Keynote Speaker Mark Gallagher
Mark Gallagher: Formula One - Icon. Expert on Leadership, Teamwork and Motivation
Mark Gallagher - Lessons from the fast lane.
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Mark Gallagher – Formula One: Lessons from the fast lane.
Formula One is a unique mix of business and sport, where strong leadership, efficient team work, split second decision making and a clear focus on delivery are required to compete at the highest levels in the 20 Grands Prix which comprise the FIA Formula One World Championship.
Mark Gallagher has worked in Formula One for almost 30 years and has spent the last 15 working as senior executive within the management of Jordan Grand Prix, Red Bull Racing and Cosworth. While operating at the centre of this fascinating sports business, Mark has worked directly with the world’s top drivers and team owners, giving him a privileged understanding of what it takes to be a world class competitor.
Six Topics Businesses like to Discuss:
Managing Change & Transformation
The world is changing, and fast. Disruption abounds, technology alone sees to that, but economic cycles witness extremes and external factors over which businesses have little or no control can hit at any time; think Brexit. From changes in compliance and regulation to old assumptions being washed away, new business models are emerging. The fear of change* is perhaps understandable, but mainly because people feel they are going to be worse off. If we can explain the ‘why’ more clearly and progress to the ‘how’ we are going to be in a better place, the conversation becomes a lot easier. This is a great topic to discuss, because Formula One teams have had to cope with huge changes in compliance, business models, economic cycles and technology over the last 20 years. The lessons are clear; change is ever present and we all have a choice as to whether we weaponise transformation or sit tight and wither.
Promoting Team Work & Collaboration
The challenges of leading people in business are many and varied, especially in a business world made richer by increased cultural, ethnic and gender diversity. How can I get a group of people to work together, become fully aligned, be prepared to take responsibility for their actions and accountable for the outcomes? To get the best out of a team requires the leadership to be confident in empowering people, creating a learning environment where everyone is focussed on delivery and execution. A culture in which people do what they say they are going to do and also consider how their performance impacts on everyone around them. A high technology sport such as Formula One demands excellence in this regard, whether in meeting the 20 non-negotiable deadlines represented by World Championship events, or in empowering 20 personnel to complete 36 tasks during a 1.9 second pit stop during a race.
This is perhaps a more obvious topic for someone involved in Formula One to speak about; how do we create great performance? In reality there are 10 Formula One teams, and not all of them achieve world class performance. Second place is the first of the losers. All the teams are good engineering companies – designing, manufacturing, developing and operating a complex, fully compliant product which happens to be a Formula One car. However ‘Good’ is not enough; we want to go from Good to Great. This means learning from our past mistakes so that we practice continuous improvement, learning rather than blaming people when things go wrong, and requiring that everyone who works for us contributes fully. It also means having a brutally honest assessment of how we are doing at all times, benchmarking our performance not just against our previous results, but against the most important measure of all – the competition.
Safety & Risk Management
From HSE executives through to Risk Managers, the topic of how we can avoid negative outcomes in our working environment comes up time and again. For some businesses a catastrophic failure can lead to fatalities, whether involving employees, contractors or customers. The human cost combined with the legal, financial and reputational damage can be significant. Others face negative outcomes that are purely of a financial nature, yet in reality that can become an existential threat if it is serious enough. It may not kill people, but it can kill your company. It may come as a surprise to learn that Formula One teams are as focussed on the management of risk as on performance, but in reality the environment within which we compete requires this approach. Effective safety and risk management are key priorities for our businesses.
Three to five years ago companies were asking me to talk about how Formula One uses data. Big Data was the common topic, but we have now moved past data analytics into machine learning, AI, robotisation and, if I listen carefully, the end of the human working environment as we know it. Since we are now in a year when we will see motor racing without a driver, thanks to Roborace, and where McLaren’s Applied Technologies division takes its rigorous use of data-driven decision making far beyond the race track and into a wide range of industries, this is a topic which will run and run. Some see it as a threat (*see Fear of Change, above…) but the opportunities are golden. The key comes from seeing how technology can transform in such a way that the positives far outweigh perceived negatives. Fortunately we have some great and entertaining examples in a sport that is entirely data-driven.
Thanks to a combination of the above, including digitalisation, change and transformation, businesses need to be agile. Strategies flex, tactics change, and we should be resilient enough to cope with whatever our market and customers demand. It also means that our people have to develop a sense of urgency; things are moving so quickly that waiting for the weekly catch-up, monthly meeting or quarterly review can take too long. In Formula One we adjust race strategy real time; as soon as the lights go out and the race starts we know that our strategy is going to have to flex in the face of a number of variables. By having the right people, processes and culture in place, we develop the confidence to pre-empt problems and react decisively.
Head of Marketing at the highly successful, race winning Jordan team over a ten year period, Mark was famously described as ‘head of making things happen’ in Eddie Jordan’s dynamic organisation. He then joined Jaguar Racing and helped in its transition into the now-dominant Red Bull Racing team, before taking over responsibility from 2009 until 2011 for the return of Cosworth to Formula One. Between 2009 and 2011 Mark was directly responsible for supplying one third of the Formula One teams with engine technology, re-establishing the Cosworth F1 business which has powered 13 Drivers Champions and won 176 Grands Prix – second only to Ferrari.
During his career Mark has worked directly with drivers including Michael Schumacher, David Coulthard and Ayrton Senna, and also spent time as part of Jenson Button’s management team. Since 2005 Mark has also co-owned his own racing team, Status Grand Prix based at Silverstone in the UK, which won the 2009 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, has scored multiple victories in the GP3 feeder-series to Formula One and competes in the Le Mans sports car racing series. Status has three times won the ‘Best Presented Team’ Award, setting the benchmark in professionalism and presentation.
Today Mark sits on the board of Status Grand Prix and uses his vast experience of the Formula One industry to work with teams, sponsors and drivers. He also makes regular appearances in the media, notably with Sky News, and in 2012 is an expert pundit and commentator at Formula One events for the BBC and with ESPN Star Sports, broadcasting to 24 countries and 36 Million F1 fans in Asia.
In 2014 Mark published “The Business of Winning”, a book drawing on the business lessons to be learned from the high finance, high octane world of Formula One.
• Teamwork, Motivation and Leadership
• Customer Service – the client-centric organisation
• Branding and Marketing
• Partnerships and Collaboration
• Technology and Innovation
• Managing Risk and Safet