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Major Gen. Jim Molan AO DSC (Ret'd)

Major Gen. Jim Molan AO DSC (Ret'd)


After Dinner - Authors - Business - Challenge - Change Management - Competitive Advantage - Ethics - Excellence - Executive Stress Management - Goal Setting - Inspiration - Inspirational - Keynote Speakers - Leadership - Legal & Political - Military - Motivation - Personal Development - Risk Taking - Science - Strategy - Talent Retention - Teamwork - Terrorism - World Affairs

Defence Force Leader AO DSC (Retd)

Retiring from The Australian Army in July 2008 after 40 years service, Major General Molan has seen service across a broad range of command appointments in operations, training and diplomatic genres. US Ambassador Negroponte wrote, “Molan excelled as a soldier diplomat in the complicated political and military environment of Iraq....he provided the wise counsel and strong leadership necessary for our success in creating a democratic, secure and free Iraq....Major General Molan literally made history and helped reshape the Middle East."

Fluent in Indonesian, a helicopter pilot, Commander of an Infantry Battalion, Commander of Australian Defence Colleges, service in East Timor and Solomon Islands all provided the necessary training and experience when in his posting to Iraq was promulgated. Major General Molan was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by the Australian Government and the Legion of Merit by the United States Government. 

Each year the prestigious Australian Thinker of the Year Award is presented in recognition of the contribution Australian thinkers make both nationally and globally. Jim Molan, best-selling author of Running the War in Iraq, was awarded the 2009 Australian Thinker of the Year in recognition of his unique work as an Australian general leading 300‚000 troops‚ including 155‚000 Americans in Iraq. 

If you think today’s businesses challenges are tough, then the experiences of Jim Molan will provide you with a unique perspective and assist you to explore approaches for achieving success in turbulent times. 

In 2004 Jim was deployed to Iraq to oversee a multi-national force of 300‚000 troops. In a rapidly changing situation, facing a new style of insurgency, he was instrumental in leading a huge organisation to adapt and change, achieving results which included the first democratic elections held in Iraq.

Jim will share with you how high quality intelligent leadership can transform a massive organisation, and how it is able to adapt and change to find a way to success in the most challenging of environments.
Leadership, organisational behavior and management in extreme situations - Jim’s experiences, lessons and style are both refreshing and highly insightful and relevant to the world of business. 

Presentation Topics Include

  • Leadership in Challenging Times
  • Leadership at all levels – top to the bottom
  • Leading, managing, changing and winning in Tough Times
  • Thriving and Winning in Chaos
  • The Value of the Person

    Retiring from the Australian Army in July 2008 after a career of 40 years, Jim has seen service across a broad range of leadership appointments in operations, training and diplomacy.

    As a soldier Jim was an infantryman, an Indonesian linguist, a helicopter pilot, and a commander of army units from a thirty man Platoon to a Division of 15,000 soldiers, commander of the Australian Defence Colleges, commander of the Deployable Joint Force Headquarters, with service in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, East Timor, Malaysia, Germany and the US, and commander of the evacuation force from the Solomon Islands in 2000. All provided the necessary background to his most demanding posting to Iraq.

    In 2004-2005 Major General Molan deployed to Iraq as the Coalition’s chief of operations during a period of continuous and intense combat operations. In this position, he controlled all operations of all forces across Iraq, including the security of Iraq’s oil, electricity and rail infrastructure. This period covered the Iraqi elections in January 2005, and the pre-election shaping battles of Najaf, TalAfar, Samarra, Fallujah, Ramadan 04 and Mosul.

    For distinguished command and leadership in action in Iraq, Major General Molan was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by the Australian Government and the Legion of Merit by the United States Government.

    As commander of the Australian Defence Colleges, Jim was responsible for Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA - a joint undergraduate university), the Australian Command and Staff College (a joint staff college for officers of Major equivalent rank) and the Australian Defence and Strategic Studies Centre (a course for civilians and officers of Colonel equivalent rank).

