Tag: British

Army vs Navy Rugby 2018 – Leadership in Sport

Army vs Navy Rugby

On the 5th May 2018 the British Army and Royal Navy will compete in the 101st Army vs Navy rugby match at Twickenham. The match was first played on the 13th February 1878 and then has been played annually since 1909. This article will explore the idea of sport in the military, the role of leadership and team building in sport and how sport can be used in the civilian workplace.

But first, some facts (and rumours) about the Babcock Series.

Facts (& rumours)

  • In the history of the match the Army have won 61 times with the Navy winning 35 (and 4 draws in between). (Fact)
  • The Army vs Navy Rugby match draws the largest audience of any non-professional sports fixtures in Europe. (Rumour)
  • The 99th series in 2016 drew the biggest crowd of the series with a full stadium of 81,323 spectators. (Fact)
  • Twickenham sells more beer during the Army vs Navy game than they do throughout the rest of the year! (Rumour)
  • Since 1909 the match has been played every single year with the exception of the two World Wars (1914-19 and 1940-45). (Fact)
  • The largest victory was in 2009 when the British Army beat the Royal Navy  50-7. (Fact)

Sport in the British Army

According to the National Army Museum “The British Army has been responsible for establishing many of the sports we know and love today. It has also helped spread activities like football, polo and hockey throughout the world.” For example, a note was scribbled onto the back of the sketch below that said ‘Copied from Sketch done at the time by me. The 59th Regt. played 15 officers against 15 officers of the Candahar Garrison & beat them. I suppose that this was the first game of football ever played in Afghanistan’.

Football being played in Afghanistan for the first time.

Football being played in Afghanistan for the first time.

This is just one of many examples, but why has sport always been so prevalent in the British Army?

A Joint Services Publication (JSP 660) identifies sport as contributing to:

  • Fitness
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Self-discipline & courage
  • Determination
  • Co-ordination
  • Competitive-spirit
  • Individual & collective resilience

Clearly all of the above go someway to increase our soldier’s operational effectiveness but it’s easy to see that these are all traits you might want from your team members or employees.

The Benefits of Sport for all (even civilian) Employees

To a CEO the idea of facilitating your employees to play sport to any degree might not seem cost effective. However when the previous points are each considered on their own merit the advantages are obvious.

Fitness

Having a fit employee is tantamount to having a healthy employee. Countless studies have shown that employees who exercise regularly are more focused when at work and are off sick less!

Teamwork

Clearly the benefits here are obvious. When your employees play a team sport it makes them feel like a team and can even harbour a social relationship. This can help the team to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses as well as encourage your employees to strive for team goals.

Leadership

Leadership in sport is one of the most studied areas in which leadership is practiced. Rather than trying to summarise leadership in sport I would recommend to anyone in business or interested in leadership to read Legacy.

Self Discipline & Courage

Self discipline is what, when things get difficult, will keep your team doing the right thing. It’s what will stop your employees from cutting corners and self-motivate to work towards the common team goal. Courage is what gives your employees their confidence and, in the face of difficult decisions, it is moral courage that will ensure an employee acts in line with the team values. Read more about self discipline and courage in 2017’s Army Leadership Code.

Individual & Collective Resilience

Teams win together and teams lose together. When a team loses together, whether on a project or on a sports field, what’s important is how they react. Sport allows a team to understand different coping mechanisms with failure. These, then practiced in the workplace can lead to a team that is able to bounce back from set backs and continue to work to the end goal.

Can it Work for you?

When looking at companies like Google and Apple who encourage their staff to play sport in work time you might be thinking “I can’t afford to let my employees do that!”. But you’d be wrong. Not only can sport be free to play, it doesn’t even need to be played during work hours – the truth is that you can’t afford not to try if you’re serious about leading a team and not just managing a company.

Have Your Say

Is this a model that is really scalable for small to medium sized businesses or just an idealistic views that disregards the realities of running a company? Let me know in Your Thoughts or comment below and as always i’ll reply and may even elaborate on your thought in a future post.

