Danone’s story from RAAF Challenge – ASCI Leadership Series

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Pictured from left: Brendan Iddles (Danone) and Henry Brunekreef, President, ASCI

Photo courtesy of Royal Australian Air Force

by Brendan Iddles

When my planning team mates emailed me that they had signed us up for the ASCI Leadership challenge, I thought to myself … Wow, that sounds awesome! But as it was a really busy period in the office I didn’t think much more about it.

As the day drew closer, and we filled in the induction forms for the RAAF base at Richmond, things started to get real – What would we have to do? Would we just stare at each other blankly in confusion? Would we look foolish in front of the other corporate and military teams? Would we avoid talking about it in the office the next day?

Well the day finally arrived, three of us carpooled out to the base, while our fourth team member drove from home. After a nervous 15 minutes waiting as our fourth team member struggled through Sydney morning traffic – we made the bus and entered the RAAF base.

The first thing that struck us was the historical feel of the Richmond base. Originally a military flying school opened in 1916, the RAAF base was established in 1925 and some of the original buildings and gates are still visible.

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After a brief safety induction on site, we were issued our “Disaster Scenario” documents and treated to a “ride” in the RAAFs Hercules aircraft simulator. To the background hum of engine and other in-flight sounds we familiarised ourselves with the natural disaster scenario set before us and the goals we had to achieve.

After “landing”, we moved to the officers mess to get down to business. As a group, we had to devise a recovery plan to save 5000 lives, cut off by floodwaters in a coastal town in far north Queensland, using a set resource list supplied by the Australian military forces, in only an hour.

I loved the ODGQ (old dead guy quote) from General George S Patton – “A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow”, which roughly translates to “don’t wait for inspiration, when immediate action is required”.

With two planning specialists on the job calculating flight times and nautical distances to ensure that each resource would arrive at the appropriate time to meet the set goals, and two logistics guys optimising resources and movements to have the right resource in the right place at the right time, we literally had our heads down for the whole hour to develop the best solution to the problem.

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Some “out of the box” thinking around domestic resources available in an isolated mining town really helped the execution plan. In the end, after a thorough review from our RAAF senior leadership hosts, Team Danone walked away with the trophy, much to our collective surprise.

This was a fantastic networking opportunity, expertly hosted by the RAAF, and a really fun day.

Huge thanks to ASCI, RAAF base Richmond and Oracle for organising, hosting and sponsoring the event. Looking forward to defending the trophy next year!

For more information about becoming an ASCI Corporate Member or participating in the ASCI Leadership Series, contact the ASCI National Office on enquiries@asci.org.au or visit the ASCI website.

 

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