December 28, 2020

Drive & Determination: Major General Alistair Dickinson CBE & Jonathan Bowman-Perks: Inspiring leadership interview

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Drive and determination comes from a background in sport and teamwork. Throughout my time in the army serving with the Royal Marines and pushing myself to the highest limits I learnt the value of teamwork

Commissioning just 4 days after his 18th birthday, Alastair is one of the youngest officers to have graduated from RMA Sandhurst in modern times. Since then almost half his working life has been in leadership positions. He sees as equally important that for the other half he has followed. Whether it be tactical or humanitarian operations, inside Whitehall or on Government Major Projects in Defence, Construction and more recently the Nuclear sector, the fundamentals of his leadership style are just that – fundamental. Talking about the mistakes he’s made, the ups and downs and the basics of what works for him, Alastair reflects on his ongoing 40 year career of leading, teaching how to lead and of course following.

Currently Alistair is Vice President Operations for KBR on a £6bn infrastructure build programme.Before that he was the chief program director at AECOM In this executive level appointment Alastair provided advice on defence matters. He had strategic oversight of AECOM’s significant UK and European defence programme.
Additionally, he executed his duties as an Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) high risk reviewer.

Before that his Army roles involved: Scale. Complexity. Ambiguity. Budgets. Performance. Impact.

Alastair was the Army Board member for Basing and Infrastructure. He was responsible for strategic basing and infrastructure planning, requirement setting and delivery assurance. The Board managed a £9bn per annum budget. Alastair regularly interfaced with Government and Ministerial stakeholders, and he worked amongst the most senior Defence officials. He worked in partnership with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation and collaboratively with industry to move towards an Army estate optimised to enable military capability at best value for money – a portfolio of programmes to be delivered over decades.

Under Alastair’s guidance and direction, the following was achieved:

– Army Estate strategy developed reducing footprint and running costs by over c£250m pa.
– Development of an intelligent client model and framework to: integrate fully infrastructure factors into wider capability decisions; enhance client/contractor interface competence; and focus requirement setting onto cost, benefit and risk.
– Improved supply chain management, resulting in improved service levels
– Definition of a common standard for estate requirements linked to organisational values.

He commanded 8 Force Engineer Brigade and in our earlier lives we served together with me as Chief of Staff and Alastair as a far more competent Deputy Chief of Staff of the large 15 (NE) Brigade.

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