War Time Correspondence

I had an interesting conversation with somebody on Wednesday who I had highlighted my blog to. He gave me some good feedback which was encouraging.

He mentioned that my posts came across as though they weren’t really aimed at anyone which I accepted, I’ve said to a couple of people now that I see this blog as a learning aid for me, I don’t really expect many people to subscribe to the feed nor to develop a loyal following of visitors to the site, it’s just something that I can revisit at some point.

He went on to tell me about another member of staff here that had recently attended a Leadership Course that was run in conjunction with the Army. One of the Officers explained to that person that when he was stationed in Iraq he always ended the day by writing home to his wife, a, to keep her up to date of his experiences and b, to consolidate his experiences of that day to himself. This is the point I empathise with the most.

Some time ago now I spent some time in the Terratorial Army, part of my commitment was that I had to go away on Weekend Exercises. These normally meant being stationed at a Transit Camp somewhere in the country and then partaking in various exercises to form part of our training. One of the things that struck me during these weekends was just how quickly everyone slotted together as a team, particularly considering that unlike the normal Army they didn’t necessarily work together on a daily basis. Obviously the Army is very well organised, every had a job to do and they got on with it, we knew our reporting lines and were made aware of the consequences if the tasks weren’t carried out.

The Delivery Team that was assembled for this project have exhibited very similar abilities. They were all put in a room on the first day and presented with the Proposition as it stood and were allowed to feed in with their ideas, on the second day they all had some tasks to carry out which they did with minimal fuss. On the 3rd day I presented the way in which we would be working and described peoples’ responsibilities this brought the team together a little more I think and at the end of that day when we did our first planning session everyone on the team was more than willing to take on their share of the workload, even if it wasn’t what they would normally expect to be doing.

To my mind over those first 3 days the Delivery Team went from a group of individuals assembled to do a project to an effect unit of people. I’d like to say that I was directly responsible, I wasn’t. It will be important that this is replicated on a future Skunkworks style projects, may be it is just the small team ethos that facilitates this maybe not. If there is anyone out there that has any examples of how they set teams up to ensure they are effective from the outset I’d be interested to hear from you, leave a comment if you would.


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