-The Military CEO

2018 British Army Pay Scales – Is Transparency a Good Thing?

In 2016 the British Army announced their New Employment Model (NEM) which outlined changes to, amongst other things, employee’s pay, pension and accommodation benefits.

I’ve been asked by several people to talk about what I thought about the changes and began thinking about how this could be relevant to the readers who are not employed by the British Army.

In this article I will explore the transparency of the British Army’s pay scale, how it differs to the pay scales of corporate enterprises and the pros and cons of both.

The British Army Pay Scale 2018

Below is a table that lays out the exact pay received by everyone in the British Army. Pay reflects the rank of the individual and the time served in that rank, this is achieved by the banding system.

Rank & Pay Scale of the British Army 2018

Rank & Pay Scale of the British Army 2018

To understand more about the pay scale of the British Army you must also understand how promotion from one band or rank to another works. Promotion from one band to the other is automatic and happens yearly. For example if you spend 3 years as a corporal, you will be earning £31,017, as you’ll be in band 3.

Promotion isn’t as ‘automatic’ but if you’re relatively competent, in the majority of cases, you’ll know when you’re going to promote from one rank to another (within a couple of years). This is because there is a stipulated minimum amount of time everyone must spend in each rank. Once you become ‘in-zone’ i.e. you’re now eligible to promote, your reports will go to a board where they decide if you promote that year or not.

What Are the Positives of a Structured Pay Scale?

Predictability

A system like this allows employees to predict, with a level of confidence, when they should expect their next pay rise. This clearly has benefits when trying to plan one’s financial situation. It allows employees to consider the affordability of babies, holidays and new cars whilst considering what will and won’t be affordable in the future. This prevents employees from ‘hedging their bets’ on that big promotion or pay rise that they might just not get.

Stability

This ties in to the previous point to a certain extent. Unlike bonuses or unpredictable pay rises, having a system such as the British Army’s assures employees that they’re guaranteed a certain wage, which at least within their rank, is guaranteed to go up for between 5-7 years.

Transparency

This system means that both the employer and employee are being open and honest about employee’s pay. It eliminates the risk of salary based rumours and reduces the risk of employee dissatisfaction. As a public service organisation transparency, especially concerning finance, is of course imperative.

Equality

A system like this means that the risk of inequality of pay is reduced significantly. 2 people doing the same job in the same rank with same experience (time served) will earn the exact same salary regardless of gender, race or religion. Read my recent article about The British Army’s Policy on Equality and Diversity to understand why this is so important in a work place.

Of course, one could argue that there is still a possibility for inequality due to the subjectivity of the promotion process – but even this is very unlikely!

Equality in the British Army

Equality in the British Army

Appropriate Pay

When everyone’s salary, from the newest recruit to the Commanding Officer, is public knowledge it forces the people at the top of the chain who set the pay scale to ensure the pay of all employees is justifiable and appropriate. This prevents the high ranked employees (CEO equivalents) from being paid astronomical salaries and bonuses whilst those at the bottom are suffering.

Leadership

It is my opinion that when those lower down the ranks can clearly see the salaries of those above, and see that the salary of the CEO is not over 10 times that of someone new to the company (which can often be the case in civilian organisations), it allows those in charge to communicate with their subordinates in a much more empathetic way. This reduces any resent for the Chain of Command and allows all employees (regardless of rank) to focus on the team goals. More can be read about The British Army’s 2017 Leadership Code.

The 9 values and standards of the British Army

The British Army’s Values and Standards

What Are the Cons of a Structured Pay System?

Incentive

When your salary is set in stone and has limitations on it based on time served and qualifications held, it leaves little opportunity for an employee to excel in the workplace in the hope of a pay rise/bonus. Admittedly, if you excel in the British Army you’re more likely to gain a promotion and subsequently receive a better salary but there are still limits.

Complacency

Likewise if you know that whilst you may not promote, your salary is guaranteed to increase by up to £1,500 a year for the next 5-7 years, it could breed complacency in the work place.

