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Army-wide initiative marks cultural transformation progress

The British Army is conducting a second Army-wide event as part of its Cultural Transformation Programme ‘TEAMWORK’, which marks another important step in the evolution of the Army’s culture and forms part of the continuous professional development of its people.

Army culture is built upon strong values and high standards: selfless commitment and respect for others, whilst remaining totally professional, are just some of those that are regularly put to the test in the Army’s support to the country.

There are basically two things when building an organisation: the first is hiring great people. But the culture, the thing that binds them together, which determines their philosophy, their strategy, their motivation, their vision, their attention to detail; that's the [second] thing. Steven Bartlett
(The Diary of a CEO and Dragons' Den)

It’s about recognising contribution, valuing its people and generating trust. TEAMWORK is the enduring campaign that will make the Army a better organisation to work for by providing the tools to develop winning teams.

The Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Patrick Sanders said: “I am utterly determined that we foster the culture needed to ensure that the British Army remains a great institution – one that is great to be in for everyone and one that maintains the respect and affection of the country we serve. To succeed in war, and in peace, we must all engender the culture and behaviour required to forge confident and winning teams. We must engender true professionalism.”

Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families, Dr Andrew Murrison MP said: “An organisation’s culture is its moral core and events in Ukraine have clearly demonstrated why a strong and professional culture is vitally important, especially in the Armed Forces. The Army’s commitment to improving its culture is clear. Its Teamwork initiative is a leading example of cultural change and I support it wholeheartedly.”

The event on 8 February 2023, will continue the work that began last year. It will enable the Army to reflect on its collective values and individual principles, whilst providing an opportunity for professional development activity to take place that will not only help identify the challenges faced in the workplace, but set the conditions to generate shared understanding of the need to update and improve Army cultures and behaviours.

Ordinary people can do extraordinary things

Keynote speakers, such as Steven Bartlett (The Diary of a CEO and Dragons’ Den), will introduce thought-provoking concepts that will seek to enhance the organisation’s competitive edge in times of crisis and conflict: building trust, encouraging constructive challenge, and increasing innovative risk-taking through psychological safety are all concepts that are gaining traction.

Steven Bartlett said: “There are basically two things when building an organisation: the first is hiring great people. But the culture, the thing that binds them together, which determines their philosophy, their strategy, their motivation, their vision, their attention to detail; that's the [second] thing.

"My job as a CEO…when building businesses, is that how do we make sure we hire the best people and get the best people in the world to come and work here? Then, how do we bind them together with a culture that gets the best out of them."

Workshops, with lessons identified from the ongoing war in Ukraine in mind, have also been carefully designed with an aim to immerse small teams into thinking about challenging subjects that will stretch their competitive edge, making them more efficient and effective collectively.

If the experiences of the War in Ukraine have taught the whole force anything it’s that, with the right mindset and a collaborative approach, ordinary people can do extraordinary things. The Army relies on a network of professional teams, made up of extraordinary people, with a single purpose: “to protect the Nation”.

TEAMWORK must continue to be a part of day-to-day life, with several initiatives and tools on offer to target specific areas of the Army’s culture. Whilst the event on 8 February is one of those, it is part of wider strategy that delivers regular interventions across the year, all of which  strive to remove barriers and enhance operational capability by giving everyone in the team a voice. Imagine what extraordinary people can achieve when empowered to do so.

Continued service to the country is paramount, and military personnel and civil servants have selflessly proven that they can do this at a moment’s notice: the military response to COVID-19, the evacuation of British Nationals from Kabul, the funeral of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and the Army’s support to the Winter Strikes, amongst others, are testament to this.

In order to meet the next challenge facing this nation, the Army must continue to professionally develop its people and give them the tools to continue doing so: this initiative is a means to set the groundwork for this.

The Army, as part of its cultural transformation programme, has delivered:

  • A programme team focusing on delivering a 3-5 year strategy, known as TEAMWORK.
  • Targeted interventions focused on all levels of command through an enriched leadership programme:
  • An annual General Officers’ Away Day with an aim to develop cultural norms at the highest level.
  • A One Star Command Assessment programme to add resilience into the selection process for senior commanders.
  • 180-degree reporting to give those in senior positions a rounded reporting profile, aiding future selection into key positions of command.
  • Enhanced training within the Advanced, Intermediate, and Junior Staff Courses, to support middle management.
  • A review into the training pipeline, and regular cultural interventions, at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
  • Inclusion into the Army Leadership and Development Programme, which targets the Army’s junior and senior Non-Commissioned Officers.
  • Development of the British Army Soldier Academy to give the most junior soldiers the tools to positively contribute to the Army’s culture.
  • Formalised access to mentoring and reverse mentoring.
  • Consistent analysis into the Army’s culture through data collection and baselining, with regular assurance from the House of Commons Defence Select Committee (HCDC).
  • A seven year talent management review (Programme CASTLE) that seeks to transform current mechanisms and identify ways in which the Army can manage its talent better.
  • Regular events that support Diversity & Inclusion, including a package specifically for National Inclusion Week, and the introduction of a network of Army Diversity Allies, and an inspection of the Army’s interventions for Inappropriate Behaviours.
  • With support from Defence, a review into the Army’s policies to ensure they promote Diversity & Inclusive such as:
  • The ‘You Choose’ Hair Campaign.
  • Wrap Around Childcare support.
  • Paternity leave policy and Shared Parental leave policy.
  • Narrow Fit Virtus roll-out.
  • The Defence Fertility Network.
  • Zero-tolerance policy for Sexual Assault.