Craig Lawrence CBE

Craig Lawrence has a proven record of developing and implementing collaborative strategies that exploit opportunities to deliver outstanding results. He set up Craig Lawrence Consulting in January 2021 because he was struck by just how many organisations struggle to do the same. Drawing on a trusted network of experienced Associates, Craig aims to redress this by helping organisations to develop effective strategies, and refine their high-level leadership skills, so they can excel in today’s complex, uncertain and competitive operating environment. As well as running his own company, Craig is a Senior Research Fellow with RAND Europe (an independent not-for-profit research institute), an Associate Consultant for Crown Agents (a not-for-profit international development company) and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

From 2018 – 2020, Craig was the Course Director of the Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS), the UK’s leading provider of postgraduate education in the fields of strategy and strategic leadership, where he used his experience to transform the College’s flagship course into a ‘must do’ career enhancer for more than 500 senior executives (both military and civilian) destined to reach the highest ranks of their international organisations. As its Director of Strategy and Strategic Leadership (from 2016 – 2018), Craig led the teaching, and continual adaptation, of the College’s approach to strategy-making, as well as its strategic leadership programme. He was also the primary author of the College’s seminal guide to strategy-making, ‘Getting Strategy Right (Enough)’ (see below).

Getting Strategy Right (Enough) - a guide to strategy by Craig Lawrence at the Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS)

Authored by Craig Lawrence when he was the Director of Strategy at the Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS), Getting Strategy Right (Enough) was published on 4 September 2017 and aims to “…summarise the art and science of strategy-making and implementation in a handy format, reflecting analysis and informed discussion at Seaford House, the home of RCDS.” It includes many of the lessons identified in the ‘Chilcot Report,’ the exhaustive inquiry into the deployment of the UK’s armed forces to Iraq in 2003, as well as those identified by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee’s investigation into the 2011 Libya intervention. To avoid the accusation that it is too focused on the UK’s experience of strategy-making, it also includes lessons from the US’ campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. A pdf copy of the guide can be downloaded at this link.

Before joining RCDS, Craig was a Major General in the British Army. His last appointment as a serving officer was as the Director of Joint Warfare (DJW), where he led the development and delivery of the UK military’s highest-level joint training, as well as a strategy for transforming the Ministry of Defence into a learning organisation (known as DOLS, the Defence Organisational Learning Strategy) and the design and implementation of a cost-effective new strategy for improving the fighting cohesion of the UK’s high readiness forces. Prior to becoming DJW, he spent a year in Afghanistan leading the development and implementation of a joint Afghan/NATO strategy to reduce risk to the 2014 Presidential and Provincial Elections. He was awarded the ‘Honour and Service Medal’ by the Afghan Government in recognition of the contribution this made to the success of the elections and the legitimacy of their outcome.

Craig Lawrence in Afghanistan during the 2014 Presidential and Provincial Elections

The photograph shows Craig Lawrence in Afghanistan in 2014 during the Afghan Presidential and Provincial Elections. It was taken in the run up to the elections during a visit with the Deputy Minister of Security (DM Salangi) to one of the divisional headquarters responsible for the physical security of electoral polling centres. Craig led the development and implementation of a joint Afghan/NATO strategy to reduce risk to the elections. The strategy identified particular conditions which, if achieved, would most likely result in the elections being transparent, perceived as credible and therefore accepted as legitimate by the Afghan population. Working with the Afghan Ministry of the Interior, Craig then coordinated the actions required by NATO, the Afghan authorities, the wider international community, aid agencies and NGOs to achieve the conditions.

Craig’s previous appointments in the Army include: being chief of staff (COS / COO) of the Army’s 12,500 strong Force Development and Training Command (for which he was awarded the CBE); commanding an infantry brigade and preparing it for operations in Afghanistan; leading the Army’s then biggest business change programme (the Output Delivery Programme (ODP)); and commanding his Gurkha infantry battalion on operations in Africa and the Balkans. Craig is a published author and experienced charity trustee with a wide network of professional contacts in governments, universities and think-tanks across more than 80 countries. Find out more about how Craig and his team can help you and your organisation by clicking the button below.