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As a junior officer taking command of the ‘worst-performing ship in the Pacific Fleet’ Mike faced a daunting challenge and a test of his leadership. From his first day he looked at the ship from the crew’s point of view, empowering them, opening up lines of communication, and putting them at the core of the ship’s values. A year from him taking over the ship was rated as the best in the Navy. His lessons in culture, motivation and unity have spread beyond the military and into business, helping all organisations to be the best and prepare for the future.

The former Royal Marine (aka The Arctic Tractor) led the first unsupported UK expedition from Canada to the geographic North Pole. After taking disaffected British children to African classrooms with Channel 4, Alan showed us the method to making good with a new book: Lead Yourself To Success. In presentations he emphasises the need to question norms, build total trust and make decisions purely based on the facts. Alan also advocates leading from behind.

Tim’s rallying cry to his troops on the eve of invasion in Iraq captured worldwide attention. He now heads a security services company that has trained Afghans and helped African armies contain the Ebola threat. Tim sets out the leader’s role: “Get your reason and organisation right, make sure the right people are in the right spirit, ensure your team pull together and fully understand each others’ roles, issue the right instructions – and then let them get on with it.”

Ran was the first man to reach both poles by surface travel, and the first to cross Antarctica unsupported. He’s also the oldest Briton to climb Everest, has run seven marathons on seven continents in seven days, as well an ultramarathon in the Sahara. He undertook the first expedition to attempt to cross the Antarctic continent on foot during the southern winter, at temperatures of minus 90C; but sadly frostbite forced his withdrawal. Despite the setback, Ran believes that “If you are lucky enough to be able to walk without a crutch, you might as well go for it.”

A former Royal Marine, Monty formed his own expedition company and led a group of divers to rediscover a sunken city beside the coast of India, suspected to be the cradle of civilisation. On television, he was the winner of Superhumans and has presented The Great Escapes series. He’s also served as The Fisherman’s Apprentice, living and working in Cornwall for a year and has also presented on the National Geographic Channel and Discovery.

Mandy was one of the first female pilots to serve in a front line Tornado GR4 squadron, taking an active role in the Iraq conflict. In presentations she reveals the lessons learned, and how she had to react in the most high pressure environment of all - “I slammed my throttles forward, rolled the aircraft 120 degrees and pulled 4G towards the ground. That’s four times your bodyweight. The reason: a surface to air missile had been fired and we were its target.”

A former RAF fighter pilot and Deputy Team Leader of the Red Arrows, Justin gives an extraordinary insight into the behaviours, processes and leadership issues which make for a world class team. With breathtaking cockpit footage, he shows how to reproduce performance year after year, in spite of manifold risks and a constantly changing team.

As the Army’s senior counter-terrorist bomb disposal specialist, Chris took his life in his hands on a regular basis. He rounded off a distinguished military career in intelligence, seconded to COBRA. In speeches the author of Eight Lives Down shows how to weigh up the threats, control anxiety and rapidly identify and prioritise tasks. Chris believes that fear can give you a competitive edge, and that any team can achieve more when it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.

Mike Jackson served as Head of the British Army as campaigns were raging across Iraq and Afghanistan. He now applies his first hand strategic experience to the challenge facing any big organisation. Mike sets out how every leader needs to instil discipline, to be ruthless about non-essential overheads and learn to be structurally flexible: “You’ve got to mark out the objective, work out the minimum resources required to get there, and get on with it.”

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