#57 Commander Dean Thompson – Life at Sea, Enduring Nicknames, Changing Face of the Australian Navy and Benefits of Training Social Mastery

Commander Dean Thompson started his career in the Royal Australian Navy as a Maritime Warfare Officer. He has worked at the Ministry of Interior UAE for 6 years in Abu Dhabi, then Senior HR Manager for Navy Recruiting, Retention and Transition, Assistant Chief of Staff to the Chief of Navy, and is currently Human Resource Strategy Director – Maritime Acquisition and Sustainment.

StriveStronger (Andrew’s consulting business) began working with the Navy over a year ago, piloting an innovative program training Social Mastery. The next phase was recently launched to employees across Navy, Air Force Army and APS. Andrew is regularly asked how this relationship developed and about results achieved. Rather than answering this himself, he went to the driving force behind the program.

Commander Thompson talks about his introduction to the Navy at the ripe age of 17, how he got his nickname, the balance between leadership and followership, learning to ‘drive’ massive ships, changing face of the Australian Navy, how StriveStronger fell onto his radar, why he started looking up Seek.com when we asked senior Navy leaders to take off their shoes and socks in our first session, and a bunch of amusing anecdotes along the way.

In this episode Dean, Angela Poon (StriveStronger Operations Director) and Andrew discuss:

4:00 Joining the Navy at 17, getting his nickname ‘Tin Tin’ and career progression

11:45 Driving really big ships, Dean’s biggest career influences and training mastery

24:20 Dean’s first overseas deployment, sense of family and the evolution of the Australian Navy

29:00 StriveStronger’s partnership with Navy/Defence, evolution of the Social Mastery program and the impact of Andrew’s first keynote with the Navy leadership team

29:30 When Navy leaders were asked to take off their shoes and socks (in Andrew’s first workshop) and Dean thought his career was over

34:20 How Social Mastery can help younger generations and the 4 areas of Social Mastery

40:10 Expanding the Social Mastery offering to a much wider Defence and APS (Australian Public Sector) cohort

44:30 Praise for Dean’s team, the type of leader he wants to be, and what Dean has taken away from the Social Mastery program

49:35 Followership and leadership, why it is a skill to be able to do both

50:05 ‘Leadership is Love’

52:40 Psychological safety in the Defence force, the vision Dean/Defence has for Social Mastery in the future


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