A month after leaving his military career, Kris Milne’s white knuckles around the steering wheel showed his apprehension.
During 14 years in the Australian Army, he had risen from the infantry to section commander and finally instructor at the Royal Military College, Duntroon. He had completed three deployments to East Timor.
Yet here he was at the beginning of his civilian career nervously driving a van.
Sitting next to him was his new boss, Mick Spencer, founder of sports apparel company OnTheGo. They were about to front the reality television show Shark Tank to pitch for hundreds of thousands of dollars in seed money. An enormous customisation screen sat in the van behind them.
“I have never driven as scared and cautious as I was then, because if I had broken that screen on the way up there the whole pitch would not have worked,” Milne says.
As it turned out, he and Spencer left ‘the tank’ with the promise of a $600,000 investment, a record sum for the show, and while it never eventuated, the sports enterprise has soared.
At the time of leaving the army, Milne made a swift adjustment to a career in the private sector. So seamless was his switch, he helped launch the Prime Minister’s Veteran’s employment program.
“Some veterans are not so fortunate and need help to make the transition,” Milne says.
He thrived in the fast-paced start-up, which he had been drawn to for the same reason he’d joined the Australian Army – he wanted to be part of something bigger.
Over the next four years Milne taught himself effective selling techniques and rose to regional sales manager.
“While I was there we secured deals with the Australian Catholic University, Hockey Australia and many Canberra companies. The fact I taught myself to grow, put myself outside of my comfort zone and honed my skills in a sales department, I still link all that back to the military,” Milne says.
“While on operations as a section commander I would be directly responsible for the lives of those under my command. You essentially have to sell your plan to higher command for them to entrust you with potentially leading people directly into dangerous situations.”
Now he is deploying his skills as an account executive with Effective People. Second-in-charge, he is a valuable lieutenant to chief executive Dean Hill, and helps drive the processes and vision of the company.
“We see ourselves not as a recruiter but as an organisation finding a better life for people,” says Milne, a father-of-three.
“People are the greatest commodity we have and if you invest in people you can’t go wrong. That’s what drew me to Effective People. I get freedom to provide input, to be collaborative.”
Under Effective People’s stringent processes, staff carry out multiple face-to-face interviews to get a comprehensive feel for a person and determine whether they are a good cultural fit for a company or a department in the Australian Public Service. Nothing is ad hoc or left to chance.
It’s a level of preparedness and attention to detail that suits Kris Milne right down to the ground.
If you are seeking a new job and a better life, contact Effective People on 1300 946 471.
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