Q&A with Matthew Preston-Jones
1. What’s your favourite way to answer the question ‘what do you do?’
I help organisations, teams and individuals to improve their performance and develop themselves.
2. What is your approach to finding a work-life balance?
If I’m honest I find this a challenge! Generally though, I will try to be as planful as possible at the start of the week, prioritising what needs to be done. In the spirit of developing my proactive resilience, I will also make sure I draw on the support I have around me when there is an imbalance.
3. Describe in three words what makes a good leader
Integrity, bravery and authenticity
4. If you could remote-work from any country in the world, where would it be?
I would probably go for either Australia or New Zealand. I’ve never been to either, but the laid back lifestyle, scenery and weather is appealing. The factor 50 sun cream industry would definitely experience a boom if I turned up on their shores as well, so it’s a win all round.
5. Which culture, philosophy, or way of life - that is different to yours - do you most admire?
Any civilisations that aren’t so caught up on material goods and can live without access to the internet, phones or social media are to be admired.
6. Who was your favourite teacher, role model or mentor when growing-up?
Perhaps favourite isn’t the right word, but my dad has definitely been a huge role model. I can certainly attribute a lot of who I am today to him and his approach, especially when it comes to work. Unfortunately, his influence has also brought the serious affliction that is being a Derby County fan, so swings and roundabouts and all that.
7. What, or who, was your biggest inspiration when choosing your career route?
I don’t think it was any one person, it mainly stemmed from my love of sport. Having always played and watched, I was always fascinated by the psychology of sport. Luckily many of the principles and learning we can take from sport psychology is applicable in business, and the impact it can have is hugely motivating for me.
8. Which area of your consulting work do you find the most interesting, and why?
It would definitely be the 'organisational culture' work we do. Through our culture capture process especially, I love getting under the skin of an organisation and truly understanding what it's like to work there. It’s a hugely immersive process that really enables us to develop a programme or solution that will have the greatest impact on people's working lives.
9. What are the top 3 personal skills that leaders need to possess, or develop, to lead their organisation into the future?
Adaptability, or a willingness to adapt. Inclusivity, to fully embrace alternative ways of working and perspectives. Storytelling, to engage people in their vision for the future.
10. If you could go back in time and give your 16-year-old self advice, what would it be?
Don’t focus on what might happen in the future, enjoy the present.
11. If you were stranded on a desert island and were only allowed three items, what would they be and why?
- A radio/music system. Otherwise it would just be way too quiet.
- Bear Grylls if he counts as an item. I’ve heard he’s pretty decent at this survival business.
- A deck of cards so me and Bear could see the nights in with some adrenaline fuelled, competitive games of snap.
12. What’s the number one thing you want to accomplish during your time on Earth?
Leave behind a family that can say they were proud of me and what I had achieved.
Want to know more about Matthew? Read his profile here.