PA Consulting Round Table Event “People and Change in Logistics”

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PA Consulting Round Table Event “People and Change in Logistics”

On 16th May, 2017 the RLC Foundation was delighted to partner with PA Consulting for the Round Table Event “People and Change in Logistics” hosted at their London office. We were warmly welcomed by Phil O’Grady, the Defence and Security Partner at PA Consulting, followed by opening remarks by Lieutenant General Mark Poffley, the Master General of Logistics and Lt Col (Retd) Alan Woods, the Director of the RLC Foundation.

As part of our ongoing commitment to engage industry in shared best practice, our 3 panellists through the morning session provided insight into the current military approach to managing people, the view from industry now and in the future, and an academic perspective on working through complexity. As Brigadier Fiona Gardner CBE shared, over one third of current military spending is on our people, and our pension provision remains very strong and competitive.

An underlying theme was the question of how to improve retention and keep morale high within the RLC and other branches of the armed forces, and how to equip military leavers for a successful, ongoing career through different seasons of life. From her perspective as Head of Strategy, Chief of Defence People, Brigadier Gardner talked about modernisation and the need to give people more flexibility for changing family circumstances over time. This flexibility reflects wider changes in modern industry and the realisation that there are now many different models for employees in the workplace including job-shares and remote working.

A provocative talk by Ms. Johanna Hooper of PA Consulting shared a fascinating glimpse into the future of the workplace, where it was envisaged that robots, drones and other technological advances completely alter the current physical demands of military service. This new landscape requires new skills and a mindset of continuous learning. It also challenges us to understand and embrace the research on EQ (Emotional Intelligence) and SQ (Social Intelligence) in addition to our historical reliance on IQ. This resonates well with the RLC Foundation’s commitment to provide ever relevant and practical training for our workforce, and accreditation that can be applied across various industries.

A concluding talk by Dr. Neil Turner from Cranfield University added insight from academia and the value that rigorous research can bring to our understanding of people management and change. It was intriguing to think about the difference between something being complex versus being complicated… with the memorable analogy comparing mayonnaise with a jumbo jet. Mayonnaise is complex in that once it’s mixed, it can’t be separated back into its original state; it has been altered into something altogether new. This helped us see ways to manage complexities better, and not to assume that complexity is bad.


Our afternoon break-out sessions were lead by PA Consulting with enthusiasm and professionalism. In smaller groups it proved a conducive setting to discuss, question and share best practice around themes including Understanding Generation Z, Talent Management, Incentivising People, Communicating through Change and the Whole Force Approach.


It was an engaging and highly informative day, and again, our sincere thanks to our corporate partner, PA Consulting for their warm hospitality and in particular to Mark Dunn for pulling the event together. We look forward to welcoming you on 17th July for our LOG SAFARI event at Deepcut.