Changing the army - how?

Proff3RTR

War Hero
And therein lies the weakness. A strong character would have had that conversation in private and in person. Potentially unpleasant and emotive but there's no evidence of who said what and how it was received and no one make any mad claims.

As it is. The utter moron who sent said email has exposed themselves to infamy. Said infamy may be unjustified but.

They are now toxic goods as far as the RN should be concerned and if we had a politican leading MoD who forced VSOs to live by V&S then said moron would be made to resign or outright sacked.
And that I think you will find is the problem, V&S, all here I bet can recount moments when V&S were over looked, or even ignored on numerous occasions by VSO and lower. Moral courage and all the other trappings of the army ethos etc are a great standard to hold people to, however, they are only as good as those who enforce them, and nowadays the times when they are not, or indeed when the old adage of ‘do as I say, not as I do’ are becoming more and more prevalent. Again, my own POV many may disagree, but debate is important in these situations.
 
And therein lies the weakness. A strong character would have had that conversation in private and in person. Potentially unpleasant and emotive but there's no evidence of who said what and how it was received and no one make any mad claims.

As it is. The utter moron who sent said email has exposed themselves to infamy. Said infamy may be unjustified but.

They are now toxic goods as far as the RN should be concerned and if we had a politican leading MoD who forced VSOs to live by V&S then said moron would be made to resign or outright sacked.
I think you can tell a great deal about a leader by how they communicate with their direct reports. By “how”, I mean both the language and the method was of delivery.

Firstly, the content. That email is very authoritarian. It’s a one way directive that does not allow any discussion or reply. It’s also narcissistic the author is reinforcing a position as the one voice of what is a very large organisation. It’s hardly going to generate an atmosphere of collaborative, collective responsibility which is how a board should operate.

Secondly, the method of delivery. Using email as a means of delivering this kind of message is pretty brutal and uncaring for ones immediate reports. In any commercial organisation, if the Chairman of the Board wrote that kind of email, he’d find himself looking at an empty board table and a stack of constructive dismissal claims.

I’m seeing an authoritarian leadership style that relies on positional power and brooks no debate. It’s his way or the high way. The kind of leader who attracts acolytes beneath his immediate reports but is utterly despised by those direct reports.

I may be very wrong but I doubt it.
 
And therein lies the weakness. A strong character would have had that conversation in private and in person. Potentially unpleasant and emotive but there's no evidence of who said what and how it was received and no one make any mad claims.

As it is. The utter moron who sent said email has exposed themselves to infamy. Said infamy may be unjustified but.

They are now toxic goods as far as the RN should be concerned and if we had a politican leading MoD who forced VSOs to live by V&S then said moron would be made to resign or outright sacked.
Or it could as necessary to put what had already been discussed in person formally into writing.

We don't know the full circumstances and unlikely to ever know them fully.

It may make us feel good to try and blame the tragedy on the person's boss, but that doesn't make doing so correct
 
I think you can tell a great deal about a leader by how they communicate with their direct reports. By “how”, I mean both the language and the method was of delivery.

Firstly, the content. That email is very authoritarian. It’s a one way directive that does not allow any discussion or reply. It’s also narcissistic the author is reinforcing a position as the one voice of what is a very large organisation. It’s hardly going to generate an atmosphere of collaborative, collective responsibility which is how a board should operate.

Secondly, the method of delivery. Using email as a means of delivering this kind of message is pretty brutal and uncaring for ones immediate reports. In any commercial organisation, if the Chairman of the Board wrote that kind of email, he’d find himself looking at an empty board table and a stack of constructive dismissal claims.

I’m seeing an authoritarian leadership style that relies on positional power and brooks no debate. It’s his way or the high way. The kind of leader who attracts acolytes beneath his immediate reports but is utterly despised by those direct reports.

