Battling with Business

In this podcast, Gareth Tennant, a former Royal Marines Officer, and Chris Kitchener, a veteran of the software development world, explore ideas and concepts around teams and teamwork, leaders and leadership, and all things in between. It’s a discussion between a former military commander and a business manager, comparing and contrasting their experiences as they attempt to work out what makes teams, leaders, and businesses tick.

Listen on:

  • Apple Podcasts
  • Podbean App
  • Spotify
  • Amazon Music
  • TuneIn + Alexa
  • iHeartRadio
  • PlayerFM
  • Listen Notes
  • Samsung
  • Podchaser
  • BoomPlay


4 days ago

"Often in complexity, there isn't a right answer.  You are not trying to find efficiency, you're trying to find effectiveness!" 
In this week's episode, Chris and Gareth delve into the concept of emergence and its profound impact on strategy and innovation. The discussion begins with trying to find a definition of emergence, explaining how complex systems and patterns arise from relatively simple interactions.
They explore the pivotal role of creativity in driving innovation, highlighting how self-organising teams can effectively foster innovative solutions when aligned with clear goals. Real-world examples from the commercial sector illustrate these points: IKEA's use of self-collection warehouses, Amazon's API-based infrastructure, and Pfizer's serendipitous discovery of Viagra demonstrate how emergent strategies can be leveraged effectively.
The conversation then shifts to historical and military contexts, examining the German Blitzkrieg and its connection to emergent strategy and the principles of Mission Command. The hosts argue that necessity often drives emergence, a theme they further explore by discussing the current Ukrainian operations in response to the Russian invasion.
Through these diverse examples, Chris and Gareth provide a comprehensive look at how emergence shapes strategy and innovation, both in business and in critical real-world situations.

6 days ago

In this episode, Chris interviews Gareth about his time conducting counter-piracy operations and uses this as a way of exploring what makes teams adaptable when faced with uncertainty and when under pressure. 

Thursday May 16, 2024

In this week's podcast episode, hosts Chris and Gareth delve into the intricacies of military procurement, particularly focusing on why the British military faces significant challenges in this area compared to managing complex operations overseas. Gareth sheds light on the complexities of large procurement programmes, which involve managing risks, multiple stakeholders, future predictions, and financial considerations. They introduce the DLOD framework for programme management, providing a structured approach to tackling these challenges.
The conversation delves into the cultural and political dimensions of procurement, highlighting the various hurdles that need to be overcome. They explore the balance between solving problems quickly and achieving a satisfactory outcome, discussing the concept of 'good enough' solutions. Drawing on operational examples, they illustrate why commercial off-the-shelf solutions often outperform bespoke ones.
The discussion further evolves to examine innovation cycles and the importance of fostering a culture that promotes agility while remaining aligned with the organisation's strategic goals. Throughout the episode, Chris and Gareth offer insights and practical examples, shedding light on the complexities and nuances of military procurement and programme management.

Thursday May 09, 2024

In this episode of "Battling with Business," Chris and Gareth explore Brigadier Billy Mitchell, a controversial figure in the history of US airpower and naval warfare. As part of their "Influencer episodes" series, they analyse Mitchell's pioneering yet often contentious approach to military innovation and how his vision for airpower shaped modern warfare.
The hosts discuss Mitchell's experiences during the First World War, which led him to believe that a future Great Power War was likely and that airpower would play a critical role. Mitchell's advocacy for airpower resulted in significant clashes with military and political leaders, culminating in a court martial and eventual demotion.
Chris and Gareth examine Mitchell's bold approach, focusing on his advocacy for bombing trials on large naval battleships. They discuss the resulting political backlash, the challenges posed by leadership, and the role of hubris in stalling military progress. Through these discussions, they question whether Mitchell's experiences offer parallels to modern issues, such as the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), and consider the fine line between a visionary and a crank.
Overall, the episode offers valuable insights into how innovation and change can face resistance, especially within traditional institutions. The story of Brigadier Billy Mitchell becomes a reflection on the importance of vision in driving progress, despite opposition, and what it takes to challenge the status quo. Chris and Gareth conclude by considering how today's military and business leaders can learn from Mitchell's journey and whether his legacy resonates with current trends in warfare and technology.

