Less than four weeks before the opening ceremony of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, there was a real chance the Games would be cancelled: not watered-down, less than it could have been, but literally no Games at all. The reason was a complete lack of interest in the Paralympics by the organising committee’s top team. Chris has reflected on the key leadership lessons to be drawn from almost catastrophe of the Rio Paralympics for Changeboard HR Magazine.
The ‘Future Talent’ conference, organised by Changeboard, was designed to inspire and empower senior HR and talent professionals. Over 700 people came to listen to an incredible speaker line up including Ruby Wax and Alain de Botton. Chris was delighted to be invited to take part and the title of Chris’s talk was “Smash the silos: Real inclusion counts”. He spoke powerfully about the way in which flat structures can allow all the people in an organisation to make their voices heard. Drawing on his experiences as part of the Olympic bid team and then as Director at London 2012 Paralympics leading 70,000 Gamesmakers he underlined that “smashing silos, promoting the purpose and unleashing your people” really is a recipe for success. Chris has a passion for sharing his experiences in leadership, performance management, setting a vision for a team that leads to meaningful improvement and the demonstrable benefits of promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace. “Not because it’s a nice thing to do but because it improves your organisation.” In advance of the conference, Chris shared further lessons, about the importance of stepping outside your comfort zone to do things a little differently. Chris was stunned to be voted best speaker and described it as an “absolute honour”.
Chris was delighted to give a TED talk at a TEDx Event organised along the theme of Momentum; Moving Forward, Gaining Speed and Building Traction. Chris’s talk was titled ‘Seeing isn’t Believing’ as he explained how a working class kid from the Midlands got from an underperforming comprehensive school to Cambridge University, from a rundown 25 yard swimming pool to the gold medal podium at 4 Paralympic Games, from a terraced house to the House of Lords. For Chris this path was not guided by the light afforded by sight, that sight having departed, without notice, overnight. Vision instead of sight and a clear path firmly built on the bedrock of self belief.
Watch Chris’s TED talk
TEDx Whitehall Women
Chris has been announced as the keynote speaker for the Vision UK 2015 conference on Thursday 18 June 2015 at Central Hall Westminster in London.
Titled ‘Working together to deliver the UK Vision Strategy’, the seventh annual Vision UK event will feature a brand new format, with delegates able to choose from one of five conference streams, focused on delivering aspects of the UK Vision Strategy and tailored for different professional interests.