, and the Ranger Tab. In his spare time, Storlie has taught marketing at Creighton University, developed Combat Analytics—a counterinsurgency assessment process—and written articles that have been published in several military journals. He holds a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Georgetown University.


"...a pick for any military veteran unsure about how to apply military training and experience to the business world. It teaches all veterans and nonmilitary professionals how to use these skills effectively to solve business problems and covers everything from the differences between a military and business environment to planning solutions, meeting goals, and improving people relationships. Very highly recommended for business and military libraries alike."—Midwest Book Review, July 1, 2010

"Helping military leaders transition successfully to become corporate leaders will be good for the corporations and the country. These combat veterans bring unique skills and experiences to the private sector, but they need a framework to make this transition. This book provides that."—Lawrence J. Korb, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

"As a former U.S. Navy jet pilot and the leader of a company that has thousands of veterans in its ranks, I can uniquely appreciate the context in which Chad Storlie’s book is written. I commend him for making this information available to transitioning military members, since it encapsulates a wide variety of guiding principles that took many of us veterans in corporate careers many years to seek out and comprehend. Whether you served four or twenty years in the military, you’ll understand how to leverage the qualities of leadership, teamwork, integrity, loyalty and resourcefulness to your best advantage. You’ll also gain great insights about the differences between the military and civilian sectors, while learning to adapt to situations where the way forward isn’t necessarily as clear as it once was in your previous career."—Steven R. Loranger, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, ITT Corporation

"My military experience provided a solid foundation for my business and public service endeavors. Veterans today need all the help and support that they can get which is why Chad Storlie's Combat Leader to Corporate Leader is an important reference for veterans interested in business." —Bob Kerrey, President, The New School

"As a former Air Force captain and now CEO of a global company, I have benefited immeasurably from the self-discipline and accountability instilled in me as an officer. It was not always an easy process to transition to the private sector. That’s why I applaud Chad Storlie’s effort to lay out a clear roadmap that veterans can follow as they prepare themselves, their teams and their businesses for success. I recommend Combat Leader to Corporate Leader to every veteran who aspires to the top ranks of corporate America."—John Meyer, CEO of Acxiom

"Col. Storlie fills a significant void in military-to-corporate transition literature. The author displays the unique ability to translate military experience into corporate management strategy using language that is familiar to every military leader. His numerous tables provide real-world examples of how military leadership scenarios correlate directly to business management situations. If a military member masters Col. Storlie’s '20 Lessons,' she or he will find the transition from military leader to corporate executive a much shorter and smoother journey. "The author introduces the military reader to the subtleties of corporate politics. Most military leaders shy away from self-aggrandizement and military culture discourages such overt actions. Col. Storlie introduces the reader to 'intelligent self promotion' in the corporate world and stresses its accepted place in the overall corporate leadership structure. My advice to military members entering the commercial corporate society, if you do not read any other chapter, read the chapter on intelligent self promotion." —Tim S. McClain, President & Chief Executive Officer, Humana Veterans Healthcare Services, Inc.

"A must read for every Soldier, Sailor and Marine. It is the only book of its kind that lays out a very practical way for a veteran to capitalize on the outstanding preparation that a military experience brings to a successful career in the marketplace."—Steve Reinemund, Dean of Business at Wake Forest University, and Retired Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo

"Combat Leader to Corporate Leader gives our nation's veterans a step-by-step, disciplined approach to translating their skills to today's competitive business environment. Chad Storlie provides a clear road map for men and women who wish to pursue post-military business careers." —John G. Rice, Vice Chairman, GE, President & CEO, GE Technology Infrastructure

"Chad Storlie’s book, Combat Leader to Corporate Leader, could not come at a better time. In the next several years many veterans will be entering the corporate job market. These veterans are both well-trained and disciplined to take responsible positions in major corporations. Chad’s 20 lessons demonstrate transference of skill sets by using methodologies that are easy to understand. The description of how veterans can use their skills in the business world will be valuable to both veterans and businessmen hiring these capable leaders. I highly recommend this book."—Alfred A. Plamann, President and CEO, Unified Grocers

"Combat Leader to Corporate Leader is an excellent tool for any person transitioning from the military world to the civilian world. It recognizes the skills learned in the military and uses a clear 20 lesson process to help them be applied in business. His book will help someone leaving the military get off to a fast effective start in their new job." —Ken Hicks, President & CEO, Foot Locker, Inc.

"Many principles of combat leadership apply equally in the business world. Whether taking a hill or doing a takeover, bonding with allied forces or partnering for a joint venture, the fundamentals are much the same. Chad nails those themes with persuasive clarity."—Steve Townes, CEO & founder, Ranger Aerospace Corporation

"Combat Leader to Corporate Leader: 20 Lessons to Advance Your Civilian Career is THE field manual for combat leaders returning to civilian life. Chad Storlie has done an excellent job analyzing the business world and identifying the key actions military veterans must take to be successful. We need leadership in business and veterans can provide that leadership. Mr. Storlie’s book provides the path to make that happen."—Frederick M. Strader, President and CEO, Textron Systems, A Textron Company

"Chad Storlie’s book is a home run. Having transitioned into business four years ago, I can attest that Chad’s assessment is right on target. The bottom line is this. Businesses desperately need men and women of character who walk the talk with values, who understand how to articulate a clear mission statement, who know how to hold their teammates accountable, who know how to inspire and take care of their people, and who appreciate the value of delegating authorities and responsibilities. Veterans fit this requirement in spades. I wish I had the opportunity to read this book four years ago—a must read for veterans making the transition into business." —Major General John Batiste, US Army (retired), President, Klein Steel Service Inc

"Chad Storlie provides an excellent resource for members of our Armed Forces as they transition from service to their nation to service in the private sector. His lessons hit the mark as I look back on my own transition to the not-for-profit and the for-profit sectors over the last eleven years. Chad’s lessons are not only a benefit for transitioning veterans, but for the civilian community as well, for they provide valuable leadership lessons. The ethical foundation of values and self discipline provided in the military transitions well to the private sector, offering an advantage for the veteran. Chad highlights this advantage learned during military service describing requirements of mission focus, taking care of one’s people, values based decisions and the importance of teamwork. Military personnel are all trained in the belief that the team, the cause, the outcome is greater than oneself – a trait uncommon in most of the commercial world. "Chad highlights how efficiency is gained in an organization by establishing time-proven SOPs and standards. He takes efficiency external to the organization recommending the creation of networks of experts and contacts in the market place, much like that required when a commander builds a coalition, friendships and other means of power when deployed on foreign soil. This book lays out how a veteran can use these services experiences in the civilian market place. "Chad discusses how to beat the competition using actionable intelligence, war gaming and strategic positioning. He applies the military experience of applying risk/benefit analysis to decision making, the importance of backup plans and conducting after action reviews for every event – a standard operating procedure in today’s Army. These examples provide a leader with techniques invaluable to any business in today’s market. The competitive market today is full of economic pressure, uncertainty in global affairs, chaos, adversity and everyday crisis. Chad combines the required understanding, planning, execution and improvement lessons learned from the military with the private sector improving a leader’s ability to position oneself and organization for success. A must read for transitioning veterans outlining 20 key lessons of value for creating value and business excellence."—David Grange, CEO of PPDI

"Read this smart, candid book with a pen in hand. Chad Storlie challenges veterans to fulfill our leadership potential in the workplace; then he shows us, through practical examples and memorable stories tailored to military experience, how to build careers that matter to us and our organizations." —John R. Ryan, President and CEO, Center for Creative Leadership, and Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy (retired)
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