1. What motivates you?
Developmental work with teams gives me the biggest boost when leaping out of bed in the morning. It’s the challenge of complexity - psychological, intellectual, political and physical – around each team’s change and shift in performance that provides the most satisfaction. A very close second is when I’m at the top of a mountain with bottomless powder and two skis on my feet!
2. How do you handle pressure?
Taking a step back is essential for me, to give me space to think, draw on the strengths of colleagues and hatch a new plan. The other element that is important is being fit enough for life – ‘nimble and ninety’ is a mantra that I aim towards.
3. What will change most about the world of work in the next few years?
I wonder about changes around the management and development of talent. Our shopping habits have changed dramatically and there are easier and easier ways to exchange money for goods. Could the same technologies and attitudes be turned towards the exchange of money for talent? Could jobs be replaced with transactions of service? Credible and trustworthy talent could be readily available to supply value anywhere and anytime. Technology would capture trust built up through each interaction, and organisations will turn to the most trustworthy talent to deliver.
4. What’s your defining career moment so far?
Becoming a Gamesmaker volunteer for the London 2012 Olympics, it showed me how to build a high performing team of very diverse individuals without paying them a penny. For me, it took a singular and compelling purpose, great recruitment and the ability to remove the barriers that hinder an individual’s performance. I remind myself of these simple truths every day when it comes to progressing in my career.
5. What book, film or tv show has really changed the way you thought about something?
The book is Jonathan Livingstone Seagull by Richard Bach. I read it at the age of 18 and delighted in the fact that nature was awesome. Then I read it again at the age of 31, just before the birth of my daughter, and felt the immense responsibility and amazing opportunity that lay in helping people fulfil more of their potential. It’s probably time to read it again for the next lesson.
6. What’s your favorite sport to business lesson or story?
I love the line in the All Blacks team charter, as described in the book Legacy, that refers to ‘No d***heads’. The team has every right to think of themselves as outstanding, but this line is there to be managed by the players and to ensure that egos do not play a part in their development as a squad of professional athletes. The risk being that egos get in the way of strong relationships, effective learning and successful leadership.
7. What makes you proud?
Some of the proudest moments with Lane4 come when the client’s success measures are met that are set as part of evaluating a programme of work. It’s a such point of celebration and achievement for the individuals and teams involved when a relevant milestone is reached that shows progress is being made.
8. What makes you angry?
Single-use plastic makes me furious. I work hard at reducing the amount of plastic that I use, but it can feel like a never-ending battle when it comes to shopping. At least the topic has moved up the agenda as a result of some great pioneers and activists.
9. Which leader do you most admire most and why?
This is an easy one (linked to the point above) - David Attenborough. He epitomizes all the leadership traits that I respect and believe are important. Consistently demonstrating humility, constantly building and evolving sound knowledge, and able to articulate ideas in a way that affects people’s fundamental beliefs about the world and therefore transforms how they think and act.
10. What are your best and worst characteristics?
It’s fair to say that I think too much. I like to consider situations from lots of angles, work out what might happen and generally weigh up all my options – none of which has involved any action! My best characteristic is my energetic style. I can influence the atmosphere in a room and generate the right environment for that particular team or group.
11. What would you like to learn and why?
I’d really like to become better at surfing. It’s the most amazing sport, looks incredible and requires great strength and balance – I love a good challenge.
12. If you could choose anybody, who would you be for a day?
The president or prime minister of any country – to experience the extraordinary and competing range of things that have to be considered when leading a whole nation of people. The opportunity to make a difference in that context is hugely inspiring.
13.Who would you like to invite for a dinner party, living or dead?
I’d like to invite the Queen and Prince Philip. Their enduring levels of service, the worlds that they have experienced and the knowledge they have gained would be amazing topics of conversation.
14. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“Take action. It may prove to be great, it may not. Inaction proves nothing.”
15. What would your motto be (if you haven’t already got one)?
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear (borrowed from Mark Twain)
16. What personal value would you never compromise?
Integrity – for me, this means keeping my promises, walking the talk and treating others as I would want to be treated.