Chapters 15 - 20
Leadership, Training and Risk Management

Marcus and Grand Alf board a high speed military shuttle that ferries them to an orbiting Star Class Battlecruiser - one of the largest ships in the fleet. They travel at beyond light speed to Beta quadrant. During the journey Marcus learns how a particularly effective brand of leadership is exercised and they join a discussion about what rules should apply in extreme circumstances.

When they arrive at the border they are attacked by a bandit fighter, and Marcus witnesses how the training and leadership protocols save the ship from catastrophe. In the debriefing the Captain and officers remind members of the crew about the fundamentals of running a successful operation.

“What have you learnt by watching the Captain?” continued Grand Alf.
Marcus spoke slowly, forming his impression into words, “It would be tempting for the Captain in any one of the activities taking place ... but he doesn’t because as he directs his attention to one issue he can’t absorb the other data available to him on the bridge.”
“The paradox of being connected and disconnected at the same time,” observed Grand Alf. “It is a difficult art to master. Some leaders are so high level they lose touch with the real rhythms and routines, challenges and changes, deliverables and drivers in their business and so make unworkable decisions. Others get too mired in the detail. This leader has created the right balance. We shall find out how when we talk with him.”

“Three additional guidelines made a difference. The first is almost counter intuitive but it worked. It was, ‘Solve the problem you have not the one you think you might have’.” He paused, expecting the inevitable question.
“What about anticipating problems and cutting them before they become too big to manage?” asked a maintenance robot ...

“A battlecruiser needs navigation and pilotage, a weapons system, engineering, life support, a captain and ... it needs a captain’s cabin,” he said with a flourish as if a great secret had been shared.

“... it is much better to make a poor decision based on the best information at the time than make no decision at all. A wrong decision will usually announce its weaknesses quickly and you can fix it. A decision vacuum endangers everyone.”

The Executive Officer continued, “The Captain has made it clear to us that while people bring their own styles there should always be at the core of every of every leader eight common possessions - respect, courtesy, professionalism, moral courage, ...”