Retention

Highly ranked officers in the British Army are frequently  in charge of over 400 people. With regards to the ‘Appropriate Pay’ point above, it could be argued that a structured pay system does not allow enough of an incentive to remain in the organisation when their peers (managing over 400 people in a civilian environment) could expect to earn over £200,000.

Could a Civilian Company Adopt a Similar Pay Structure?

In short, my opinion is that they couldn’t, although they’d be better people orientated organisations if they could. The reason I don’t think they could is the fundamental differences in a public sector organisation compared to a capitalist one. In an ordinary company you need to be profitable, this might mean paying above the odds for the right person for the job, freezing salaries because you’ve had a bad year, giving someone a pay rise because you don’t want to lose them or a bonus to reflect the money they’ve made for the company.

In the British Army, we all knew the pay structure and what we could expect to earn before we joined up – so we can’t complain! Similar systems are used in other public sector organisations such as the police force and the NHS. Other not-for-profit organisations such as charities have also been known to adopt similar systems.

Have Your Say

If you work for either a public service or civilian organisation/company I’d be interested to hear your opinions on the pros and cons listed above and perhaps any that I’ve not considered! Let me know in Your Thoughts or comment below and as always i’ll reply and may even elaborate on your thought in a future post.

-The Military CEO

Royal Military Academy Sandhurst LGBT. Equality and Diversity

2018 New British Army Equality And Diversity Campaign

Most people living in the UK will have seen the British Army’s new (and controversial) recruitment campaign.  You may have also noticed the equality and diversity theme throughout.  This article is going to look at the importance of equality and diversity in The British Army and why it’s just as important in an ordinary workplace.

Can I Be Gay In The Army. Equality and Diversity - The Military CEO

One of the campaign advertisements

The Recruitment Campaign

In early 2018 The British Army released a campaign to recruit more people from a diversity of genders, sexualities, ethnicities and faiths.  In a series of animations released on social media, the campaign positively answers questions such as “Can I be gay in the army?” and “What if I get emotional in the army?”.  General Sir Nick Carter, the chief of the general staff, said The Army needed to change how it recruited and looked after trainees. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he denied claims that the “This is belonging 2018” campaign showed the army had “gone soft”.

I agree that the campaign doesn’t mean that The Army has gone soft. I do think however that it shows The Army is moving in the right direction to adopt its equality and diversity policies.

Whether the campaign has been successful will be difficult to measure but it depends in the way you measure its success.  If you are measuring it from a recruitment point of view, then i’m not sure if appealing to minorities is the best way to deal with The British Army’s recruitment crisis. However if the aim of the campaign is to convince the public that as an organisation we’re making an effort to ‘move with the times’ then maybe yes, it might have been successful.

It is however my opinion that the campaign IS representative of our values and standards. Read more about our values and standards in an article about The British Army’s New Leadership Code.

Regardless, any publicity is good publicity, so let’s look at the idea of equality and diversity in the workplace.

What Does Equality And Diversity In The British Army Mean?

A Harvard Business Review article recognises the link between good leadership and embracing equality and diversity in the workplace.  But before we even begin to understand why we embrace it, the first consideration should be that it’s the law!

The 2010 Equality Act protects employees against discrimination against the following things:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Marriage and Civil Partnership
  • Race
  • Religion or Belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation

Can The British Army Discriminate?

Yes It Can.

The British Army can, and does (in certain circumstances), sensitively discriminate against the following things:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Sex

Briefly summarised, age is discriminated against in that there are limits on recruitment ages. Disability is discriminated against in certain circumstances when someone would not be able to carry out their duty as a soldier. And finally, sex is discriminated against as females are currently unable to perform certain roles in the military. Sex is the most controversial of the 3 at the moment with females able to fill more and more roles they were previously unable to.

In certain instances The Army can also enforce dress and appearance regulations. Great care is taken however to try and prevent an infringement on people’s religious beliefs.

Why Is Equality And Diversity Important In The Army?

There are many reasons that come to me when thinking about this question.  But in every instance it is my opinion that diversity allows for a more effective fighting unit and team. Read my article that explores the equality in the pay structure in the British Army.