Thursday May 02, 2024

In this week's episode, Chris and Gareth sit down with Rob Murray, a seasoned expert in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, who has held significant roles including former head of innovation for NATO, lecturer at Johns Hopkins University, and now Chief Innovation Officer at Saab, as well as a non-residential member of the Atlantic Council.
The discussion delves into the complexities of political leadership within NATO, focusing on the unique challenges that arise when consensus-based decision-making is crucial. Rob Murray shares insights on the balance between slow, deliberate compromise and quick, decisive action. He argues that while consensus-driven processes can be time-consuming, they often lead to more comprehensive and robust outcomes due to the diversity of thought involved.
The conversation also explores strategies for managing risk and fostering positive change in uncertain and complex environments. Rob provides an example from his time with the NATO Innovation Fund, illustrating how bureaucratic and culturally risk-averse organizations can be encouraged to embrace new approaches and innovative thinking to address contemporary challenges.
Listeners will gain valuable insights into the nuances of leadership and innovation within international defense organisations, as well as practical examples of driving change in traditional settings.
Finally, we chatted about de-centralisation of decision-making and how this , whilst ugly and inefficient may well be a better way of driving innovative thought and more quickly finding the right approach to solving problems than a centralised authority that whilst being may efficient, is very likely to be less effective.
Listeners will gain valuable insights into the nuances of leadership and innovation within international defense organizations, as well as practical examples of driving change in traditional settings.

Thursday Apr 25, 2024

In this week's instalment of "Battling with Business," hosts Chris and Gareth delve deep into the intricate world of strategy, continuing their two-part series with an insightful exploration of why strategies often veer off course. Through candid discussion, they dissect six common pitfalls that plague strategic planning, shedding light on the underlying causes and offering invaluable insights for listeners navigating the complex terrain of business strategy.
Policy Over Analysis: The episode kicks off by dissecting the tendency for organisations to be driven more by policy than rigorous analysis. Chris and Gareth emphasise the importance of data-driven decision-making over relying solely on predetermined policies, highlighting the risks of overlooking critical insights that could inform a more effective strategy.
Nebulousness and Lack of Impact: A key stumbling block explored is the danger of crafting strategies that are too nebulous, ultimately failing to make a tangible impact. Through real-world examples, the hosts illustrate how vague objectives can lead to confusion and inertia within organisations, undermining the very essence of strategic planning.
Excessive Precision and Ignoring Uncertainty: Building on this, the discussion shifts to the perils of excessive precision in strategy formulation, which often neglects to account for inherent uncertainties. Chris and Gareth underscore the importance of embracing flexibility and adaptability in strategic approaches, advocating for a more nuanced understanding of uncertainty in decision-making processes.
Zeitgeist vs. Genuine Need: Another critical pitfall examined is the tendency to be swayed by prevailing trends or the zeitgeist rather than addressing genuine organisational needs. By dissecting the implications of such misalignment, the hosts underscore the importance of grounding strategic initiatives in a thorough understanding of internal dynamics and long-term objectives.
Impenetrable Language: The episode also tackles the issue of using overly complex or impenetrable language in strategic communications, which can alienate stakeholders and hinder effective implementation. Chris and Gareth advocate for clarity and simplicity in articulating strategic objectives, emphasising the power of clear communication in driving organisational alignment.
Lack of Engagement and Relatability: Finally, the hosts explore the danger of crafting strategies that fail to engage and resonate with key stakeholders, ultimately falling short in their ability to inspire action. Through anecdotes and practical tips, Chris and Gareth highlight the importance of fostering a sense of ownership and buy-in among team members, ensuring that strategic initiatives are embraced and championed at all levels of the organisation.
By dissecting these common pitfalls with clarity and candour, Chris and Gareth equip listeners with the knowledge and tools needed to navigate the complexities of strategic planning more effectively, empowering them to steer their organisations toward greater success in an ever-evolving business landscape.

Thursday Apr 18, 2024

In this week's installment of 'Battling with Business,' Chris and Gareth embark on a journey through the labyrinth of strategic planning in the first of two episodes all about Strategy right. They kick off by dissecting the fundamental disparity between strategy and tactics, laying the groundwork for understanding the strategic landscape.
Diving deeper, they highlight a pivotal aspect often overlooked: the intrinsic relationship between strategy and uncertainty. Emphasising that a strategic plan transcends a mere roadmap, they illuminate the necessity of embracing uncertainty as a cornerstone of effective strategising.
The duo advocates for a dynamic approach, stressing the importance of continual evaluation and feedback loops. They underscore the agility required to pivot strategies in response to emerging insights, underscoring the adage that no plan survives first contact with reality.
Moreover, Chris and Gareth underscore the imperative of organisational alignment, echoing earlier discussions on 'mission command.' They elucidate how effective communication and shared understanding of strategic objectives permeate throughout the organisational hierarchy, fostering a cohesive and responsive environment.
In essence, 'Getting Strategy Right' is a masterclass in navigating the intricate terrain of strategic planning, offering invaluable insights to listeners seeking to chart their course amidst the tumultuous seas of business.

