JOINT FORCES COMMAND
Joint Forces Command is part of the MOD and is responsible for managing areas such as medical services, cyber operations and intelligence in order to support successful operations. JFC are also responsible for organising the Joint Forces for overseas defence operations and equipping them with essential training for the future.
The coming together of very different cultures – military and civilian – and working collaboratively can create some challenges and tensions. Tasked with a clear ambition to explore the perceptions and barriers rooted in very different working cultures, and how to engender a positive working environment of mutual respect and collaboration, we set about designing an interactive workshop. The audience was made up of military and civilian personnel. We took the workshops to bases across in the UK. These innovative and engaging events involved high impact scenarios to challenge mindsets, leading to greater understanding of the importance of creating an inclusive culture. Some of the learning outcomes included understanding our individual and collective responsibility to create an inclusive culture, free from bullying and harassment, increase confidence and skills to identify and challenge inappropriate behaviour, irrespective of rank or grade, and promoting an inclusive working environment.
“Invaluable. Empowered me to stand up for others.”
“I think this is an amazing course for people who are not aware of these issues and who have very little awareness and understanding of equality and diversity issues and the impact on others.”
“It gave me a better understanding of how to get the best out of my staff and ensure a better working environment.”
PJHQ - Enhancing Operational Delivery
We are supporting the United Kingdom’s Permanent Joint Headquarters in their innovative programme to expand their successful approach to creating an inclusive culture that is enhancing operational delivery.
Our collaborative research led to the development of a bespoke set of training scenarios that engaged staff at all levels and supported their working principles around capitalising on skills and experience and achieving organisational as well as individual excellence and challenge. Our interactive sessions brought to life what inclusive leadership really means in their culture, what an excellent work life balance looks like and how to protect the mental health of everyone in a challenging and rewarding working environment.
Our programme included bringing in some of the most respected speakers from across a range of other sectors to support their enthusiasm to look at these issues from other perspectives and to drive their continuous improvement; one of their key principles.
The unique approach, delivering inspiring examples as well as facilitated sessions around the challenges of today and the future, is building on each event and achieving advanced levels of awareness, action and commitment.
DEFENCE ACADEMY - Inclusive Classroom Management
Tasked with very distinct objectives to support the workings and teachings of Joint Services Command & Staff College Group (JSCSC) at Shrivenham, we were invited by the MOD to design and deliver a course specifically looking at how MOD trainers manage their classrooms in an inclusive and impartial way, including:
- Promote a fair learning environment free from discrimination, bullying and harassment
- Provide an academic environment where views and opinions can be expressed openly and freely
- Encourage integrity, honesty and personal responsibility amongst staff and students
- Create an inclusive, accepting and collegial environment
This training was run in workshop format covering a wide-range of educational and pedagogical theory and techniques whilst focussing on how to address and inclusively manage behaviours and situations [that were unique to the JSCSC environment].
We used our expertise to deliver a very specific, bespoke training programme drawing on a range of resources and techniques which included the use of our experienced role-playing actors. The workshop was designed with two distinct sections; an initial period of learning facilitation followed by scenarios, during which the participants had the opportunity to discuss and practice the skills and techniques required to promote and maintain a fair and inclusive learning environment.
The pilot programme was successfully rolled out in 2018 and the Inclusive Classroom programme is now an established and ongoing part of initial training for Defence Academy training staff.
Quotes from trainers:
“The use of actors in scenarios worked well and the role playing they delivered was to a high standard.”
“The opportunity for interaction, using ‘freeze frame’, after a particular issue emerged was an excellent learning tool.”
“The session was well run and provided useful ‘food for thought’ in terms of identifying possible solutions.”
“The actors were fantastic…. It was good to practice our new roles in a safe space.”
DEFENCE INTELLIGENCE - Creating an inclusive culture
Defence Intelligence is the main provider of strategic defence intelligence to the armed forces and the MOD. By utilising their astute expertise, they’re able to provide valuable advice while supporting various military operations.
An informal, confidential meeting with a selection of EDIAs and D&I professionals from Defence Intelligence was carried out, to confirm course objectives and inform content. From this, three characters were developed with a family resemblance to the issues raised in the research. Voting technology and a range of models were also used to cover the learning objectives.
The aim was to understand and support the Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and overarching goals of behaviour and culture, leadership accountability, representation and talent management and creating a shared understanding of an Inclusive Culture.
Throughout the highly engaging sessions, delegates were encouraged to identify actions that they are committed to in order to support the aim and objectives of the training. Some of the actions identified were to promote and build a better network, raise awareness of EDIA networks and to make it easier for civilians to get EDIA training.
INFORMATION SYSTEMS & SERVICES
Information Systems & Services (ISS) delivers the procurement and support functions for the Armed Forces, the Ministry of Defence, ships and a wide range of operations. ISS is a multi-disciplinary workforce of mainly civilian service with some military personnel.
Having successfully delivered training at Corsham, we were approached to take the programme to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to train a mix of military, civil service and local personnel. The training helped promote an inclusive working environment covering a variety of topics such as the cultural iceberg, unconscious bias and dealing with discord.
Following this training, in February 2019 we worked closely with the team that provides HR and training support to the 2000+ workforce, to help deliver training sessions. Exploring an inclusive working culture, we covered issues such as challenges around Leadership vs Management and what style is appropriate to given situations, behaviours – blame, no challenge, in/out groups, under the radar subtle B&H, empire building and lack of confidence to speak out.
The training sessions allowed the delegates to evaluate the “lived experience” of working within ISS and develop practical action plans at all levels within the organisation as to how to promote a more inclusive working environment. Our prime methodology used forum theatre and scenario-based activities to allow delegates to “step into the shoes” of others and experience and understand what they may consider to be “normal and acceptable” behaviours from another standpoint. We explored three key characters as a vehicle for exploration and discovery, together with linking the observed behaviours to wider policies.
“The feedback from across all ranks who attended was extremely positive. A number of delegates thought the actors were members of the Royal Military Police, a huge compliment I assure you. The credibility, emotion, flexibility and delivery of the actors was outstanding.”
Col D A Poneskis RMP