Thirty-six hours after graduating high school, Ted Studdard was on his way to boot camp at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina. He started as a private on a journey that would span four decades, touch five continents, encompass two wars, and ended up as a leader at The Home Depot, the number one home improvement retailer in the world. His stories, observations and experiences as a leader–from desert combat, to the halls of the Pentagon, to the aisles of The Home Depot are sure to enlighten and inspire. Much more than a leadership primer, Depot to Depot provides a great illustration of the transformation that veterans must make as they begin their personal journey from the service back into civilian life, and highlights this huge reservoir of human capital that can be leveraged by Corporate America to reinforce our national economy.
He has appeared as a featured guest on national TV, radio, and podcasts. He is a published author and his book Depot to Depot hit shelves on October 10.
Congratulations on your new book Depot To Depot! Tell me a little bit about the book.
Depot to Depot is a about Transition, Transformation and Leadership told through a series of stories to illustrate the value of veterans to Corporate America and to help veterans better understand their transition out of the service and the transformation they will go through moving into Corporate America. I did not intend to write a leadership book, but the stories have proven to be a great leadership primer.
Was there a specific situation that made you feel the need to start writing your book?
After I returned from Afghanistan, I spoke frequently to audiences of civic leaders, corporate leaders and educators. I realized that the general public supported yet did not understand the capabilities of our service members or the magnitude of their responsibilities. Moving into Corporate America, I served on the Board of Directors for Home Depot’s Military Appreciation Group. In this capacity I travelled across the country speaking to corporate leaders, talent acquisition leaders and service members. I realized that Corporate America wanted to hire veterans and veterans wanted to join Corporate America, but there is a disconnect in understanding and fully leveraging veterans on the part of business. Similarly, I talked to many veterans who were struggling with the transition and the subsequent transformation required to successfully move back into the civilian community. As I was preparing to speak to the Student Veterans of America at their nation meeting, I had a senior level talent acquisition leader approach me. She asked me to be sure to tell the audience that in Corporate America that they had to think. You can imagine how shocked and disappointed I was at her comment, but I knew that she was trying to be helpful – she just did not understand. At that point I knew that I needed to do something more.
Do you have any tips or advice for anyone transition out of the military currently?
First down load my FREE Transition workbook – Take Time To Think. Spend time considering your foundation consisting of Family, Values and Finances. Then set your priorities i.e. what is most important to you and your family. For example some may prioritize location, others may prioritize a specific industry, while some may prioritize job title. There is no right or wrong, just what works best for the service member and their family. The bottom line is to take the time to think about your priorities, which will help direct your next steps.
Second prepare a resume. Although a painstaking, do it your self and have some one in the industry you are interested in review and critique it. Once it is finished move to the MOST IMPORTANT part.
Third, and most importantly, NETWORK in the industry, company and location you are interested in. Ask for meetings/coffee/lunches to build relationships; ask to spend time at work with the people you are talking with and keep on networking…
Are there any books that have had an impact on you and your development?
Many, one of my favorites is MajGen Perry M. Smith’s book Rules and Tools for Leaders. I have used it many times over the years and probably bought over 100 copies for my Officers and Staff Non Commissioned Officers over the years. I just finished a good leadership book that we just bought for our entire team at The Home Depot.
What do you miss most about the Military? And do you stay connected to the military brotherhood?
I miss being with Marines – absolutely best group of people I have ever known. I definitely stay connected, and Linked-in has proven to be a great resource for staying in touch.
What is next for you?
Helping veterans and Corporate America connect; sharing what I have learned about developing people and leaders; and how to effectively lead large organizations through speaking and writing.
I have written a FREE transition workbook Take Time To Think. Go to my website under the books tab. Take Time To Think is a short workbook designed to help service members organize their thoughts and set priorities as they begin their transition planning.
Colonel Ted Studdard has proven himself as a leadership expert with over 30 years of military and corporate experience.
His military resume goes far beyond leading Marines in combat. He taught tactics and leadership at the Marine Corps University, planned and directed combat operations for a 20,000 person multi-national force, engaged in international negotiations, and worked on national strategy in the Pentagon.
After suffering a heart attack, Ted faced new challenges—retiring and charting a new path. Finding The Home Depot, an organization that aligned with his values, helped him transition into the private sector and transform into a corporate leader.
In his second career, Ted’s work in business operations, staffing and leader development has given him a unique perspective on optimizing human capital in corporate America to increase retention, productivity, and teamwork.
He has appeared as a featured guest on national TV, radio, and podcasts. He is a published author and his upcoming book Depot to Depot is set to hit shelves in Fall of 2019.
Colonel Ted Studdard can be reached via Website, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook