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Centre for Army Leadership

Leading successfully through change was the focus for the Centre for Army Leadership’s 2018 annual conference.

TtU directors Nik Gowing and Chris Langdon shared our findings with an audience of 900 officers and business executives at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.

Centre For Army Leadership conference stage

Our message was on the scale of disruption leaders face, how they can handle it and then thrive on change. This could be applied to the specific leadership challenges faced by the UK army in a time of huge disruption of assumptions about defence and security.

For our 2018 book Thinking the Unthinkable: A New Imperative for Leadership in a Disruptive Age the then head of the army General Sir Nick Carter revealed to us the scale of the challenge.

He described it like ‘eating an elephant in one mouthful’. To overcome the new scale of challenges required ‘humility’ and ‘empathy’ - even in the military.

Like other global leaders interviewed by TtU, he identified “maverick thinking” and risk-taking as new keys to transforming leadership skills. This resonated strongly with the audience. It was one of the themes most tweeted by those at the conference, and generated vibrant conversation among future leaders during the lunch break.