By Human Capital Group
22nd June 2020

In times of crises, sometimes the best way to get through it is to look to others and learn from their experiences and guidance. It was for that reason that we set up our Housebuilding Resilience Hub so that our clients can learn from industry leaders and advisers and implement their strategies in their various workplaces.

Our most recent interviewee is Paul Kinkaid who is the Ex-Head of Training and Development for the British Army and spoke to us about how housebuilders can adopt the revered Commando Mindset.

Paul is generally considered to an elite in developing training programs for times of crisis. This experience, combined with his industry-specific knowledge of training housebuilding and construction companies, is invaluable for leaders looking to navigate the choppy waters in this challenging time.


What is the commando mindset within leadership?

Our most recent webinar started with Human Capital Group’s managing director Gerard Ball talking to Paul about the variety of different responses there have been to coronavirus. There are some leaders who have been overly optimistic, whereas others have been real doom and gloom merchants and are left unable to see a way forward. While everyone is allowed to have an opinion on how best to handle the current situation, it is difficult times like these that really highlight poor leadership.

Paul’s comments on this was that we have all been round people who take things in their stride and enthuse their workforce and we have also all been round people who suck the energy out of situations like a Harry Potter dementor. Leaders should strive to be the former rather than the latter. One way of achieving this is to adopt the commando mindset.

Paul has used the commando mindset in a variety of scenarios around the world, from deserts to the arctic and since leaving the military he’s used it with clients to great success as well. Where others just see a cloud, those with a commando mindset quickly see the silver lining.

So, what are the three most important take-aways about the Commando Mindset?


1. Be the first to understand

Being a commando means having a natural curiosity. Those with a commando mindset are often not the first to act but they often are the ones to find a long-term solution to a problem.

At the end of the day, commandoes don’t want to just be dealing with the crocodiles around the canoe, but they want to be looking out for the ones on the bank and working out a strategy of how to deal with them.

Take a step back and learn from what others are doing which will give you more time to see and understand the issues that are taking place. See what your competitors, shareholders, partners, supply chains and stakeholders are all doing and learn from it.

Once you start to gain clarity then you can start looking at the areas that you can control without getting distracted by the things you can’t. For example, you can’t control COVID-19 and what the government is doing in response to it so don’t get bogged down by it. Focus instead on what you can do.


2. Be the first to plan and respond

Commandos are people who are focused, positive and are actively looking for solutions. Once you understand the issues that are emerging, you’ve got the luxury of time and the capacity to create and implement a plan. You’ve seen the crocodiles that are coming towards you, whereas everyone else just deals with it as it surfaces.

As a commando leader it is imperative that you surround yourself with good people; this includes peers, your workforce, the supply chain, collaborative partners and joint venture partners. Harness everyone’s ideas and viewpoints and then you can start to plan.

A key part of this forward-planning is pulling a plan apart to make sure that it will be successful. Work together with your teams to challenge it and dig into the detail.

Once you have a concise, innovative, detailed and well-resourced plan it is time to communicate it. Everyone in your organisation needs to understand their part in making the plan happen within the context of the ‘master plan’. It is important that your plan is aspirational, inspirational and transparent so that you get buy-in from the relevant parties and they believe in its ability to succeed.


3. Benefits of the Commando Mindset

Once the commando mindset becomes embedded in every department across your organisation then you will really see massive benefits. At the end of the day, high-performing teams are led by talented leaders and this soon will become part of your businesses’ culture.

The benefits include:

• Enhanced organisational resilience
• Ability to deal with any challenges that the future throws at you
• Teams are able to perform better
• Projects can be completed more efficiently
• Talented leaders can be more easily grown internally

There we have it then – the commando mindset can work effectively against both crocodiles and coronavirus! People who adopt this mindset are much calmer and get through change quicker with more certainty. They seek out the silver lining of a situation while others are still caught up in the cloud.

The final advice from Paul is as follows: The situation at the moment is one that has never been experienced in the current working world. Try and lead from a position of genuine care and show empathy to your workforce – they are your troops and if managed correctly, they will help you get through this crisis.

For more information from Paul, check out our webinar on the Commando Mindset.

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