Defence Connect Symposium

What it was

Talks and breakout sessions on social collaboration in defence, with various speakers including knowledge management consultant Chris Collison, held at MOD on 24 October 2018.

What I learned

  • Knowledge is key to the defence enterprise
  • The need for additional logins is a barrier to adoption of social collaboration in defence
  • Not everyone is happy to use a personal device for work
  • We need processes and curation around wikis and similar tools.

Social Collaboration:

  • Collaboration is the combination of:
    • Authenticity
    • Trust
    • Passion
  • Authenticity – being your own open self, known to yourself and to others – is key for successful social collaboration
  • Trust requires vulnerability. It thrives under reciprocation.
  • Tom Davenport’s “kindergarten rationale” posits on when and why
  • Passion is enthusiasm, commitment, devotion, curiosity
  • A simple model for online communities:
    • Communities of interest
    • Communities of practice
    • Communities of purpose
  • Learning communities can be thought of across various dimensions:
    • Inside vs outside
    • Formal vs informal
    • Learning from, each other with
  • The Met Office have a simple charter for their communities of practice: its purpose, membership, roles, ways of working and tools, behaviours, and its outcomes and measures
  • Consumers, contributors, creators – the rule thumb ratio is
    90:9:1. Defence connect is about 70:20:10 which is healthy.
  • Syngenta used “TREE” awards for their communities of practice; for Transfer of a good practice, Reuse of a good practice, Embedding a good practice, sharing a difficult Experience.

What I will aim to do differently as a result

  • Explore whether we can get the app installed on official phones
  • Export and explain the success that the Army has had.
  • Explore how Defence Connect can formally support learning via the DLMC project
  • Re-engage with the online defence and wider Government communities

SLS/FLS MOD engagement event

What it was:

Talks and conversations with senior leaders and alumni of development schemes, mainly from within defence, at the Ministry of Defence on 5 March 2018

What I learned:

  • Action Inquiry: Every moment is an opportunity for development, experiment, reflection
  • Exploit your competitive advantage
  • Seek out role models
  • Who you work with is more important than what you work on
  • Need to be sharp and concise on commissioning the right work from the right person
  • You can’t afford to have an off moment, especially when in large groups
  • Have respect for the people in your team; that means preparing properly when speaking to groups
  • As an introvert you need to be an actor, and build in recovery time on your own
  • “Positive deviance” – the ability to challenge and do things in New ways. Leaders need to be able to observe and enable this behaviour
  • In the second year of the schemes there is more onus on self organising networks. There is not an anchor – it becomes a fight to stay in contact with people.
  • Need to challenge the other people in your cohort, if they don’t contribute they are taking a place away from others who wanted to be on the scheme
  • FLS makes you better able to succeed at SCS interviews as it helps you frame your style, think about the emotional impact, talk about your corporate contribution
  • End of scheme reviews are in December January

What I will aim to do differently as a result:

  • Try to pursue partnerships with specific individuals who are likely on a similar development journey as me
  • Look up the “two pies” approach (?) that was mentioned
  • Make a concerted exploration on doing a secondment to industry
  • Practice being more precise in commissioning work from others
  • Take more time to prepare for speaking to the team
  • Gather contact details for others on development schemes and try to maintain the network

Future Leaders Scheme: Module one – introduction

What it was:

An introductory session to the residential Future Leaders Scheme (FLS) residential module at Ashridge.

The objectives of the module:

  • Build network and relationships
  • Develop personal leadership development Goals
  • Gain insight into your leadership strengths and styles
  • Insight into how your behaviours impact others
  • Aware of neurological and physiological responses to pressure
  • Develop your own leadership brand

What I learned:

Watch out for crises – they can be addictive!

It’s lonely at the top and you can trust the feedback you get less and less. Have a small number of confidantes.

Leading change and transformation is the leadership required in the high uncertainty, high disagreement quadrant.

Management is doing things right – Leadership is doing the right thing.

An organisation can be thought of in different ways, as a Newtonian machine, as a natural system, or as a psychic prison of what you can and can’t do.

Peter Robertson:  all business efforts undergo an s-curve of success followed by decline. Successful organisations jump as their s-curve dies.

What I will aim to do differently as a result:

  • Build relationships with a small number of senior confidantes.
  • Try to write down my personal brand.
  • Ask the team whether they are being stretched, being challenged, being developed.
  • Think about whether I occupy the same role in leadership at work as I did or do in my family.