Today the 25th of April we celebrate ANZAC day. We pause to remember the day and pay tribute to the thousands of Australian and New Zealand soldiers who landed in Turkey and were killed by an army that knew they were coming.

But that’s not why we celebrate ANZAC day. We celebrate because of what happened after.

When it became clear that they were going in for a hard battle the soldiers did not retreat, they did not hide, and they certainly did not surrender. They adapted their plan immediately and these bunch of “mates” summoned courage they didn’t know they had to fight the bravest fight of all.

Stories re-told through the years to come tell us about a spirit of mateship, humour and courage that still inspire us 99 years later. Even after that terrible tragedy on 25 April 1915, 36 000 people immediately volunteered to join the army, willing to sacrifice their lives for their country and their mates.

Does the ANZAC spirit exist today?

Showing courage, bravery and a willingness to risk your life for your country is admirable.

In a small way we can also evoke some of this spirit  in business and how we work.

Never give up – adapt

It doesn’t matter how well we plan sometimes bad things do happen and we may not be prepared for it.

In such times the most common reactions are:

  • Do Nothing –  “It won’t impact me” “I just need to ride it out and it will come good at the end”

This is the denial response. Avoiding reading, talking or hearing about what’s happening in the hope that it will just go away. These are the businesses that are no longer in business because they didn’t listen or learn what their market was doing. They continued to stay stagnate until there was no more business left to save.

  •  Give up – “It’s no use” “There’s nothing I can do to change it” “Why even bother”

This is the “victim” response. If you think you can’t – you’re right.  These businesses would rather get out of the game entirely than change what they’re doing.

Don’t be afraid to change your plan. Adapt to the circumstances immediately. Listen to what’s going on around you and the external environment so you can act as soon as possible.

Do it for your mates

Amazing things happen when you work together with a bunch of people who are working for the right reasons.

Feeling connected with others that share your values and you know will support you through the hard times is how businesses become successful.

Celebrate together and share your memories of the good times and the bad times. Its these shared experiences that will strengthen the bonds in your team.

It’s a little bit cliché but the old “All for one and one for all” culture works a treat.

Like an original ANZAC once said when asked why he risked his life to save his mate:

“”I’d rather be killed than leave them there to die”

So when you listen to the symbolic trumpet playing the Last Post on ANZAC day and bow your head for one minute’s silence think about how you may demonstrate the ANZAC spirit in your own way.