Military Transition Lessons Learned

How Long Hours And Discipline Turned Into Something Big: Wayne Worthington Shares His Transition Lessons Learned.

Wayne Worthington has served as the Vice President of Innovation & TMT Practice for Raines International Inc. where he is the founding consultant of the Dallas office. His primary industry focuses within the practice are technology, business services, and software. Wayne has successfully identified, screened, and placed top talent in both private and public technology companies including: CEO, CFO, COO, Head of Research, and SVP of Sales and Marketing roles.

Previously he was a member of the Korn Ferry Global Software Practice, serving the executive talent needs of global clients operating across multiple segments within search in their software practice. He has led numerous executive searches with global software companies to place executives in multiple positions.

Before entering the civilian sector, Wayne served as a decorated Captain in the United States Marine Corps, where he commanded and led units ranging from 40 to 1000 Marines. In his 5 years of experience, he was instrumental in the implementation of long range training plans to prepare teams for deployment, supervised international training exercises, managed organizations for talent optimization, created alignment of talent, professionally developed direct reports, and implemented strict ethical standards in all of his actions.   

When you transitioned in May of 2019 from the USMC, Infantry what were you most afraid of during your transition? And how did you work through those fears?

I was most afraid that my skills would not easily translate to the civilian sector. At the time, it was difficult for me to articulate and identify potential areas of success after the military. I only knew that I wanted to be a valued member on a high performing team that created tremendous value. I overcame these fears by networking with tens, if not hundreds, of leaders and executives in the industries that were interesting to me.

Wayne is the Marine furthest to the right. This is CAAT II V16, on the 22 MEU in Israel, 2016

What did you do well during your transition? 

I started early, was disciplined in a process, and worked towards receiving as many offers (or “getting as many tickets”) as I could as I approached my EAS date. First, I found someone who would serve as my coach. This individual had made the transition years ago, and served as my accountability buddy to keep me on track with goals we set together. An example of one of these goals was to create a target list of interesting industries, further identify twenty companies in each of those industries, then reach out to network with the managers and executives in those companies. By having the discipline and accountability of a coach/mentor, I started my transition work eight months before my EAS and had four different offers as I was stepping out of the service.

What did you do poorly during the transition and more importantly what did you learn from that failure?

During my transition, I did not share what I had been learning with the other Marines that were transitioning along a similar timeline. Looking back, I did not want to impose my techniques on others, as we were all stepping off in different directions. If I could go back, I would have shared the search strategy and methodologies that I was learning with as many Marines and Sailors as I could.

Aboard the USS Kearsarge during humanitarian operations in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico following Hurricane Irma and Maria in 2018.

What do you miss most about the Military? And do you stay connected to the military family?

In the Infantry we called ourselves the “Jack of All Trades and Master of None.” I sometimes miss the wide-ranging mission sets that we would receive and have to adjust our training to prepare for. Conversely, in the consulting world, you are employed as a specialist. One job is assigned, you come in, completely integrate with the team you are attached to, do the job well, and leave to the next – ready to be called up again. Consultants are used as a tool for a specific problem; like an attachment to be added to the patrol based on their unique skill and fit with the mission. It is fantastic to hone your skills to be an expert in the field you are in. 

I stay connected to a few from my military family. This includes classmates from TBS, IOC, and other Marines from the two units with whom I served.

The Ground Company Unit Lieutenant’s from 1st Battalion, 6th Marines on the 22nD MEU, 2016.

What advice would you give to someone who desires to work in Executive Search and Talent Consulting?

If you are interested in becoming an executive search consultant, work to communicate to the market that you have been assessing talent your entire career. You learned how to lead, motivate, and inspire service members, while also learning how to identify the spark of leadership that inspires a battalion to accomplish seemingly impossible missions. Your military career has most likely been building winning teams. These skills that you learned in allocating the right talent to the task is applicable when it comes to recruiting and talent assessment.

Anything to avoid in the transition?