Listed below are just a few of the reasons:

Understanding Other Cultures

A soldier that is able to associate with a culture that the British Army may be operating in provides a huge advantage. Whether it’s due to the soldier’s upbringing, religion or region of upbringing; being able to empathise with local nationals and understand local traditions can often be more valuable than any other type of intelligence.

The British Army talk to local nationals in Afghanistan, 2008. Equality and Diversity

The British Army talk to local nationals in Afghanistan, 2008.

Speaking Other Languages

For many of the reasons listed previously some soldiers are multi-lingual. In non-English speaking regions we are required to use interpreters. Having a soldier on your patrol that speaks the native language is invaluable!

A Diversity Of Skills

I don’t need 30 soldiers that are expert shots. The British Army requires expert medics, cooks and engineers too. It requires people that are compassionate, people that are strong and people that are clever. If you know someone who is an expert at all of the above and more, send that person my way – but the point is that different people of different cultures, religions and sexes may be better at different things.

A Diversity Of Experiences

Some of my soldiers have been in The Army since 16 whilst others have held civilian jobs for 10+ years before joining. This not only gives us the ability to understand the differences when working with civilians but also take advantage of those skills learnt, and in some cases mastered, before joining The Army.

Because It’s The Right Thing To Do

As an army we preach morals, ethics and values. As a leader how can we preach values in certain instances and not in arguably the most important instance.

What You Should Do As A Leader To Encourage Equality And Diversity

There are many things you can do as a leader. Some are easy and some much more difficult.

Recruit Equally and Diversely

This is the easiest of all if you’re in the position to do it.  But practice what you preach and do what the heading says, recruit equally and diversely.

Challenge Inappropriate Language and Behaviour

This ties nicely into the saying “the standard you walk past is the standard you accept”. I’ll let the previous Australian Chief of Army Lieutenant General David Morrison explain. This is one of my favourite videos of all time when teaching values and standards.

Manage Banter

As a leader ensure that you’re very clear about where the line is between harassment or bullying and banter. This leads nicely on to enforcing another of my favourite phrases.

The intent of what you do or say does not matter, it is the impact of what you do that you’ll be judged on.

Encourage Inclusivity

As every post i’ve written suggests, a manager has employees, a leader has a team. You are just one person so it is imperative you encourage an inclusive culture and expect it of every single one of your team.

Have Your Say

Equality and diversity in the armed forces is controversial in almost every army around the world. Do you think that there still remains a place for discrimination in the armed forces and to what extent? Let me know in Your Thoughts or comment below and as always i’ll reply and may even elaborate on your thought in a future post.

-The Military CEO

Team addressing the British Army on the Army Leadership Code 2017

2017 The New British Army Leadership Code

This article by The Military CEO will explore the new British Army Leadership Code so that you can try and apply it within your team. Developed in the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst the Army Leadership Code has been based on both experience and academic studies. With the work already done for you why not see if you can improve your leadership style and subsequently the team around you.

Since writing this article a great example of the British Army practicing what it preaches can be found when looking at their brand new advertising campaign!

The Army Leadership Code

General Sir Nick Carter is currently the professional head of the British Army as the Chief of General Staff. In September 2015 the CGS released the Army Leadership Code as a leadership guide for both soldiers and officers. The code consists of 7 behaviours that with a mixture of coaching techniques can create the ultimate team. This article will break them down so that you might be able to adopt them in your work place. Watch General Sir Nick Carter and the Army Sergeant Major talk about why the Army Leadership Code is important below.

Your leaders, junior or senior will be developed by following the code, so that they are supported and challenged to do the right thing every time. It helps all to be an outstanding member of a team that will succeed whenever and wherever called upon to do their duty.

