Consultant spotlight: Aron Barnes


Q&A with Aron Barnes

1. What motivates you?

Contributing to something that makes a difference to people’s lives. Seeing people or organisations flourish and knowing I’ve had a small part to play.

2. How do you handle pressure?

I’m constantly learning new methods to help me be at my best. Behind my confident exterior I often have an inner dialogue of doubt.

What helps: sleep and to literally ‘run’ off steam. In those moments when that’s not possible, I think of some of my past successes which reassures me and I take some long deep breaths. I’m learning to be my biggest fan, not critic. I also stop and focus on my family which, when needed, gives me a big dose of perspective.

3. What will change most about the world of work in the next few years?

Technology, globalisation and collaboration will become even more important. Ownership of physical assets will become less valuable as we move more towards a shared model, following the trailblazers of Airbnb, Uber and Netflix etc. Interesting partnerships will continue to emerge and surprise us.

My hope is that we’ll see a move from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as an obligation to limit damage, to Creating Shared Value (CSV), a place where social purpose and profit become inextricably linked. Businesses will be judged more on their social and environmental innovation and those at the top of that league table will be the most sought-after stock on the market. This change is most exciting to me!

4. What’s your defining career moment so far?

In 2012, I started a new role in a financial services startup. Very different to my Talent Development background within professional football. My motive was purely financial. From day 1 I knew that this was not for me. I realised that in order for me to achieve success and to be happy, I had to do something that I was passionate about. This realisation was the biggest moment of my career so far and I’m privileged to now say that I love what I do.

5. What book, film or tv show has really changed the way you thought about something?

The Hurricane: The Life of Rubin Carter. Wrongly accused of murder, while incarcerated Carter refuses to take on the identity of a prisoner. It demonstrates the power of reframing and focusing on what you can control. A must see!

6.What’s your favourite sport to business lesson or story?

I’m going a little off piste here, with my favourite every day people to business story.

The Chilean Mining rescue of 2010. 33 Miners. 700 metres underground (double The Shard, London). Given 2% chance of survival. No sign of life of 17 days. 40 unsuccessful drilling attempts. After 69 days, 1 billion TV viewers watched all 33 miners rescued. Tons to learn from this real life event for Leaders, Teams and Organizations. I wrote a blog on the lessons we can learn from them, read it here.

7. What makes you proud?

Seeing my children Jonah and Carli defining their characters. I believe more in nurture than nature and I’m proud of how Karen (my wife) and I are contributing to their development. Everyday is a new challenge.

8. What makes you angry?

Unnecessary hierarchy and process, injustice and when people appear to lack sincerity.

9. Which leader do you most admire most and why?

I’ve got two:

Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS. For his Social Entrepreneurship. A disruptor, he noticed a social issue and in trying to solve it created a hugely successful operational model (One for One) that many others are now adopting.

Closer to home, Lane4’s Mike Hurst. The most passionate and customer focused person I’ve met. Puts himself on the line when he believes in something. I had the privilege to have him as a manager and will always be grateful for how he invested lots of time to get to know how best to work with me and then supported and challenged me in equal measure.

10.What are your best and worst characteristics?

Best – My energy and enthusiasm can be infectious in creating a positive environment to get stuff done. I bring creativity and innovation to my work. I care deeply about my clients and colleagues.

Worst – I hate being told what to do. I can take things too personally. I have been known to say something without thinking which can be awkward for everyone involved.

11. What would you like to learn and why?

To sing. I love to dance and can often be found on the dance floor. Would love to sing and perform to sold out arenas.

12. If you could choose anybody, who would you be for a day?

My Dad. I admire his eternal optimism. He is able to see the big picture when others get caught up in an issue. Dad created a successful family business to raise four children while being a dedicated husband and spiritual leader. We often see the world quite differently so it would be interesting to spend a day in his shoes.

13. Who would you like to invite for a dinner party, living or dead

Neil Armstrong, Donald Trump, Arsene Wenger, Rosa Parks, Meryl Streep and Michael Jackson

14. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

It can never be wrong to do the right thing (my mum)

15. What would your motto be (if you haven’t already got one)?

Gam Ze Yavo, meaning This Too Shall Pass. A reminder to keep my feet on the ground when it’s all going great and my head up when it isn’t.

16. What personal value would you never compromise?


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