The Culture Code of a Veteran

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Results, Winning together, Integrity, Customers, and Innovation.

Five statements that embody Dell’s Culture Code.  Interestingly, they also align closely with what a national study conducted online by the Harris Poll(1) listed as the top four qualities employers felt veterans bring to their organizations:veteran steve stoll

  1. Disciplined Approach to Work
  2. Ability to Work as a Team
  3. Respect and Integrity
  4. Ability to Perform Under Pressure

Former Special Forces Commander and Green Beret, Steve Stoll (above left), and many veterans like him bring these highly valued qualities to Dell as they leave the service and enter their corporate career.

Discipline Equals Results

Stoll knows a thing or two about discipline.  After graduating from West Point and serving 10 years in the U.S. Army, many of those years within the Special Forces unit, Stoll knows how far commitment and a solid work ethic can take you in your career.  And he is not done yet.  He is currently working towards his MBA at the University of Texas in the evenings while making time for his family of (soon to be) five.

“I’ve always been a leader and I feel that’s where I thrive,” shares Stoll. “I want to grow within Dell.  I still have a while before I actually get my MBA and I’m still new to this role, so I want to be as successful as I can in this role and then move forward to a management or leadership position.”

With Stoll’s drive and the support of his management team, there is no doubt he will be moving up the corporate ladder in no time.  “My boss is very good about professional development,” continues Stoll, “making sure we are looking at every avenue we can for career progression.”

Team Focused on Winning Together

When your life is in the hands of your fellow teammates, it’s a given that you are going to strive to work well as a team.  Stoll’s objectives occasionally went beyond his twelve-man U.S. Army Special Forces team to include indigenous forces as well.

His team was tasked with training the Honduran army on counter narcotic and interdiction operations.  At a moment’s notice they were expected to enter unknown land and quickly establish rapport with key leaders to the extent they were trusted to train and lead missions with their troops.

“We lived in the jungle for four months together. We lived off the land, the conditions were horrible, but we all loved it,” remembers Stoll.

Stoll and his teams, from both armies, overcame cultural and language barriers to work together for the successful completion of common missions.

Treating Customers with Integrity

It’s the ability to cultivate relationships based on trust and integrity that sets the U.S. Army Special Forces apart. Operating with very little oversight, the teams are expected to complete missions in politically sensitive areas. Knowing that their actions could have diplomatic implications, the teams act with the utmost professionalism and integrity.

Today, Stoll focuses on his relationships with his Dell Federal customers, honoring the customer focus and integrity that has led the company to its success and contributed to Stoll’s success in growing his business and customer relations.

“We want to use this job not only to drive our business, but do what we can for veterans–give back to the community,” says Stoll.

Innovation Under Pressure

In order to remain successful in this technology-driven time, companies need to stay on the leading edge by innovating at an unprecedented pace to remain relevant.

Thinking dynamically, strategically and finding new resolutions that other people might not know or even think about were skills Stoll honed during his military career.

“The ability to not only think outside the box using minimal guidance, support and resources, but to do so quickly is key in combat and in the technology sector.  And to pull that off, you can’t sweat the small stuff,” says Stoll. “I’ve been through a lot of stressful situations, so maybe I’ll see my peers getting stressed out about a certain thing and I put it in perspective for them.  It helps me in presenting my ideas and growing my business.”

A Code to Live By

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting a Green Beret like Stoll, you know they don’t readily share their experiences. They tend not to look back. But those tough pasts, those lessons learned and those perfected skills make the person they are today.

“It’s hard at times to talk about, but it’s good to talk about. The team I led is in Afghanistan right now, so there’s still people fighting, they’re still out there every day fighting, it’s important to remember it’s still happening,” Stoll shared.

As a constant reminder, Stoll wears a memorial bracelet daily honoring a friend, a teammate that gave his life in service: the ultimate sacrifice.

“I wear it daily to put things in perspective, appreciate every day like it’s your last,” Stoll said. “It’s a good reminder of where we’ve been and the sacrifices that people have made and still make.”

veteran holding hat

(1) The national study was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from August 11 to September 7, 2016 and included a sample of 231 full-time veteran workers and 2,587 hiring managers and human resources professionals across industries 

About the Author: Amy Winebright

Amy Forbes Winebright Amy’s current role as the Global Employment Brand Project Manager at Dell seamlessly melds her earlier career in marketing and sales with more recent experience in brand marketing and human resources. She has worked with small start-up businesses where everyone wears several hats to large corporations. At the heart of it all she is a brand advocate who is thrilled to advocate for Dell, a powerhouse company that values innovation and growth much like a startup, truly the best of both worlds. Outside of work Amy spends time with her family, tries her green thumb out in the garden and loves to see the world through her Canon lens. Follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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