The Flagship is Sinking… ‘Do we go down with the ship? Or start bailing like mad?’

Mr David Gregory1
1Xcursion, Narrawallee, Australia


Sometimes a role come along which takes us by surprise. What we thought was going to be a simple and straight forward task, turns into a complicated web of toxicity, potential disasters and an urgent change management process to get things back on track.

When taking on a new leadership role, or any new role in an organisation we often go in with pre-conceived ideas of what that role will look like or how it will be. Sometimes it’s from our experiences in similar roles, or just the expectations we intrinsically have as leaders. So, what happens when we find something completely different to what we expected? What happens when we find the risk management systems in a complete mess? What happens when we find the organisational culture has deteriorated and daily operations have turned into confused directionless mix that has the potential for disaster?

Having found this in two completely different flagship programs, it’s something which can happen easily and over time when staff are either poor hires and unskilled or become complacent over an extended period of time. From a canoe risk assessment which cited ‘that students should be removed from the field of play and sat out until the bleeding had been stopped’, to staff not understanding the potential consequences of taking groups out in severe weather, these were both programs which urgently needed a culture shift to get them back on track and running safely once more.

From re-developing basic planning systems to re-staffing key roles within the organisations

In this session we will explore the root causes of organisational culture shifts, what can put them into a downward spiral and what we can and must do to address this so we can re-build and re-shape these situations into wonderful, safe and well-run experiences once again.

As an outdoor education teacher, computer technician and software developer, David has a diverse and unique background in education and technology. Over the past 20 years, David has worked throughout Australia and internationally as a high school teacher, program director and entrepreneur dedicated to problem solving through innovation.

From his work in outdoor education, being a first responder, safety officer and program director, David’s extensive experience in field operations, wilderness medicine, incident and crisis management culminated in his development of a robust mobile software platform called Xcursion to proactively manage student medical needs and report incidents from anywhere.

David is an avid reader, author, mountain biker, snow skier and runner.

David is constantly searching for new innovative ways to leverage technology in a positive and useful way to help build a future that’s not controlled by robots, but one in which the tools of technology can be used to actually improve the lives of everyone and not just create new pointless distractions.

David also writes a weekly blog covering a range of experiential educational and risk management issues and hosts a Podcast called Xperiential Education which explore the changing needs of education in a rapidly changing world and basically why actually doing something is far better for students than endlessly sitting in a classroom thinking about it.

About OEA and Outdoors NSW

Outdoor Education Australia (OEA)  was established in 2006 as a national network of outdoor education associations. The organisation facilitates communication between state and territory outdoor education associations about the practice and delivery of outdoor education; advocates for outdoor education across primary, secondary and tertiary education; and provides policy advice.

Outdoors NSW is the go-to place for all things outdoors in NSW.

The peak body for the outdoors in NSW, the organisation, (formerly known as ORIC), represents the outdoor community, advances outdoor standards, safety and practices, and fosters greater participation in the outdoors.

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