Armed Forces as Global Leaders – Guest blog

In this blog, Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive of Centre for Mental Health, writes about the future trend ‘The Push for Inclusion’.

Institutions across the world are facing important questions about their true commitment to inclusion, not only as a moral and ethical imperative but also because it makes good business sense. The evidence around the positive impact a diverse workforce can have on your corporate outputs and outcomes is robust, a quick google search will pull up thousands of resources discussing this. There have also been great strides in making workplaces more tolerant and open to other important aspects of life such as family, mental health and wellbeing. The question in this context is whether the Armed Forces is currently or can it ever adopt these ideas in a way that doesn’t disrupt the outcomes required which lets face it are starkly different to those needed by for instance a supermarket chain.

The consultation from Lifting Our Sights so far indicates a mixed picture. As we have already heard the nation remains divided around many of the principles of inclusion, diversity and anti racism; if we therefore accept that the Armed Forces reflect the population by and large then these societal issues are replicated within. I believe this may be at the heart of the challenge. Whilst there is also a view that the hierarchical, command and control approach could handle this split, the reality is that it doesn’t, differences of this nature are insidious and get acted out in all sorts of ways. I would like to see the Armed Forces collectively take that step forward as leaders in challenging these societal splits. Taking up a leadership role, with meaningful engagement with its community inside and out and sharing that learning with other industries in the spirit of generous leadership, will place the Armed Forces at the heart of the important changes that need to be made. If a business case is needed then it is simply this, by taking up a role in joining the quest in answering the worlds big questions it will also hold the Armed Forces in the heart and minds of the public which is also necessary for sustainability and ongoing trust.

Read about The Push for Inclusion and download the trend.

How do you think the push for inclusion will affect the future of the Armed Forces? Share your thoughts in the comments below to help inform our final report. 


1 Comment

Richard Gammage

Self-evidently, the Armed Forces should reflect the society they serve and benefit from the breadth of that society. Enormous progress since I joined on the 1980s but there’s far more to do, to embed change across organisations, to adapt culture, to embrace the opportunities presented, and to ensure change sticks. Persistence essential.