I may be very wrong but I doubt it.
Of course, the fact it was one email out of 18 months of discussion doesn’t matter at all…

I’m sure anyone could cherry pick any one email to prove any point. I’ve got a delightful and compassionate one from him after something I went through - shall I leak that too?
 

Cyberhacker

War Hero
1. If CGS ( as you have said ) changes vision every 2 - 3 years then there is no strategic vision.
( Cutting 32% of an already decimated 16000 strong Infantry is further proof of that )
That depends...

If an operational needs assessment has identified we need only x infantry (where x is approx 32% less than 16,000) then surely that is the RIGHT decisoin.
 
I think you can tell a great deal about a leader by how they communicate with their direct reports. By “how”, I mean both the language and the method was of delivery.

Firstly, the content. That email is very authoritarian. It’s a one way directive that does not allow any discussion or reply. It’s also narcissistic the author is reinforcing a position as the one voice of what is a very large organisation. It’s hardly going to generate an atmosphere of collaborative, collective responsibility which is how a board should operate.

Secondly, the method of delivery. Using email as a means of delivering this kind of message is pretty brutal and uncaring for ones immediate reports. In any commercial organisation, if the Chairman of the Board wrote that kind of email, he’d find himself looking at an empty board table and a stack of constructive dismissal claims.

I’m seeing an authoritarian leadership style that relies on positional power and brooks no debate. It’s his way or the high way. The kind of leader who attracts acolytes beneath his immediate reports but is utterly despised by those direct reports.

I may be very wrong but I doubt it.
By way of background, the post of Commander Amphibious Forces was planned to be deleted in 2018 (fully two people before Maj Gen Holmes), and with it the tied post of CGRM.

The 2* post of CGRM had a stay of execution then based on significant furore around the “future of amphibious shipping” during the MDP era (17-18) which was absolutely stoked by the Corps. This included things such as them coincidentally inviting Johnny Mercer to CTCRM, and well informed “discussions” appearing in friendly newspapers. One of the many results was a HoC Defence Select Committee report that included a host of detail that coincidentally bolstered Royal’s argument at that time.


Although I’d note that both the FAA and SM Service were playing silly games, CSG coming over the horizon meant they had different focuses.

The arrival of the “Trinity” in 2019 was well telegraphed, including their desire to cut NCHQ in half, which included a significant reduction in the star count.

As part of transformation, each of the dedicated 2*s for Surface, SM, Aviation, RM, Training, Pers, Scotland and NI were cut. Some were vested in an individual with more than one responsibility, the rest were devolved down to 1* or OF5. Maj Gen Holmes knew before taking the post that was the direction of travel and that his job was absolutely in scope (noting the axe had been hanging over it for 18+ months already).

There was and is significant poor behaviour in NCHQ, including consent and evade, or simple slow rolling of clear 4* and 3* direction - if a Cpl had behaved in the same way to a SSgt I imagine the former would be in Colchester by now. Undoubtedly there were terse emails, but there were also day long strategy sessions by the Naval Executive Committee (inc all our NEDs), and many more small groupings.

Someone within the Corps saw fit to leak what was going on in an attempt to bounce 1SL out of it, and it didn’t work. It also probably fractured any sense of trust in the senior leadership team.

I am genuinely and terribly sorry that Matt Holmes took his own life, and any pressure he may have felt as a result of the office of CGRM stopping being a dedicated 2*. But that doesn’t mean that the latter action wasn’t the wrong thing to do when looked upon in the totality of the change we’re undergoing.
 

Mr_Relaxed

War Hero
Of course, the fact it was one email out of 18 months of discussion doesn’t matter at all…

I’m sure anyone could cherry pick any one email to prove any point. I’ve got a delightful and compassionate one from him after something I went through - shall I leak that too?
If you don’t, someone else might, if they feel a need for some counter balance. Suspect the press is already digging.

Problem with email is that few people write well, and there’s often no filter. Sometimes you need a colleague to do a pre-read and listen out for the sharp intake of breath. ;)
 
By way of background, the post of Commander Amphibious Forces was planned to be deleted in 2018 (fully two people before Maj Gen Holmes), and with it the tied post of CGRM.

