Q&A with Ben Morrison
1. What motivates you?
Working to prove that it is possible to achieve high performance in a healthy and sustainable way, rather than through stretching people until they break or through treating people (or yourself) poorly. I believe that psychologically healthy and moral cultures can be the basis of world leading performance.
2. How do you handle pressure?
Trying to have less of an ego that feels it needs protecting and being ‘other focused’ rather than thinking about myself. Also, most situations I’m in that involve pressure are through choice, so seeing them as positive learning opportunities that I’m lucky to get the chance to experience also helps.
3. What will change most about the world of work in the next few years?
We don’t know what the future of work will look like, we just know that it’s changing quickly and that there is a lot of uncertainty. Fingers crossed that it evolves in ways that support the planet and other issues that impact on all people. In terms of people development, employees who see themselves as lifelong learners and leaders who can help others adapt through change will always be essential for organisations.
4. What’s your defining career moment so far?
Helping to set up The FA’s People & Team development department that is leading on transforming the culture of our national football teams. It was an incredible experience and has made me look at both England as a nation, and football in a different way. England’s performance is on the up across all their teams (Men’s and Women’s) and the future is looking bright.
5. What book, film or tv show has really changed the way you thought about something?
Man’s search for meaning by Victor Frankl. If he can find meaning and purpose out the experiences that he had in Auschwitz, then it’s possible for anyone to live a meaningful life.
6. What’s your favourite sport to business lesson or story?
Whakapapa - it doesn’t originate from sport but I became of the concept through learning about the All Blacks. It’s the Māori concept that we stand arm in arm through eternity with our ancestors and descendants. The sun moves across this ancestral line over time and while the sun is shining on you (the present day) it’s your time to add to your stamp to the legacy. It gives teams understanding of their history; a sense of perspective; and promotes the importance of acting responsibly and doing things in the right way, as well as playing to win. I think it’s important for any organisation to tell stories from their past and to teach their history to their people.
7. What makes you proud?
Working with people and teams who achieve exceptional things they didn’t think they were capable of.
8. What makes you angry?
Day to day not much gets me angry. A lack of action on significant world issues is probably the one thing. As an example, the current refugee crisis and the lack of responsibility European nations are taking to support the hundreds of thousands of people who are in dire need of refuge is devastating.
9. Which leader do you admire most and why?
That’s a tricky one. Captain Holt from Brooklyn nine-nine is the first who springs to mind, because he’s risen through the ranks to make a difference, has faced a lot of persecution to get there, and remains hilarious at all times (yes, I know he’s fictional).
10. What are your best and worst characteristics?
Best is that I see the good in people, worst is a lack of conviction to commit enough to things that are important to me.
11. What would you like to learn and why?
I’d love to speak more languages fluently, as it opens so many doors to new experiences and new people. I just wish language learning took a little less time!
12. If you could choose anybody, who would you be for a day?
Donald Trump. I think I could make some headlines through acting in the opposite way to how he does for 24 hours.
13. Who would you like to invite for a dinner party, living or dead?
I don’t see my family nearly as much as I’d like to so I’ll use this as a good excuse to get us together. Maybe Yuval Noah Harari could come too. And Jet from Gladiators (first crush).
14. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
All behavior makes sense in the context of the person and their environment.
15. What would your motto be (if you haven’t already got one)?
Treat people as you’d like to be treated.
16.What personal value would you never compromise?