Lessons From The Australian Defence Force & Corporate Enterprise
After 12 years in the Military (Army and Air Force) and now over 10 years in the corporate sector, I wanted to share my insights in an effort to help anyone looking to develop themselves or others, in achieving improved leadership and high performance.
This series of Leadership and Agile ‘learning lessons’ have been drawn from my time in the Australian Defence Force, beginning as an Australian Army ‘Digger’ (Private) at Kapooka (Boot Camp) across a time span of 12 years until leaving active service having reached the rank of Flight Lieutenant in the RAAF. In that time, I had the honour of serving the nation in many roles across Australia in postings and military exercises including; Pitch Black, Suman Protector, CROC, Hamel and Talisman Sabre as well as numerous overseas deployments in East Timor, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Iraq and Afghanistan. The exposure to unique, challenging and often demanding environments provided an opportunity like no other, and the training I received (which included a lot of mentoring and support) that prepared me for the experience was second to none.
Before leaving full time service I was compelled to return to Officer Training School (Royal Australian Air Force) to give back and help prepare the next generation of Junior Officers referencing my own experience to solidify the importance and need for training. I spent 3 1/2 years at OTS as both an Instructor and a Course Director for 2 courses – responsible for developing and delivering the Leadership component of the training. This was a highlight of my career and was as demanding and rewarding as any of my overseas deployments. From here my passion for developing others was forged.
Following my next posting I felt it was time to settle down (stay put) and joined the ‘Corporate Ranks’ where I found the perfect role – one that aligned my Military Agile expertise with Corporate Agile needs. This was when I was introduced to the Agile Manifesto. I’ve spent the last six years working my way through the agile roles, from Dev Lead to Scrum Master and now Coach. During this time I have applied learned techniques while also acquiring new ones, finding the balance between Military Agility and Corporate Agility, while building successful, high performing teams through a series of failures and learnings. I Tested and Adjusted my approach, style and techniques, utilising elements of XP, DAD, Scrum, Kanban and SAFe frameworks until eventually earning a role as an Agile Coach. I feel the lessons found here may provide an insight into how you do, or apply, your own leadership and coaching-style development. I hope you find them interesting, entertaining and thought provoking. I feel the techniques and approach detailed within can be applied in any situation or environment – with an aim to building a productive, resilient, agile team.