Thursday Apr 11, 2024

In the latest episode of "Battling with Business," hosts Chris and Gareth delve into the captivating world of Taylor Swift, dissecting her immense influence and the multifaceted power she commands across various spheres.
Taylor Swift, a global icon, serves as a case study for understanding contemporary leadership, followership, management, and culture. The hosts navigate through the layers of Swift's influence, from her economic impact to her social, political, and financial sway. They explore how Swift leverages her brand and harnesses the loyalty of her fan base to amplify her voice and effect change.
A central question emerges: Does Taylor Swift represent a paradigmatic shift in power dynamics, signaling the ascendancy of social influencers and celebrities over traditional institutions? Chris and Gareth engage in a thought-provoking discussion, pondering the implications of Swift's influence on the broader landscape of business and society.
Listeners are treated to an insightful exploration of the mechanisms behind Swift's power and the broader implications for contemporary business and culture. As the episode unfolds, it becomes evident that understanding figures like Taylor Swift is essential for navigating the evolving terrain of influence and power in the digital age.
Moreover, the hosts ponder whether Swift's ascent to power signifies a broader societal shift. They explore the evolving dynamics wherein traditional institutions cede ground to influential figures like Swift, who leverage their platform to shape narratives and drive change. This prompts reflection on the increasing dominance of social influencers and celebrities in steering societal discourse and consumer behavior.
Through their insightful discussion, Chris and Gareth unpack the lessons that business leaders can glean from Taylor Swift's journey. From her strategic branding to her adept management of fan engagement, Swift serves as a compelling case study in effective leadership, followership, management, and culture.
In essence, the episode offers a compelling exploration of Taylor Swift's influence, prompting listeners to consider the evolving landscape of power dynamics in the modern era, where the sway of traditional institutions is being challenged by the rise of influential individuals and social icons.

Thursday Apr 04, 2024

In episode 64 of "Battling with Business," hosts Chris and Gareth dive into the exhilarating world of fast jets with special guest Paul Tremelling, a former Royal Navy Harrier and F18A Super Hornet Pilot and author of the acclaimed book 'How to be a Fighter Pilot.' The conversation delves deep into the intricate balance between leadership, risk management, and mission success within the high-stakes realm of fast jet operations. In Pauls's case, made harder still by the fact that the runway is tiny and bobbing about in the middle of the ocean. 
Drawing from his extensive experience, Paul sheds light on the unique leadership challenges inherent in fast jet missions, where maintaining optimal safety standards is paramount while simultaneously pushing the boundaries to achieve strategic objectives in dynamic and high-risk environments.
A central theme of the discussion is the apparent dichotomy between the meticulous checklist culture of flying, which emphasizes caution and precision, and the perceived need for pilots to embody a 'maverick' spirit, daring to 'push the envelope' to accomplish mission goals. Through insightful anecdotes and analysis, the hosts along with Paul explore how effective leadership navigates this delicate balance, fostering a culture that encourages innovation and calculated risk-taking while prioritising safety above all else (although not always the safety of the pilot!)
Moreover, the conversation delves into the nuanced distinction between arrogance and confidence in fast jet operations, highlighting how the fighter pilot community holds its members accountable through honesty, rigorous postmortems, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. Paul shares valuable insights into the importance of fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement, where pilots challenge each other to grow and evolve, ultimately enhancing the collective effectiveness of the team.
Overall, this episode offers listeners a captivating glimpse into the world of fast jet operations, illuminating the leadership principles and risk management strategies that drive success in one of the most demanding and exhilarating arenas of modern warfare.    

Wednesday Mar 27, 2024

Whilst Chris was away on a business trip, Gareth sits down with Tom Mallens, a seasoned Sales Training Director at Sandler, a global Sales and management training company, to delve into the intricacies of sales, training, and organisational success. The conversation begins with an exploration of the fundamental role that sales play within any organisation, emphasising its critical function in revenue generation and business growth.
Tom shares insights gleaned from years of experience in sales training, highlighting the immense value that well-executed training programs can bring to sales teams and the broader organisation. He emphasises the importance of continuous learning and development in honing sales skills and adapting to an ever-evolving marketplace. A key theme of the discussion revolves around measuring success in sales training initiatives and broader business. Tom and Gareth explore various metrics and KPIs that can effectively gauge the impact of training efforts, stressing the need for a holistic approach that goes beyond mere sales numbers to encompass factors like customer satisfaction and long-term relationship building.
Beyond sales-specific topics, Tom and Gareth touch upon the broader organisational dynamics, emphasising the need to break down silos and foster collaboration across departments. They discuss how a culture of openness and cross-functional communication can lead to greater efficiency, innovation, and ultimately, business success.
Throughout the podcast, Tom shares practical tips and strategies not only relevant to sales professionals but applicable to individuals in all functions within organisations. Whether it's the importance of active listening, effective communication, or the art of negotiation, the insights offered in this episode resonate across diverse roles and industries.
Listeners will come away with a wealth of actionable advice and inspiration to elevate their performance and contribute to their organization's growth and success, regardless of their specific role or function.


Your Title

This is the description area. You can write an introduction or add anything you want to tell your audience. This can help potential listeners better understand and become interested in your podcast. Think about what will motivate them to hit the play button. What is your podcast about? What makes it unique? This is your chance to introduce your podcast and grab their attention.

Copyright 2023 All rights reserved.

Podcast Powered By Podbean

Version: 20240320