Leadership & Ethics

CAAL Podcast Series Episode #1: Application of Innovation, Risk Tolerance, Opportunism and Leading through and beyond failure within the Australian Army - Brigadier Ian Langford:

By The Centre for Australian Army Leadership November 9, 2021

Centre for Australian Army Leadership Podcast Series
Leadership excellence is vital to the Profession of Arms. Arguably, there is no more important factor in deciding the result of battle, enhancing the welfare of subordinates, or engendering trust from superiors, than excellent leadership. Whether leading one’s self, small teams, organisations or strategically, excellent leadership inspires great Service, Courage, Respect, Integrity, and Excellence, and propels an Army in Motion.

The CAAL aims to inform, educate, connect and advance Army’s professional discourse on leadership, character and ethics. We also undertake efforts to optimise Army’s culture and solidify Army as a profession, entrusted by our nation. Our people innovate and develop their leadership ideas across every work environment. Army will reach its potential by harnessing these ideas and sharing our best leadership initiatives across the profession. CAAL doesn’t have all the answers; however, we have reached wide into our Army and civilian professional network to get the best subject matter experts, in order to elevate these initiatives from their organic start points into deliberate improvements to Army leadership.

Even though a podcast is a one-sided medium, it helps in building effective relationships with CAAL’s listeners. It gives the feeling that you, as listeners, know the person speaking. In doing so, helps build trust and encourages you to be associated with what CAAL is trying to impart for Army and our wider listeners. Hopefully, this in turn leads to improved conversation. 


Podcast #1  Brigadier Ian Langford DSC and Bars, Director General Future Land Warfare


Application of Innovation, Risk Tolerance, Opportunism and Leading through and beyond failure within the Australian Army

In a dynamic and unpredictable world, which we refer to as an environment of Accelerated Warfare, leaders must be prepared to embrace opportunity and act fast. This can be achieved by establishing a vision, but accepting that detailed planning is not always possible. The vision allows the team to ‘think big’ and to take the smallest executable step by ‘starting small and moving fast’. The team can then assess the initial outcome, adjust effort where required, and then take the next executable step with minimal delay. The team may encounter some risks and setbacks to work through, but if the leader; establishes the right environment, encourages creativity, enables adaptation, manages risk and maintains a bias for action, then success may be realised sooner.

Leaders must empower their people to learn through boldness, innovation and the inevitable failures and setbacks required to achieve ultimate success. The commitment of resources and reputation can be progressive, and risks can be consciously embraced and mitigated. This approach encourages people to seize opportunity and act in uncertain environments, knowing they are supported by leaders who have set the right environment and are willing to lead them through and beyond failure. 



The Centre for Australian Army Leadership

Formed in 2019 and based in Canberra, the Centre for Australian Army Leadership (CAAL) is the ‘centre of excellence’ developing leadership, character and ethics initiatives within the Australian Army. CAAL is responsible for delivering the Australian Army Leadership Program (AALP) across all promotion courses. Visit the RMC-A DPN page and find the CAAL tab for a range of leadership articles and videos for your next professional military education session. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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