The 2* post of CGRM had a stay of execution then based on significant furore around the “future of amphibious shipping” during the MDP era (17-18) which was absolutely stoked by the Corps. This included things such as them coincidentally inviting Johnny Mercer to CTCRM, and well informed “discussions” appearing in friendly newspapers. One of the many results was a HoC Defence Select Committee report that included a host of detail that coincidentally bolstered Royal’s argument at that time.


Although I’d note that both the FAA and SM Service were playing silly games, CSG coming over the horizon meant they had different focuses.

The arrival of the “Trinity” in 2019 was well telegraphed, including their desire to cut NCHQ in half, which included a significant reduction in the star count.

As part of transformation, each of the dedicated 2*s for Surface, SM, Aviation, RM, Training, Pers, Scotland and NI were cut. Some were vested in an individual with more than one responsibility, the rest were devolved down to 1* or OF5. Maj Gen Holmes knew before taking the post that was the direction of travel and that his job was absolutely in scope (noting the axe had been hanging over it for 18+ months already).

There was and is significant poor behaviour in NCHQ, including consent and evade, or simple slow rolling of clear 4* and 3* direction - if a Cpl had behaved in the same way to a SSgt I imagine the former would be in Colchester by now. Undoubtedly there were terse emails, but there were also day long strategy sessions by the Naval Executive Committee (inc all our NEDs), and many more small groupings.

Someone within the Corps saw fit to leak what was going on in an attempt to bounce 1SL out of it, and it didn’t work. It also probably fractured any sense of trust in the senior leadership team.

I am genuinely and terribly sorry that Matt Holmes took his own life, and any pressure he may have felt as a result of the office of CGRM stopping being a dedicated 2*. But that doesn’t mean that the latter action wasn’t the wrong thing to do when looked upon in the totality of the change we’re undergoing.
Yeah, but what do you know? Bob's read one email and has completed a psychological evaluation, gained a complete understanding of the internal politics of the highest echelons of the RN and now knows the future plans for the entire RN.

And he did it from the other side of the world!
 
By way of background, the post of Commander Amphibious Forces was planned to be deleted in 2018 (fully two people before Maj Gen Holmes), and with it the tied post of CGRM.

The 2* post of CGRM had a stay of execution then based on significant furore around the “future of amphibious shipping” during the MDP era (17-18) which was absolutely stoked by the Corps. This included things such as them coincidentally inviting Johnny Mercer to CTCRM, and well informed “discussions” appearing in friendly newspapers. One of the many results was a HoC Defence Select Committee report that included a host of detail that coincidentally bolstered Royal’s argument at that time.


Although I’d note that both the FAA and SM Service were playing silly games, CSG coming over the horizon meant they had different focuses.

The arrival of the “Trinity” in 2019 was well telegraphed, including their desire to cut NCHQ in half, which included a significant reduction in the star count.

As part of transformation, each of the dedicated 2*s for Surface, SM, Aviation, RM, Training, Pers, Scotland and NI were cut. Some were vested in an individual with more than one responsibility, the rest were devolved down to 1* or OF5. Maj Gen Holmes knew before taking the post that was the direction of travel and that his job was absolutely in scope (noting the axe had been hanging over it for 18+ months already).

There was and is significant poor behaviour in NCHQ, including consent and evade, or simple slow rolling of clear 4* and 3* direction - if a Cpl had behaved in the same way to a SSgt I imagine the former would be in Colchester by now. Undoubtedly there were terse emails, but there were also day long strategy sessions by the Naval Executive Committee (inc all our NEDs), and many more small groupings.

Someone within the Corps saw fit to leak what was going on in an attempt to bounce 1SL out of it, and it didn’t work. It also probably fractured any sense of trust in the senior leadership team.

