This article considers the nature of strategy. Although the primary audience of the journal that published it is the management boards of schools and colleges, the article should be of interest to anyone involved in strategy formulation as it explores the defining characteristics of good strategy and explains why a strategy is different to a plan, something very few people seem to understand. The article's main point is that strategies are different to plans because they are designed to have an effect in a highly uncertain environment. The problems they are trying to address fall into the 'wicked' category and that means that a definitive solution probably doesn't exist. The article explores the nature of so-called 'wicked' problems in order to explain why strategies need particular characteristics if they are to be successful.
Gurkhas were first recruited into the ranks of the Honourable East India Company in April 1815 after demonstrating their martial prowess by halting the advance of the biggest army ever assembled by British India. These indominatable warriors from the mountains of Nepal have remained a key part of the British Army ever since, earning a well deserved reputation for loyalty and bravery. This magnificently illustrated book commemorates the Gurkhas' 200 years of service to the British Crown. With a Foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales and containing 345 images, many of which have never been published before, it provides a lasting memorial to these remarkable soldiers.
'...it's a riveting read, beautifully written and prepared.' Joanna Lumley
In 2018 to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the end of the First World War, the Families in British India Society (FIBIS) asked me to write an article on Gurkhas in the war for their yearly journal. As you might imagine, I was keen to do this as few people seem to realise that Gurkhas played a significant role in all the major campaigns. Overall, 90,780 served the British Crown during the war with 20,000 becoming casualties; of these, 6,168 died. The article describes the Gurkha contribution during the Great War, explores their role during the main campaigns and describes the award of the first Gurkha Victoria Cross (VC).
Whilst on the staff at The Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS), Craig led the production of the College's new guide to the development and implementation of strategy. As well as being the primary author and editor, he also coordinated comments and contributions from across government departments, academic institutions and the private sector, enabling the College to produce what it widely accepted as probably the best guide to strategy-making available. Since leaving RCDS, Craig has set up his own consultancy and now help organisations develop the strategies and senior leadership skills they need to excel in today's volatile, uncertain, complex and highly competitive operating environment. His next book on strategy and strategic leadership is intended as a guide for practitioners and is due to be published later this year (so December 2021). Amongst other examples, it will consider the strategy implemented by the Taliban to achieve such decisive success in Afghanistan in August 2021.
Decorated for bravery but now tired of violence, Gurkha veteran Harry Parker has settled in Nepal, seeking a quieter life. But a chance encounter with a beautiful academic soon shatters the tranquillity he craves and launches him on a high-stakes adventure to unravel a deadly conspiracy with the City of London at its heart.
'Think dogs of war and Bourne Series.' Michael Jecks, best-selling author and critic
'...a hard-to-put-down adventure that contains just the right mix of mystery, romance and intrigue. Verdict: This absorbing yarn should appeal to all tastes.' Soldier Magazine (the magazine of the British Army), September 2015
'A first-class debut novel...the plot is pacey, imaginative and intricate, with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing as to what might happen next.' Goodreads Review
Craig Lawrence is the author of five books: two thrillers (both featuring Gurkha veteran Harry Parker); a book on strategy and strategic leadership for RCDS; and two commemorative Gurkha histories, both of which have become Amazon best-sellers. He is now working on another book on strategy and leadership, as well as on the third book in the Harry Parker series. This webpage provides a brief overview of Craig's books and articles. Much of the action in Craig's adventure thrillers is set overseas - you can see some of the countries Craig has visited, and why he's included them in his books, at this link.
Craig has written two Gurkha histories, the first was published in 2015 to commemorate the Gurkhas' 200 years of service to the British Crown (1815 - 2015). The second was published in 2019 to celebrate the first 25 years of The Royal Gurkha Rifles (1994 - 2019). Amazon best-sellers, both books include hundreds of historic images of Gurkhas, many of which had never been published before. Of note, all author royalties from the sale of the first book, 'The Gurkhas: 200 Years of Service to the Crown', go to The Gurkha Welfare Trust (GWT), a charity that provides support to retired Gurkhas and their families, enabling them to live their lives with dignity. Craig also gifted the publishing rights to the book to the charity. A significant share of the author royalties from the second book, 'Gurkha: 25 Years of The Royal Gurkha Rifles', go to the Regimental Trust of The Royal Gurkha Rifles.
As well as writing books, Craig is occasionally asked to write articles about Gurkhas and strategy for magazines and journals. Two of the most interesting, one on strategy and one on Gurkhas, are described below, with links to the actual articles.
When her brother is killed in a diving accident, journalist Amélie Lagarde asks ex-Gurkha Harry Parker to help her investigate. Together they get drawn into a desperate battle between an ambitious Prime Minister, the intelligence services and an ex-Taliban commander, now the world’s most wanted terrorist, leaving them with no choice but to take matters into their own hands.
'Fast paced and action-packed from the start...well worth getting hold of.’ Soldier Magazine (the magazine of the British Army)
'Breathtaking read. Couldn't put it down! A real page turner. Had me on the edge of my seat throughout.' Amazon reader review
Harry Parker spent ten years in the British Army, most of it overseas fighting Britain's enemies with the Gurkhas. Decorated for bravery but now tired of violence, he's settled in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, hoping for a quieter life. The problem is, he just seems to attract trouble.
There are two books in the series so far, 'The Legacy' and 'Reasonable Doubt'. The third book in the series, 'Collateral Damage', is due to be published in Summer 2022.
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The Royal Gurkha Rifles (RGR) was formed on 1 July 1994 when the existing Gurkha regiments amalgamated to form a single Gurkha regiment of three battalions. Although the RGR has only existed for 25 years, it carries the traditions and history of its antecedent Gurkha regiments and has already established itself as a formidable fighting force. With a Foreword by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, the book provides a visual history of this elite unit.
'[A] fine study...Maj-Gen Lawrence, the third of the (so far) four honorary colonels, tells the story of the new regiment’s first 25 years and packs it with illustrations.' Country Life
'...this lavishly illustrated history makes engrossing reading...a very proud story expertly told.' Pennant, The Journal of the Forces Pension Society,
The Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS) is the global leader in the provision of postgraduate education in the fields of strategy and strategic leadership. 'Getting Strategy Right (Enough)' was written to support the College's flagship 11 month course and incorporates many of the key lessons identified in reports, such Sir John Chilcot's inquiry into the UK's intervention in Iraq. It includes insights from numerous other seminal reports and publications, providing the definitive guide to developing and implementing effective strategy.
'Excellent! Anyone involved in strategy-making who hasn`t/doesn`t read this is missing out.' Lieutenant General (retired) Sir John Kiszely, author of "Anatomy of a Campaign. The British Fiasco in Norway, 1940.