Justin Hughes

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Former Red Arrows Pilot

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A former RAF fighter pilot and Executive Officer of the Red Arrows, Justin gives an extraordinary account of high-performance culture, looking at the drivers of excellence in high-risk environments. He has taken these lessons into the business world, working for over 15 years as a consultant delivering insights into the structure of world class teams, covering strategic ambiguity and agility, safety culture, decision-making, leadership and teamwork.


For six years Justin Hughes flew the RAF Tornado F3 air defence fighter, taking part in numerous deployments including UN peacekeeping operations. He was awarded the Wilkinson Sword for Outstanding Leadership and became a Commander, qualified to lead any scale of mission in any theatre. He was then selected for the Red Arrows, performing at over 250 displays around the world and rising to Deputy Team Leader and Executive Officer.

Since leaving the RAF Justin has developed successful training programmes based on the fighter pilot’s mission cycle. The purpose is to identify the transferable skills that help pilots turn strategy into reality, and close the gap between expectation and performance. In doing so he examines the nature of leadership rather than seniority, the dangers of strategic ambiguity, and the nature of empowerment and decision-making.

A performance and teamwork expert, as well as presentations Justin runs teambuilding workshops and acts as a consultant on how to build high-performance cultures. He focuses on leadership, teamwork, accountability and commitment. Drawing on his experiences in business and in the military, he also tackles questions around behavioural safety, and the importance of clarity and alignment in high-risk situations.

Justin has also published The Business of Excellence, an exploration of the key elements to the success of an organisation or project. Covering the importance of attitude over skills, personal development, leadership behaviours and risk, it delivers a practical approach to high performance.

As well as working with clients from Microsoft to the Bank of England, NATO to Mercedes F1, Justin has also worked with Oxford University on their Masters in Major Programme Management, and also with London Business School on Executing Strategy for Results. He’s also appeared on BBC World News’ Talking Business and has been featured in the London Evening Standard, Director magazine and the Daily Telegraph.

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Innovation & competitiveness

High Performance Culture

Justin Hughes Conference Speaker