I would avoid putting all your eggs in one basket. I would also avoid adopting the thinking that the civilian sector will greet you with open arms. It is true that there are many fantastic programs for vets to step into, but they are only allocated to those that work hard to receive acceptance into them. Any transitioning service member can have multiple offers if they put in the work early and seek out new roles. Remember, the best yet hardest time to find a job is when you already have one. Do the work before you get out; don’t coast until the end.

Training with my unit Co. G, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines in 29 Palms, CA 2017.

We were taught to “take the hill.’ That mentality should be applied to the transition out of the service into your next role.

Anything else you would like to say to a soon-to-be transitioning military member?

If you do today what others don’t, you can do tomorrow what others can’t. Write out your goals and share them with someone who can help keep you accountable. Remember that network is king. You control the growth of your network, so get on LinkedIn, look sharp, ask for advice, and express your gratitude when someone gives you their time.

I have also created short video vignettes on LinkedIn and will soon be posting them to YouTube. These videos were created to help pass along tips and tricks on how to transition and be a successful candidate in the hiring process. Check them out and let me know what else you would like to see!

Finding ways to train on the USS SAN ANTONIO LPD-17. ~2016

Since leaving the military you have made several career changes; are there some tools/techniques you have used to successfully make those changes?

The skills that I used to move from the military to my first job were the exact same that I used to move from my first civilian role to my second. Create a search strategy, focus on the industry of interest, identify a list of target companies, generate a roster of the leadership in those companies, connect and network with those individuals. Seek their advice! Ask questions like: If you were in my shoes and were coming up on transition X, what advice would you tell yourself? At the end of the conversation, ask if they would consider connecting you to two others to learn from. This is the process that I have used twice and has allowed me to choose from competing offers and be confident in my decision.

I see that you are a Veteran Transition Mentor, Can you talk about some common mistakes that you frequently see in transitioning service members. 

A common mistake is that transitioning veterans think that they are not able to call the CEO of a company. We have been taught in the military to follow the process and the next thing will come. As a transitioning veteran, you have the highest “rank” in the civilian sector. You contain pure potential for a successful career and many business leaders want you to be successful following your service. Take the time to message the C-Suite members of a company you admire. I would bet that many would return your note to provide advice and suggestions. The civilian sector doesn’t have a process like the military does. Make your luck.

Wayne is an engaged contributor and change leader with bottom line success in rapidly changing environments.  He is ready to contribute to organic business growth and profit improvement by linking strategy, talent, and customer relations.  Wayne leads teams in defining the vision, strategy, and core values through a collaborative process.

He has management experience that was built over three deployments where he developed problem solving skills that supported the execution of strategy.  On his first deployment he supervised a 40 Marine team that stood as a quick reaction force off the coast of both Yemen and Libya. Later, he deployed to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in response to the 2018 hurricane season and assisted in disaster relief and humanitarian assistance on multiple islands. On his third deployment, he served as second in command of 269 Maines and supervised the training and combat readiness for the entire company. Additionally, he served as the Assistant Operations Officer for 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines where he planned, coordinated, and managed the training and deployment perpetration of five different infantry companies. By responding quickly to changes in the environment driven by both internal and external forces, Wayne led all of his organizations to continue success.

As a Platoon Commander, Company Executive Officer, and Assistant Operations Officer, Wayne has a proven track record including major organization leadership, talent development, time and money saving focus techniques, operating process productivity excellence, and successful outsourcing training programs. By using alternative approaches and integrated methodologies, Wayne led his units to focus on quantifiable performance improvement and attainment beyond the set goals and initiatives.

Wayne and his wife, Aynne Worthington, just before my EAS.

Wayne received his Bachelors of Science in Naval Architecture from the United States Naval Academy and will be attending the Tuck School of Business’ Next Step: Transition to Business program this April where he will receive a certificate in general management. He additionally is pursuing his CPCC with the Co-Active Institute for Executive Coaching. He has been married to his wife, Aynne, for 5 years.

Leave a Reply....