50 Years Ago


I joined the Royal Marines with a group of youngsters to train for 12 months to become officers in the Corps. Later this year this same group will have a reunion at the Commando Training Centre, it promises to be a special night.

We were an eclectic group of some 40 individuals from many backgrounds, I believe we had been selected from 1200 candidates. If there was a common theme it was that we were naturally curious and ready for adventure. We might not have all been athletes, but we were all mentally agile and determined.

Here is some detail on how this training changed my life.


For a year we were coached and set ever more demanding mental and physical challenges, about a third of the group found this too tough and did not complete the course.

This unique training leaves its impact on me today.

The mindset needed to be successful in business and to be a Commando are similar. The training teams coaching us all those years ago were looking for us all to have a similar approach, namely.

“Be the first to understand; the first to adapt and respond; and the first to overcome.”

In assessing a threat or an opportunity, you must have appropriate knowledge and experience. You must be an expert. You must also be resolute and take your team with you. This is true in the boardroom and on the battlefield.

This could be defined as leadership.


Here are some of my favourite definitions of leadership.

“Making good decisions early”.

“Knowing what good looks like”.

“Having a selfless devotion to the cause”.

But leaders cannot be effective unless the “right people are on the bus” and will only flourish where the culture is right.


Leaders will develop their own culture in organisations in the way they routinely go about their responsibilities. But culture must have its roots in excellence at all levels and in all detail.

For me, the best teams are diverse with wide knowledge and expertise, specialists can be brought in as needed to bridge gaps as they emerge.

Top team members are curious and imaginative. They seek to establish new thinking and new approaches.

They have a passion for their role, they are positive and cheerful, and they are fun to be with.

Teams working in unison can adapt and prove the art of the possible to leave paths that others can in time turn into motorways.

Check out the new Commando Raiding Craft, with forward coxswain position, range of 200 miles at 40 knots. Drone capable with forward .50 cal HMG and two mounted GPMG aft.