    As a diplomat Jim was Army Attaché in Jakarta 1992-1994 and for this service he was awarded the Indonesian decoration Bintang Dharma Yudha Nararya. In 1998-1999, Jim was the Defence Attaché in Jakarta during the fall of Suharto and the resultant violence, including service in East Timor leading the evacuation of Westerners including rescuing Nobel Prize winning Bishop Carlos Belo from militia groups in Bacau, receiving an Officer of the Order of Australia for his service in Indonesia and East Timor.

    Jim has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New South Wales and a Bachelor of Economics degree from the University of Queensland. He is a graduate of the ADF School of Languages where he studied Indonesian. He maintains an interest in aviation and holds civil commercial licences and instrument ratings for fixed and rotary wing aircraft. He is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (FAICD) and is accredited as a Master Project Director (MPD).

    In April 2010, Jim appeared as an expert witness at the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission and gave written and oral evidence on leadership and organisational structures appropriate to emergency situations.

    In retirement General Molan is a commentator on security and military issues in the Australian print and electronic media and writes regularly for a number of journals. He teaches operational art at the Australian Defence College, is a principal of a company facilitating access to Australian defence technology grants, and is a director of the Saint James Ethics Centre. When not managing his remaining business interests, he indulges his passion for flying. He is the Honorary Colonel of the Australian Army Aviation Corps. 


In August 2008, Jim published his book “Running the War in Iraq". It is a dbouble best seller currently in its second edition and is available as an e-book.

Combining steely resolve with a personal humility, Jim believes that success relies much more on the combination of ‘common language’ and developing social capital, than on position. Jim shares his organisational approach to leadership that can inform any leader in turbulent times.

Running the War in Iraq is an insider’s account of modern warfare that every leader will want to read.

Book Description

It′s the most controversial conflict of our time: a war which has divided citizens, politicians, and militaries, resulted in headlines about torture and suicide bombings, death and destruction. There′s no single identifiable enemy and no exit strategy. So how will the war in Iraq be won? What will victory look like?
In 2004, when Australian Major General Jim Molan was deployed to the war to oversee a force of 300,000 troops, including 155,000 Americans, he faced these and other questions on a daily basis. In Running the War in Iraq he gives a gripping insider′s account of what modern warfare entails - the ghastly body count, the complex decisions which will mean life or death, the divide between political masters and foot soldiers - and the hard-won triumphs.


Completely captured and engaged our audience, feedback from our people was unanimously positive. Excellent messages delivered extremely professionally.
FYG Planners Pty. Ltd.

“This is a belated ‘thank you’ for your wonderful presentation at Risky Business symposium.
Your talk was inspiring and exciting and proved to be a major topic of discussion throughout the conference. It was referred to by many speakers over the course of the meeting, in such a variety of contexts." 
Royal Children's Hospital

Your presentation at the Leader Forum was really well received, and we've had great feedback. 
AMP Capital Investors Limited

You stimulated our thinking whilst giving us a precious insight into the reality and subsequent leadership behaviours that need to be processed in such high stake settings. Also we simply really enjoyed having you around and felt a natural affinity. Rob’s now got a few ‘General Jim’ sayings to add to his leadership quotes (something about a sixpence!) and it’s a really valuable experience for the whole team to be stimulated by exposure to someone who can so convincingly ‘walk the talk’. 

The feedback has been tremendous and your message was loud and clear. We really appreciate you taking the time to share your experience and wisdom. 
5th World Congress of Paediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery – Cairns

Everyone was unanimous in their praise for you as a speaker and for your contribution to the success of the evening. Your ability to speak with humour and candour on the serious topics was very impressive. 
Australian Industry & Defence Network

You will be a hard act to follow. 
Melbourne Club

On behalf of all of us in the School of Political Science and International Studies, thanks enormously for your presentation, which was the most well-attended politics event of any I have witnessed during my time at UQ. Both our students and the wider audience gained enormously from your insights. 
University of Queensland

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