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The Battle of Britain


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A presentation by Stephen Carver for the APM South East branch's 'Leadership in 3PM' event, Wednesday 23rd October, in Crawley

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The Battle of Britain

  1. 1. Leading in Difficult & Uncertain Times The Battle of Britain Stephen Carver FAPM School of Management Cranfield University
  2. 2. Leading in Difficult & Uncertain Times “Eagles may soar high but……. weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines”
  3. 3. Leading in Difficult & Uncertain Times Want to do Don’t want to do Strategic Spontaneous Projects & Adventures Programmes Crisis Events Compliance Projects & Programmes Unplanned Planned
  4. 4. 68% Project Failure Rate Most projects and programmes are doomed to fail....
  5. 5. Flying Analogy
  6. 6. Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III
  7. 7. Chaos Complex or Complicated?
  8. 8. UK Airways System
  9. 9. PPM – Maturity Levels 5 4 3 2 1 World Class Continuous process improvement , success is normal Competitive Controlled and measured processes, results more in line with plans Compliant Standardised, more predictable Minimal Some process, inconsistent success Ad Hoc Disorganised, accidental success
  10. 10. PPM – Strategic Advantage Strategic Contribution Limit of process based approach 5 4 3 2 1 World-class: redefines delivery in the industry, automatically improving, very hard to imitate by competitors, drives business strategy. Competitive: provides source of competitive advantage, focused, metrics determine areas for improvement, supports business strategy. Compliant: follows industry-accepted norms, improvements sporadic, process-focused, cost of failure significant, little strategic contribution Minimal: tasked with ‘not messing up’, some use of standards, reactive, high cost of failure, negative strategic contribution. Ad hoc: unreliable delivery, very high cost of failure, strongly negative strategic contribution
  11. 11. Two Dimensions of Complexity Programme Complex Dynamic Project Agile High Structural Dimension Low Low Dynamic Dimension High
  12. 12. 1940 The Battle of Britain
  13. 13. 1940 Huge number of great planes Huge numbers of pilots Lots of experience Innovative tactics Morale high On a roll Large number of rubbish planes Limited number of pilots Limited experience Traditional tactics Morale low Defeatist
  14. 14. Hugh Dowding Head of RAF Fighter Command Complex/Dynamic More with less
  15. 15. Fighter Command System
  16. 16. Deals with Structural Complexity
  17. 17. Deals with Dynamic Complexity
  18. 18. Hugh Dowding Head of Fighter Command Leigh Mallory Keith Park
  19. 19. Approach Engage in pure fighter raids Engage bomber raids after they bomb Big Wing standing patrols Shoot down lots of planes Pursue stragglers over the sea Douglas Bader Pilots are a individualistic risk taking heroes
  20. 20. Approach Do not engage pure fighter raids Engage bomber raids before they bomb Scramble early – hit and run Aim to break up formations Do not pursue stragglers over the sea Pilots are part of an integrated team
  21. 21. The Luftwaffe: strategically incoherent • Bomb Ports • Bomb Factories • Bomb RAF • Bomb London Goering
  22. 22. The Blitz Hitler expects to terrorise and cow the people of this mighty city… Little does he know the spirit of the British nation, or the tough fibre of the Londoners.
  23. 23. Now Park could really do his stuff …
  24. 24. So What? • • • • • • • • • • Have a clear vision/strategy Do more with less - focus Turn on the radar! Know where you/the “enemy” are Have simple/flexible/agile systems Bend/make the rules Communicate and integrate... Lead/empower/trust Embrace risk & complexity But...
  25. 25. Leadership of Change “There is nothing more difficult to arrange, more doubtful of success and more dangerous to carry through, than initiating change. The change leader makes enemies of all those who prospered under the old order and only lukewarm support is forthcoming from those who would prosper under the new.
  26. 26. Socio Political Complexity Programme Complex Dynamic Project Agile High Structural Dimension Low Low Dynamic High
  27. 27. “If ever any one man won the Battle of Britain, Keith Park did. I don’t believe it is recognised how much this one man, with his leadership, his calm judgment and his skill, did to save not only this country, but the world.” Lord Tedder Chief of the Royal Air Force February 1947
  28. 28. Thank you!