Battlefields and Boardrooms
Adam O'Donnell's career is, to the casual observer, a typical corporate success story.
Starting at the bottom of the ladder in IT, he ultimately rose to hold senior management positions with a number of multinational technology services companies and finally with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology where he led an 18-month cyber-security and organisational resilience program to ensure the reliability and stability of a trusted part of Australia's critical infrastructure.
What's not so typical, however, is that alongside his successful corporate career he served for 18 years as a highly-trained Special Forces soldier, first in the British Army's elite SAS Reserve and then as a Commando in the Australian Army deploying and leading teams on combat operations and training exercises around the world including Bosnia, Afghanistan and Tibet where he managed the logistics of the British Army's successful ascent in 2000.
Reflecting on his training as a parachutist, paramedic, demolitionist, climber, linguist and close combat specialist, he doesn't believe that these really did that much for his corporate career. The leadership training and development that he experienced, on the other hand, was some of the best available in the world and the lessons he learnt whilst leading teams in some of the most arduous and volatile conditions on earth enabled him to build teams in the corporate world that gathered a reputation for taking on the biggest challenges of the day - and coming out on top.
Adam credits much of his success in the VUCA conditions of today's corporate environment to what he learnt in the military about building teams, focussing effort, empowering individuals and establishing a culture where excellence is the only acceptable standard.