We’re excited to introduce another valued Employer Partner of The Honor Foundation and an Alumni who is now part of their family.
These are companies and organizations who have hired men and women from our program and/or who have generously given us their time, resources and connections in an effort to help build a stronger network for our Fellows after service — a community post community.
Q1 What advice do you have for those who are experiencing transition?
Nate Chundrlek: Pursue what you are passionate about and do not allow doors to close on you. If doors are closed, breach them with the tools THF gives you throughout the process.
Ted Handler: Focus on introspection and commit to the time that it takes to figure out what really makes you tick – what makes you happy. Why did you enjoy working with the people you did? The mission? The culture? The people? Once you know this – your why – you can then seek out opportunities that are complimentary to your values, interests and strengths and then work doesn’t even seem like work! Additionally – don’t expect offers to appear when you are six months out from retirement…we are used to that in the military. Offers will come, but they come much closer to when you are getting out than will be comfortable. Finally, have confidence in your experiences and know you will not see any leadership challenges in the civilian or corporate world that you cannot draw an analogous example from your military experience. The situation is likely different but the leadership skills to navigate the challenge are certainly in your tool kit.
Q2 What experience shaped who you are?
NC: Dig deeply into your soul and be honest as to what makes you happy. Embrace the cups of coffee with those outside your comfort zone and discover new things. Try to determine what you do not want to do and then narrow down on those things you would like to do.
TH: I think all our collective experiences shape who we are, but obviously some more than others. Ice hockey has always been a big part of my life and a number of coaches, teams, experiences in that realm definitely shaped me. Same is true for surfing and snowboarding and outdoor activities. Obviously, the military shaped who I am today as well, different leaders I worked both for and with, (both good and bad) as well as teammates. In particular, there were a number of teachers that shaped me as well. One in particular had a tremendous impact on my life and he just recently passed away. Never forget to let those that shaped you know about the positive impact they had on you. Take the time to just say thank you and let them know.
Q3 What is your favorite interview question?
NC: What are the most important things you would like to see someone accomplish in the first 30, 60, 90, 365 days on the job. This lays out the expectations to you, on what you can expect to be doing during the on onboarding process. It will allow you to make goals to yourself and determine if you and the company are on the same page.
TH: What do you think makes you qualified for this position? This question is actually much more complex than first glance. It opens the door to not only just talk about professional qualification, but you have an opportunity to talk about your own personal leadership philosophy and how you would apply it to the position and demonstrate a good fit for the organization such as common values etc.
Q4 What similarities did you find between your role at STIHL and your previous experience in the SOF community?
NC: #1 thing is team work from the bottom up everyone is focused on the same goal
TH: People and places change but leadership challenges are everywhere, even in the greatest of organizations, but with the good ones, the desire to continuously improve exists. I find that to exist here at STIHL and in the SOF community. Better every day.
Q5 What makes the culture at your company special?
NC: STIHL is the global leader in the Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE) market, and this brings a great sense of pride to every employee. We are also a privately held company, and this brings a sense closeness throughout the organization.
TH: Long term outlook. People have the freedom to experiment, analyze, dialogue and deliberate about work because we are not concerned about “next quarters earnings numbers”. We are more focused on how can we best position ourselves to remain the market leader for the next ten, twenty, fifty years. The attitude improves and people have fun at work as a result.
Q6 What question are you asked more than any other?
NC: Can you help me get a job at STIHL? This is where Networking plays a big role in the civilian life. Getting to know people from various organizations who might be able to recommend you for an open position.
TH: I had to think about that a bit – but because I work on a particular long-term project that will change the way in which we conduct many of our daily activities, I am frequently being asked “when”.
Q7 What drives you every day?
NC: To be a part of a global organization with a humble beginning, which almost 100 years later is still growing. The pride in knowing we have the best brand of OPE in the world makes it enjoyable to say I am a part of it.
TH: To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield in my quest to serve. Long story there…it’s my “why” developed while I was in THF cohort 12…hit me up for a cup of coffee and find out more…lol
Q8 What book do you find most valuable?
NC: History books are my favorite. I think it is important to know where we came from. The good as well as the bad, so that we can remember the impactful things we did as well as the mistakes, so that they are not repeated. When we analyze the past, we can better understand where we are going.
TH: Neuro-Ledarskap co-authored by my THF Coach, now friend and mentor Stefan Falk.
Q9 What is a lesson you learned the hard way?
NC: Sometimes it’s best to keep quiet and listen to the surrounding conversation before injecting an opinion.
TH: Some battles aren’t worth fighting. Lot’s to unpack there and again – to the THF fellows…hit me up for a cup of coffee – LOL.
Q10 What defines a leader?
NC: A leader is only defined by the people who work for them.
TH: Wow. There’s volumes on that one…but for me it comes down mostly to having a solid base of values and then the courage and discipline to stick to them – the exercise of being the example for the practice of integrity.
Q11 What is your favorite quote?
NC: “Never tell people how do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity” – General George Patton.
TH: I have a lot of favorite quotations, but based on having just thought about your last question, this one comes to mind: “Leadership is not about being in charge, Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.” (Simon Sinek)
Q12 *STIHL specific: What unanticipated skills, talent, and/or competencies did you gain for employing Special Operators at your organization?
SOF Operators bring a confident can do attitude, critical thinking/questioning and an inquisitive, innovative, objective approach to solving business problems the same way they achieved mission success in the military.