I am genuinely and terribly sorry that Matt Holmes took his own life, and any pressure he may have felt as a result of the office of CGRM stopping being a dedicated 2*. But that doesn’t mean that the latter action wasn’t the wrong thing to do when looked upon in the totality of the change we’re undergoing.
I get that. I have read yours and other posts on Admiral Radikin with interest; he’s clearly a man on a mission. It did cross my mind that the email was the last straw in a long running issue; the point at which 1SL had to act overtly to assert his authority.

But that brings other fundamental issues in to play, not least, how does a strategic leader get to the point where an email of that nature is necessary? It doesn’t convince me that the vision was compelling enough to get the leadership team on board.

Nor does or demonstrate that the change was managed well; one of the first things effective change leader does is identify the blockers to change and persuade them or move them on very quickly. And ensure that people who are catalysts for change are nurtured. Which, from the perspective of this thread is important. Why can’t the strategic leaders hire and fire their own team?

I’ve no axe to grind on this other than academic interest as a student of strategic leadership. Given that the Army lost 2* A&SDs in the nineties and their 1* successors a decade ago, I struggle to see how a dedicated 2* CGRM could stand today. But that’s not the point. The reality is that any leader who has a direct report take his or her own life is going to be subject to question.
 
That depends...

If an operational needs assessment has identified we need only x infantry (where x is approx 32% less than 16,000) then surely that is the RIGHT decisoin.

That will depend on how good your crystal ball is.

The current assessment might call for only X Infantry.

How can you assess what is going to be needed in 20 years time ? ( Which is the strategic vision part ;) ;) )
 
Yeah, but what do you know? Bob's read one email and has completed a psychological evaluation, gained a complete understanding of the internal politics of the highest echelons of the RN and now knows the future plans for the entire RN.

And he did it from the other side of the world!
The key point being I’ve read an email. As has everyone else who has read a report on this. It really shouldn’t take the brains of an archbishop to work out that an email using that language demonstrates a breakdown of a key leadership team relationship.
 
The key point being I’ve read an email. As has everyone else who has read a report on this. It really shouldn’t take the brains of an archbishop to work out that an email using that language demonstrates a breakdown of a key leadership team relationship.
At some point you are going to have to force your strategy through, especially if you only have 2 years to make it happen. The alternative is to watch it fail.
 
But that brings other fundamental issues in to play, not least, how does a strategic leader get to the point where an email of that nature is necessary? It doesn’t convince me that the vision was compelling enough to get the leadership team on board.

Nor does or demonstrate that the change was managed well; one of the first things effective change leader does is identify the blockers to change and persuade them or move them on very quickly. And ensure that people who are catalysts for change are nurtured. Which, from the perspective of this thread is important. Why can’t the strategic leaders hire and fire their own team?

The key problem.

From my view in the cheap seats: principled disagreement, personal aggrandisement, ruthlessness to ensure own promotion, institutional inertia, timidity, fundamental personal dislike.
 

Not very secret :D :D

Up to 1,700 soldiers could be axed in Scotland as the Ministry of Defence seeks to cut costs and create a leaner army to meet the demands of the cyber era. Three of Scotland’s seven garrisons face closure in cuts to be announced by the end of the year.

Fort George near Inverness, home to the Black Watch, and the Glencorse and Redford barracks in Edinburgh were scheduled to close by 2032 but army chiefs want to speed up the plans. A regiment of Royal Engineers at Kinloss may relocate to England.

 
I don’t think so, because he didn’t have that power. All he could do was isolate and diminish because he didn’t have the power to fire.
Technically he does, and he exercised it: when promoted to OF5 and above, you’re on a “blood chit”. In effect, you only have a job as long as the RN wants you (subject to a minimum term of 2 jobs/6 years for OF5/6). For 2* and above, it is explicit that you’re employed at the direction of 1SL, and your contract may end at any point. Obviously there’s resettlement etc that can be taken.
 

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