In Global Strategic Trends, Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) tells us to change the way we think and the way we lead to meet the challenges of the future.
This, along with the key findings of the Chilcot Report, and specifically the highlighted dangers of group think, suggests we should consider how we enhance leadership development across defence.
In 2018, CDS, Global Strategic Trends was quoted as saying:
“We must learn to think differently, creating, inventing, designing, introducing new processes, new ways of thinking, new forms of leadership and management.”
The Leaders for Tomorrow Series is an exciting and successful student led initiative being piloted over three talks, the audience included students from across senior and advanced faculties, course designers, academics and internationals.
Major Towler, SCOTS Intermediate Command and Staff Course and Lieutenant Colonel (Lt Col) WJ Meddings R ANGLIAN Advanced Command and Staff Course who are both currently students at Defence Academy were inspired following a secondment with the Forward Institute, a non-profit leadership company in London who aim to promote responsible leadership across the public, private and social sectors.
The Joint Services Command Staff College (JSCSC) is the single institution in defence that can truly impact tri-service leadership across all defence tasks. It is unique and can take forward the initiative to break down any stigmas within the workplace.
The main aim of this initiative is to enhance the development of defence’s leaders, making them ready to tackle tomorrow’s challenges; enhance leadership development at the JSCSC through increased diversity of thought and external stimulation; influence the way leadership is taught, viewed and practised across defence.
Responsible leadership is developed through a combination of character, the company we keep, and the context we’re in; therefore it is imperative that we promote diversity of thought in our leadership development, inspire responsible behaviour and understand tomorrow’s challenges.
AVM Chris Luck, Chief Executive Defence Academy and Commandant Joint Services Command and Staff College Defence Academy said:
“This is an excellent example of the evolution of students engaging and shaping education through self-organising and self-selection."
The initiative will be a useful addition to the academy for three reasons. The first is that diversity of thought and reflection are two key drivers of leadership development. The second is that the challenges we will all face in the future will demand new ways of thinking, leading and managing, and these can be better informed by external opinions. And finally, if the golden thread of our courses is genuinely going to be leadership, then leadership development should be wider than individual CLM modules.
Commodore Heber Ackland, Head Advanced Faculty and Assistant Commandant (M) said:
"We are hugely supportive of student led initiatives which provide new perspectives, encourage student empowerment and inspire work across faculties."
Major Timothy Towler, said:
“I hope that the series inspires responsible behaviour, promotes diversity and collaboration, and helps people to understand the challenges of today and tomorrow. More than anything, I hope that the topics will provoke thought and lead to action. Whether it is in the enhancement of our people’s well-being, or improving our approach to tackling climate change. It will all hopefully help to enhance leadership development.”
Lt Col WJ Meddings Advanced Command and Staff Course added:
“Effective leadership development is a combination of thinking, doing and reflecting. What Tim and I want to do is add to the already excellent Command Leadership and Management (CLM) modules delivered by the Defence Academy by providing a different perspective that students can reflect on. That is why reflection is an important part of the event. It is also why the event is run in an informal environment, allowing attendees of every rank and job to share their thoughts about what they’ve heard.”
The next talk ‘It’s the Climate, Stupid’, will be 5 March 2019 this talk will be provided by Ed Gillespie, a British environment entrepreneur, author and campaigner, focusing sustainability and innovation. The talk focuses on the responsibility of leaders when it comes to climate change.