Q&A with Mathew Gifford
1. What motivates you?
Knowing that I am not only getting the best out of others, but getting the best out of myself on any given day.
2. How do you handle pressure?
Proactively I like to stay fit through competing in triathlons. Not only does my training relax my mind, but racing also gives me a chance to experience pressure and practice my responses to pressure.
In the moment, I tend to hold the ‘control the controllables’ phrase close to mind. This enables me to focus on the things I can control, such as my emotional state or my reaction to the pressure, in response to said pressure.
3. What will change most about the world of work in the next few years?
We all know the digital disruption is well under way. For me, the biggest change will be the wearing off of the ‘novelty’ of the millennial generation, and a new concern of how we learn to adapt to the next generation rising through the workplace.
4. What’s your defining career moment so far?
I would say it has to be gaining my Masters in Sports Psychology. I learnt practical skills that I could transfer to the workplace, and maintained a high level and quality of work output whilst splitting my time studying and working.
5. What book, film or tv show has really changed the way you thought about something?
‘Bounce’ by Matthew Syed. Matthew is one of my favourite authors/journalists and has done such a great job in summarizing and applying concepts such as purposeful practice, growth mindset, and learning from failure into a great set of texts.
6. What’s your favorite sport to business lesson or story?
Leicester City FC’s title-winning run (despite being a Chelsea fan!). I purposely write ‘run’ as I don’t believe they won it in just 1 season. 3 seasons prior to this success, they were knocked out of the Championship play-off semi finals by Watford by a last minute goal. The players looked absolutely devastated, and were determined for this to never happen again.
Leicester’s story is a true story of resilience, grit, determination and bounceback. We all know what happened next – they won the Championship the next season, had a difficult season in the Premier League the season after, and then dominated the year after that. Truly inspirational.
7. What makes you proud?
Knowing I have had a positive impact on people around me. Getting noticed for putting in the ‘unnoticed’ work that really makes a difference.
8. What makes you angry?
People stepping on other people to get where they want. I hate people who take shortcuts to get where they want without any consideration for the people around them.
9. Which leader do you most admire most and why?
Struggling to choose between Dave Brailsford (Team Principal, Team Sky Cycling) or Pep Guardiola (Manager, Man City FC). Both leaders are fully behind each individual member in the team and also empower their players to be autonomous ‘on the pitch’.
10. What are your best and worst characteristics?
Best – I see myself as a caring person and someone that people are always happy to come to me for help/support/a friendly chat
Worst – I can take on too much at times and get myself quite stressed out!
11. What would you like to learn and why?
The guitar. Such a big fan of a classic guitar solos but never bothered to learn!
12. If you could choose anybody, who would you be for a day?
If I’m brutally honest, I would have to say no-one. I really believe that life is precious and we shouldn’t spend it wishing we were someone else – be the best you can possibly be!
13. Who would you like to invite for a dinner party, living or dead?
To get a bit soppy, I would invite my grandfather on my dad’s side – he passed away just before I was born and he sounded like such an insightful person with rich experiences.
Otherwise, probably some of my favourite athletes like Chris Froome, the Brownlee brothers, and maybe my favourite musician John Mayer.
14. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
‘Be the best you possibly can be in your current situation/job’. A close colleague of mine said this to me on one of my first days at Lane4 – it helps keep me grounded and focus on the finer things in life, and helps me enjoy the present moment.
15. What would your motto be (if you haven’t already got one)?
“I believe in you”. Sometimes people just need to hear this.
16. What personal value would you never compromise?
Integrity. I hold this value really deep and I would never knowingly compromise it.