Adam O’Donnell is an expert facilitator and coach whose experience ranges from working with C-suite executives seeking a competitive edge in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment to working with rival factions in a civil war.
He started his career in the technology sector where he ultimately held a number of senior management and business development roles in Fujitsu and IBM however, when the opportunity came to serve his country Adam grasped it with both hands and undertook, and passed, the selection course for UK Special Forces (SAS) Reserve.
Soon after joining his unit, Adam was deployed to Bosnia as part of a small team helping to keep the peace in a difficult and highly charged environment by providing strategic intelligence to the US General responsible for all NATO forces in country.
After Bosnia, managing the logistics of the successful British Army expedition to the Tibetan side of Mt Everest seemed relatively easy however the reality was somewhat different as he faced the challenge of crossing a border that was until recently closed to foreigners and, in the process, taking with them five tonnes of stores and communication equipment. Shortly after returning to the UK, the lure of warmer weather proved too strong and so Adam made the decision to immigrate to Australia.
The Army, however, had other plans for him before he left, including a tour of Afghanistan, but eventually he moved to Melbourne and transferred to the Australian Defence Force who sent him to Afghanistan again to lead a highly-trained Special Forces team on combat operations. For his final tour he was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation with Federation Star.
On his return to civilian life Adam reflected on his experiences and, recognizing that the business environment was just as volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous as many of the battlefields he’d honed his skills on, he realised that many of those leadership and decision-making skills transferred very well indeed from one environment to the other. He also discovered a passion for sharing his hard-earned knowledge and experience.
He rapidly became a sought-after speaker, facilitator, coach and mentor to executives in a variety of industry sectors helping some of Australia’s best-known organisations build the resilience that will see them thrive in the pursuit of their goals, whatever tomorrow brings. Organisations that Adam has helped include the Australian Defence Force where he led work to bolster their security measures in the aftermath of a foiled terrorist attack and the Australian Federal Bureau of Meteorology where he led a $40m resilience program.
He also found time to act as the Military Advisor for a film and a TV mini-series and to lead a team of protective security specialists looking after a number of executives and workers under threat from activists.
Adam lives his life by three simple rules.
- Concentrate on mastering the basics – there’s always room for improvement and the power of compounding means that a 1% improvement every day means almost 38% over a year
- Challenge conventional thinking, honorably – doing tomorrow what worked yesterday is only valid if it’s been tried and tested and found to still be the best option
- Crack on – find the courage, in the face of adversity, to take risks rather than chances