But in the military you don't get trusted positions just because of your ability. You also have to attract the notice of superior officers. You have to be liked. You have to fit in with the system. You have to look like what the officers above you think that officers should look like. You have to think in ways that they are comfortable with. The result was that you ended up with a command structure that was top-heavy with guys who looked good in uniform and talked right and did well enough not to embarrass themselves, while the really good ones quietly did all the serious work and bailed out their superiors and got blamed for errors they had advised against until they eventually got out. That was the military.
Learning from your customers is vital to your success. Even if you work in a back office or don't deal directly with the public, you are serving someone in your job. You have a boss--and the boss is really your customer, right? You have to think of the people you work for (and if you have a job, your work for someone) as customers. Doing so gives you greater buy-in to the idea that your job is part of a bigger universe--it's not just you toiling away on a computer making sure the numbers add up (or whatever it is you do). Someone, somewhere, is counting on you to hold up your end of the bargain and to do your job better, and you can learn from that person (or people).
The President has only 190 million bosses. The Vice President has 190 million and one.