Our Values and Standards

The British Army’s values have founded The Army Leadership Code. These values are:

  • Courage
  • Discipline
  • Respect for others
  • Integrity
  • Loyalty
  • Selfless commitment
The 9 values and standards of the British Army

The British Army’s Values and Standards

They represent what the British Army stands for and what set us apart from society. We apply our values through our standards which remind our Army to act:

  • Appropriately
  • Lawfully
  • Totally Professionally

These ‘Values and Standards’ of the British Army are not new. However the Army Leadership Code simply pulls together what has been proven to work throughout history and most recently on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The New Army Leadership Code

The Army Leadership Code consists of seven leadership behaviours:

  • Lead by example
  • Encourage thinking
  • Apply reward and discipline
  • Demand high performance
  • Encourage confidence in the team
  • Recognise individual strengths and weaknesses
  • Strive for team goals

The Theory Behind It

The code has been developed from the concept known as ‘values based leadership’. For some years now this has been applied in British Army training establishments .

The Army Leadership Code draws from academic leadership theory with empirical evidence that proves it works. At the heart of the Army leadership Code are the 7 leadership behaviours listed above developed from the principles of transformational and transactional leadership theory.

The seven leadership behaviours of the British Army Leadership Code 2017

The Army Leadership Code @ArmySgtMajor

Lead By Example

You cannot lead people beyond where you’re willing to go yourself. All leaders are role models and must demonstrate your team’s values in everything you do. Whether in or out of the team environment a leader must demonstrate behaviour that aligns with the team’s values. By consistently doing so, a leader will be considered an authentic leader who ‘walks the walk’ as well as ‘talking the talk’. Read my article that explores how the British Army pays its employees is a great example of leadership.

Encourage Thinking

The brain, like a muscle, develops through use. Leaders must encourage those they lead to think by giving them problems that stretch them. Individuals must be encouraged to ‘Think outside the box’, finding an innovative solution to problems is a fine quality. Giving people the opportunity to think and suggest ideas demonstrates respect for others, generates trust and confidence therefore building loyalty.

Apply Reward And Discipline

It is human nature to enjoy being praised, and reward recognises effort, inspiring further endeavour and motivation. Leaders must apply a full range of rewards, from formal recognition to timely and regular praise. You should never underestimate the value of a ‘Well Done’ or ‘Good Effort’. Reward should be constructive and support the individual or team in further optimising performance. The correct application of reward promotes loyalty and respect for others.

The application of discipline, regardless of seniority is crucial to correct failings and reprimand transgressions. Leaders must not shy away from discipline when required and do so in a timely fashion. Ensure that an appropriate process of discipline escalation is outlined within your team or organisation.

Demand High Performance

Any team will experience an amount of external competition. Whether it’s business competition for clients or contracts or sporting competition. Leaders should have high performance expectations and communicate them to their teams. This applies to every part of your organisation in order to support one another. A word of caution, performance expectations must be tuned to the team and achievable, otherwise they can be de-motivational.

Encourage Confidence in the Team

Leaders must inspire and motivate their teams to achieve. This is done by demonstrating confidence in their abilities, and talking enthusiastically about success. Reinforce the importance of teamwork, and show trust in the authority of the team.

Recognise Individual Strengths and Weaknesses

Every person has something to offer the team, and everybody has areas requiring development. Leaders must identify these individual strengths and weaknesses and address them accordingly, to ensure that the team fulfils its potential and achieves all it can achieve.

Strengths must be played to, and challenged to inspire confidence and motivate additional effort to stretch even further, always seeking to optimise performance.

Try and address and discuss weaknesses in an understanding and considerate manner. Focus on the root of the problem and the potential to improve rather than the current impact of the weaknesses.

Coaching techniques are extremely useful in addressing both individual strengths and weaknesses.

Strive for Team Goals

Teams will always achieve more than the individual, but the difference between good and great teams is usually the degree of team spirit that bonds them together. Challenging the team to accept and strive for shared goals will create shared purpose, bind them together and foster esprit de corps. The team should be inspired by a variety of goals whether they’re business based, sporting or otherwise (e.g. charitable).

Have Your Say

As explained this is the British Army Leadership Code, whilst i’m a firm believer do you think this particular code could be adopted in a business organisation? Let me know in Your Thoughts or comment below and as always i’ll reply and may even elaborate on your thought in a future post.

-The Military CEO

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