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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.

As Transport Secretary, Schools Minister and Head of the No.10 Policy Unit, Andrew has been an architect of public service reforms from academies to policing. He also prepared the plan for HS2, before leading a review of regional growth strategies. As Chair of the new commission, he is now assessing the UK’s future infrastructure needs. In presentations Andrew looks at change management and policy implementation in complex organisations – and difficult conditions.

Before Aznar took office, Spain had low growth and widescale unemployment. He liberalised the market, privatised industry, increased GDP by 68% and made it the world’s eighth largest economy. Now, as many European countries struggle with sovereign debt, he shares strategies for revival. Aznar considers options for Europe, consequences for business and potential ramifications in the developing world – especially in those countries trying to build stability.

As President of the EU’s executive and legislative branch, José Manuel dealt with the expansion of the Union, the fallout from the financial crisis, and closer integration of member states. He is also a critic of all sides in the Brexit debate and believes the EU could have done more to avoid it.

Once UN High Representative in Bosnia, Bildt challenges Europe and the US to find a common vision to meet the threat to world order. Now that we are endangered by weak states and shadowy structures, how can we prevent a clash between fundamentalists and reformers within a civilisation becoming one between civilisations?

Ian Blair introduced structural reforms in the Met’s 53,000-strong workforce, and led the police service in the wake of the London bombings. He considers a range of threats (from Internet crime to foreign and home-grown terrorism, corruption and drug abuse), and examines the corresponding risk registers. On a different note Ian also analyses crisis management, from 7/7 to Deepwater Horizon, and the challenge of dealing with ‘difficult’ people.

As Home Secretary David was in charge of security, immigration and policing. He is now Chairman of a multi-Academy Trust and an advisor to easyJet. As well as sharing insights on cyber-crime and crisis management, David considers how leaders can best engage with the public and counter the widespread sense of grievance. He argues for business to take a lead: “You are a part of our communities, not just employers of people with certain skills.” After dinner he takes a lighter look at a life in politics - both highs and lows – from The Queen offering to cut up his meal, to Sarkozy claiming to have intercepted his emails.

Alastair ran Labour’s communications for ten years, in and out of government. He now advises on both political and organisational strategy. He’s written a slew of books including Winners, drawing inspiration from high achievers in sport, business and politics. In presentations Alastair explains what to do when you come under pressure: “Challenge your basic assumptions, put yourselves in your opponent’s shoes, devise a tight plan from the centre... and then pursue it with aggression.”

Ken served in every Conservative Government from Heath to Cameron, including laying foundations for growth as Chancellor under John Major. He argues that the big global problems are deficit and debt, which have to be addressed. An outspoken Europhile he also considers the prospects for Brexit negotiations and the UK’s new role in world.

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