Consultant Spotlight: Mark Richardson


1. What motivates you?

Developing myself, developing others and improving people’s working lives. Giving my daughters the mindset, skills and self-belief to ‘squeeze the pips out of life’ (namely live life to the max) and be fulfilled. Trying to be a half decent Dad, Husband and human being.

2. How do you handle pressure?

Accept that pressure is a friend that helps me to deliver my best work. Build my own wellness reservoir by prioritising my health, fitness and wellbeing. At my best I eat good food, ensure I get adequate sleep, work out often and find outlets to the inevitable stress/pressure that comes through my role and life in general. I often find that reappraising to get a sense of perspective is always a very helpful thing to do. The realization that I’m not operating in life or death situations is a useful reframe.

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

Automation and technology. I saw a clip of one of Alibaba’s warehouses in China which is operated virtually completely by robots it was beautifully terrifying. Future generations will need to be agile, unlearn faster than ever and seek out meaning for themselves.

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

I see my life in chapters. My earlier chapters were defined by my track and field days. In that chapter it was all about pushing myself to the physical limit, mastering how to run the 400m, shaving fractions of a second off my time and competing at major championships. The next chapter was about making a successful transition away from the world of sport into another domain, the world of commerce.

The moments that have created that ‘personal best’ feeling in my consulting career to date are helping to win, design and to deliver Lane4’s first multi-channel global performance coaching programme to help enhance the coaching culture of a global computer technology corporation. The coaching solution is still running and is considered a flagship development programme by our customer.

Most recently becoming a Partner at Lane4, leading two ground breaking leadership summits for the Top 50 leaders of one of our biggest public sector clients and becoming a non-executive Director for Pentathlon GB.

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

The ‘Way of the Peaceful Warrior’ by Dan Millman which is a part-fictional, part-autobiographical book based upon the early life of an elite performer who went through a number of transitions.

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

I appreciate the story that Greg Searle shares about the final in Atlanta 1996. Greg shares how he and his rowing partner had a very transactional call to each other when the going ‘got tough’ and they needed to squeeze out every last drop of energy to drive over the line the closing 500m. Their call was ‘pull harder.’ The pair that emerged as the champions had a much more emotive call to each other when they reached the same point in the race. Apparently, the rowers were the godfathers to each other’s children and when they reached the point when their legs, arms and lungs were burning, their call was ‘this is for Jacques & Claude.’   For me, this links to how important it is to create meaning. As a leader you must create the conditions and the environment for people to feel intrinsically motivated so that they deliver personal best performance day in day out.

7. What makes you proud?

Strangers coming up to me saying how polite my girls are. My girls challenging themselves in ways I never would have dreamed of at such tender ages. My girls being sensitive and compassionate to the needs of others.   Helping people that I work with develop and grow in their careers. Being a partner at Lane4.

8. What makes you angry?

The exploitation of others.

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

Barrack Obama, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King those leaders who have the courage, resolve and humanity to breach new frontiers and take other people with them.

10. What are your best and worst characteristics?

My energy, drive enthusiasm and goal orientation. I have an addictive personality so there is a shadow side to all of those attributes.

11. What would you like to learn and why?

My addiction at the moment is investing. The psychology of investing intrigues me. Attaining mastery in this space.

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

I don’t do fantasy

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

Any of the leaders that I mentioned namely Barrack Obama, Nelson Mandella, Martin Luther King but seeing as I don’t do fantasy, my closest friends.

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

It wasn’t advice per se, it was the mindset of my best friend Nic Watson who passed away aged 29 yeas of age due to a genetic disorder called Cystic Fibrosis. His attitude was ‘don’t sweat over the small stuff’ and he attacked every single day with vigour.

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

‘If you’re not living life on the edge you are taking up too much room’ – challenge yourself.

16. What personal value would you never compromise?

The wellbeing of family. Do the right thing – face up to and own decisions no matter how difficult they are to make