The dirty military secrets for fostering agile culture, trust and effective collaboration.
In 2002 I joined a crisis meeting with 30 other fighter pilots. It was the second week after I arrived at the rapidly build Army tent camp just north of Afghanistan. I was still trying to get used to the fact that I was now in a war zone. It all seemed unreal. The commander explained that the meeting was called for, because we had experienced another serious accident. The cause of the accident was categorized as “pilot mistake” – Again. A Danish F-16 aircraft had crashed in Afghanistan. It was the third severe incident just that week. Fortunately, the pilot survived, despite first having to eject and then landing in an active minefield.
What happened next was very natural to me at the time, but something I later found out is actually quite rare in organisations. Something very powerful. Something many organisation say they do, but something I’ve only experienced a few organizations actually capable of really doing….
Now, you might be thinking; This is a nice war story and all, but my business problems are very different then what’s going on in a military tent camp in war. The most dangerous thing I do, is to carry a cup of “not so dangerously” hot coffee to my desk.
I will give you that, our problems in business are different for sure, but personally I’ve arrived at the conclusion, that the underlying principles of what drive humans to perform and collaborate in situations with complexity and uncertainty are exactly the same. Exactly !
I’ve spent half my carrier as a fighter pilot, the other half dealing with agile and helping companies create products customers love. I’ve experimented with transferring some of the lessons from my past to the business world and I will share some of the stories and perspectives with you. I hope the brave ones of you might be inspired to try them out.