Working in the grey zone


Australian Defence Force, Navy Leadership Program

The Brief

Design and facilitate a RealPlay simulation to support a 3-day leadership program for senior Navy and APS personnel. The aim was to enable participants to practice working in uncertain environments; 1) with competing agendas and priorities; 2) where the situation is volatile and people are on edge; 3) where any actions and outcomes seem ambiguous and ill-defined, and; 3) where solutions and a way forward are complex

Creative Pitch

RPM collaborated closely with high-level experienced naval officers and facilitators to design a fictional dilemma that was high-profile, dynamic and fast-moving. Conducted live, and using specially trained professional actors, the workshop helped participants identify what’s at the core of working in a VUCA environment; how to engage people under pressure, maintain focus and build a constructive way forward.

On day one, participants are ‘thrown in’ to the scenario and must react instinctively using all of their professional experience to contain and control the situation. Their behaviours and outcomes are dissected and analysed for the effectiveness of their communication and planning strategies.

Later, on day three of the course, the situation is escalated and the participants apply learned tools and strategies to a second more complex and volatile meeting. Again the results are discussed and insights gathered and shared. These intense simulations and their feedback, proves to be an invaluable learning experience.

Comments from participants include, “I thought the actors were genuine government employees”, ”I’ve been in situations very similar to this”, “That felt too real!”