2018 Centre for Army Leadership (UK) Conference: Successfully Leading Through Change

In November 2018, the Centre for Army Leadership (UK) ran an international leadership conference at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst examining the theme: Successfully Leading Through Change. CAL (UK) kindly invited The Cove to attend as part of the wider international Professional Military Eduction network and we would like to share some of the conference highlights with our readers.

The morning session consisted of a number of speakers who provided excellent insights into effective leadership during change, disruption and transition. The varied backgrounds of the speakers provided a wide range of perspectives, and each speech contains gems that we are sure will spark debate in the Australian Army.

The four key addresses were by:

  • Nik Gowing and Chris Langdon - authors of Thinking the Unthinkable: A New Imperative for Leadership in the Digital Age.
  • Dr Margaret Hefferman, who spoke about the perils of 'wilful blindness' among leaders.
  • John Manzoni, the CEO of the UK Civil Service (the equivalent of the Australian Public Service) who gave a fascinating talk on transformational change within a public body
  • David Marquet, retired US Navy submarine commander and author of the bestselling book, Turn the Ship Around: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders

The presentations were followed by a panel discussion where the presenters took questions from the international audience.

The afternoon consisted of closed door plenary sessions during which senior leaders from across politics, industry, public bodies and defence spoke about their personal experiences of leadership.

The videos of the morning presentations and panel discussion are highly recommended, both for your personnel development as well as a resource for unit PME. They are a great start point around which you can gather your team, watch one of the presentations and then talk about it as a group. How will you cope as a team with unforeseen changes? How do you want to develop your subordinates and soldiers? How can you avoid cognitive bias and 'wilful blindness?

Many thanks to The Centre for Army Leadership for the invitation to attend and for making the presentations available for us to publish on The Cove.


Watch or click on the links below to view to the videos from the Conference.  

Center for Army Leadership 2018 Conference Introduction

Mr Nick Gowling and Mr Chris Langdon - Thinking the Unthinkable

Dr Margaret Heffernan - Willful Blindness, The Perils of Leadership

Mr John Manzoni - A Personal Perspective on Change Leadership

Mr David Marquet - Turning the Ship Around


Professor Lloyd Clarke - The Panel Discussion