A former Commandant of the British Army’s training school for officers has given Bermuda’s business world a lesson in how to lead with integrity.
Major General Patrick Marriott, who was in charge of Sandhurst, the Royal Military Academy, from 2009 to 2012 and was also responsible for the Army’s leadership doctrine, spoke at a conference organised by asset management firm Schroders.
General Marriott said: “They asked me to talk about moral courage, integrity and getting it right when no one is looking, which is quite important in the financial world.
“We are always reading about people who got it wrong, but a lot of people get it right — it’s worth everyone being reminded of that.”
General Marriott added the world of uniforms and the pinstripe suit sector had more in common than at first appeared.
He said: “The Army wouldn’t want to be arrogant about it and financial services can teach the Army quite a lot.
“But when you’re on operations, you’re under intense pressure and we teach our soldiers how to respond to that without giving way in terms of the moral aspect.
“The consequences of getting it wrong are so horrific — we have authority over life and death.”
General Marriott added: “The obligations the army has to get it right under the most difficult circumstances does transfer across to financial services when, for example, they are under pressure from a target. The have to achieve their goals — they have to get it right.”
He said that, like the military, the consequences of a destruction of trust could be catastrophic for a business that depended on the faith of their staff and clients.
General Marriott added: “Trust is the glue that binds organisations together. In the army, if people don’t trust each other we can’t operate.
“Financial services are the same. Your clients have to trust you.”
General Marriott was speaking just before he delivered his talk at the Schroders conference at the Hamilton Princess on Friday.
The company made 10 places available to the Royal Bermuda Regiment, whose officers are trained at Sandhurst.
General Marriott said: “The lessons I try to put across is you have to have trust. The army is all about service — the motto of Sandhurst is ‘Serve to Lead’.”
He added he was “well-briefed” on the problems faced by the financial sector around the world.
General Marriott said: “It’s not an easy time. There is a lot of unpredictability.”
But he warned the business world’s response to changed conditions had to be “measured and sensible”.
General Marriott added: “Anything I can do to help the financial industries, I am more than happy to do.”
General Marriott joined the British Army and was commissioned from Sandhurst into the 17th/21st Lancers.
He has served in combat hotspots like Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Northern Ireland and also held senior staff command positions, including director-general of leadership. He is still as serving soldier in the British Army Reserve.