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This Much I Know: Explorer Levison Wood on establishing mission command in business

Levison Wood is a British explorer, writer and photographer whose work has featured around the world. He has recently returned from his most ambitious expedition to date – a 5000 mile circumnavigation of the Arabian peninsula from Iraq to Lebanon (a new book and documentary series are set to follow). He previously also walked the Himalayas, a six-month journey of over 1700 miles, as well as the length of the river Nile (4250 miles over nine months).

A former paratrooper and major in the army reserves, Levison recalls the leadership lessons learnt from his military experiences, including four years in Afghanistan. He elaborates on the importance of ‘mission command’ – setting an objective, but allowing subordinates the freedom to execute on that objective as they see fit – and its applicability to the business realm. ‘You may have the experience to do it yourself and prefer to do it one way, but you have to take a step back and say get on with it’, he argues, given the empowering effect of giving employees and soldiers greater autonomy in execution.

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