In My Opinion: Chartered Management Institute

Chartered Management Institute Companion Roy Clare reflects on how Lord Nelson's principles of active leadership resonate today.

A background commanding HMS Invincible may not seem an obvious preparation for directing the National Maritime Museum (NMM). But having worked in both settings, I believe that principles transferred from the Royal Navy have helped improve performance at the institution. Both organisations emphasise leadership among trained professionals, uphold core values and focus on results. Each depends on developing human capacities. Success stems from specialist knowledge, coupled with attention to priorities and exacting performance. I'm sure Lord Nelson himself - an exemplar of inspirational leadership still - would have recognised these parameters.

So how do the two compare? Invincible had a complement of more than 1,200 men and women. Engineers, logisticians, caterers, operations crews and aviators were posted for two years at a time. All received extensive prior training, and keeping skills and knowledge up to date was a priority. Teams trained together, and computer-based training was used extensively.

By comparison, the NMM has 500 staff, with a diverse range of specialists, including curators, conservators, educators, authors, librarians, designers, marketers, event managers, retailers, fundraisers and a span of technical, financial and logistical staff. With 1.5 million customer visits each year in Greenwich and many more web users worldwide, the museum turns over £20 million annually. Our products add value for the public and realise a cash profit in some activities.

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