How Spies Think, with Sir David Omand
Sir David Omand is a former GCHQ Director, and was a Permanent Secretary at the Home Office. During his time in public service he has played a key role in modern British history.
Graham opens with Sir David by talking about secrecy, and how information is revealed to the public after a long delay. They then discuss the gulf between film and TV depictions of intelligence gathering.
> You stay and make sure the job gets done.
Sir David describes the attitude towards work-life balance, not only in intelligence work but also within civil service in general, which leads to a discussion on public service, and the importance of understanding what service really means.
> If you want to push change through, you’ve got to have a convincing story.
Describing how GCHQ had to change and adapt to the digital revolution that started in the US, Sir David sets out his attitudes towards change, and how various government departments have previously resisted it.
> What do you need to know to make a sound decision?
Sir David explains his SEES model through the prism of the current pandemic, which involves situational awareness, explanation, estimation, and strategic notice.
> In a crisis, sometimes you just have to act… Not acting has a very heavy price.
During the early part of the Falklands campaign, Sir David sent a memo to the Ministry of Defence, encouraging the department to act now, and count the cost later. This leads into a discussion on modern counterterrorism strategy, which Sir David wrote and is still in use today.
[Graham Allcott](http://www.grahamallcott.com/) is the founder of [time management training](http://thinkproductive.co.uk/ "Link: http://thinkproductive.co.uk/") company [Think Productive](http://thinkproductive.co.uk/).
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This podcast is produced by [Origin](https://origin.fm/).
Brought to you by Graham Allcott of Beyond Busy