Major General Paul Nanson was a British Army officer who served as Commander 7th Armoured Brigade, Commandant of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and General Officer Commanding Recruiting and Initial Training Command.
Paul has been on a leadership journey with the British Army for the past 34 years. He has served in a variety of roles and in a number of different environments. His most challenging have been on operations, from Northern Ireland to the Gulf, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
His talk is about ‘leading in a crisis’ and the importance of the 3 ‘stages.’ First, ensuring you prepare yourself and your team for that crisis before it hits – ensuring resilience. Second, how you respond to the crisis as a leader – how you give direction and hope. And lastly, how you recover from the crisis, caring for your people and learning the lessons – resetting for the next one!
Leadership is about the journey and how you learn and develop. We never stop learning, as this current crisis is showing us all too clearly. Faced with unprecedented challenge, your people will follow you, not just because of your rank or position in the company, but because they believe in you. That takes hard work, dedication and trust – not the product of a 3-day course.
Paul was commissioned into the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in January 1986. He became commanding officer of the 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in 2006 and was deployed to Iraq. He went on to be chief of staff for 1st (United Kingdom) Armoured Division in Germany in 2008, commander of the 7th Armoured Brigade in March 2011 and Director (Army) at the Joint Services Command and Staff College in April 2014. After that he became Commandant of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in September 2015. Paul was given the additional appointment of General Officer Commanding Recruiting and Initial Training Command in 2018, a post which he has continued in after finishing his 5 year term at the Royal Military academy, Sandhurst as commandant. Paul retired from the British Army on 4 November 2020 and became a Leadership Coach.
As the longest serving Commandant in recent history, Paul furthered the reach and reputation of the world’s premier Leadership Academy, including the development of leader selection; a through-life Leadership Development ‘Pipeline’ aimed at next-generation leaders; international leader development for officers from up to 80 countries; and a Commercial Leadership Development Programme designed to take military leadership into the civilian market.
With Commandant came the role of Director Leadership for the British Army. Over the 5 years reinvigorated the Army’s study of leadership and leader development including the creation of the first Centre for Army Leadership and the writing of its first leadership doctrine.
Paul explains in more detail about how to deal with crisis emergency planning and situations where people feel completely out of control