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Interview Injecting Humanity Back into Business: A Q&A with Chris Barez-Brown

Injecting Humanity Back into Business: A Q&A with Chris Barez-Brown

Hey – I’m Abbie and I’m thrilled to be the newest edition to the marketing team at Speakers Corner. A somewhat recent graduate from the University of Adelaide, I hold two degrees in Commerce and Media. Upon completion I decided to relocate from my small beachside town in South Australia to London. I am please to report that I’m loving it here so far, although it has taken some time to get accustomed to there being more people on the tube in the morning then there are in my entire town!

On a mission to bring humanity back into business, Chris Barez-Brown specialises in reconnecting people with their inner genius and who they truly are. It's a fact that a happier team is more engaged at work and able to focus on practices that will make a difference, and Chris utilises this in order to facilitate an increase in productivity, better communication across the board, and ulitmately, increase staff loyalty.

Humorous, charismatic and full of expertise, audiences leave inspired and energised and thinking a little differently about the world. 

We caught up with Chris to find out about his philosophy, and how, in fact, businesses can become more human.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background and your reasons behind founding Upping Your Elvis.

I started off life in the army, then heavy industry, sold beer to working men’s clubs, then was a marketer running Carling Black label. I then set up the capability practice within the innovation consultancy, ?what If! And ran it for 10 years helping grow the business from nine people to at its height 350.

After working with the biggest and the best businesses around the globe it was obvious to me that the difference between a great organisation and an average one was how their people showed up.  Upping Your Elvis helps get people jumping out of bed every morning, loving who they are what they do knowing that they can self-express and be authentic to who they are. 

I can’t think of a better way to spend my time.

Why do you feel businesses need to become more human, and indeed what does this involve?

For decades businesses have been run like banks. They are all about sweating the assets to make more money. Few businesses will survive with that mentality. What’s counted often doesn’t count and what counts often can’t be counted. To do great work you need a great culture, people stepping up and flexing depending on what’s needed here today (which is not what was needed yesterday). So many jobs will become prey to AI, apart from the ones that can never be mimicked by good coding. Those include creativity, emotional intelligence, human energy. These are also the only ways to truly set yourself apart from your competition. To get the best talent you also need to set yourself apart from the rest by helping them truly be themselves and love every minute of it.

I’ve heard you mention the term creative leadership before. Do leaders need to become more creative, or do they need to inspire a creative culture?

Both. You definitely need a creative culture as you need everybody been able to deal with the acceleration of change in all aspects of work every day. And that’s what a creative culture delivers. However, creative cultures do not exist without creative leaders. We cannot help but emulate the leaders within an organisation and therefore if they’re not being creative, the business will fold. It doesn’t mean to say they’re having the best ideas every day, but they must role model the behaviours, constantly experiment and learn beautifully from those experiments and give everyone else the confidence to get things wrong as they learn. You can’t just say it you have to do it.

You talk about the overload of stimuli that we are exposed to everyday. How does one curate a balance between a good amount of stimuli and truly living?

Stimulus itself is good. We need it to make connections and to fuel our creativity. Our challenge these days is more about learning when to stimulate versus when not. Most of the time we fall prey to being busy and multitasking which has been well reported to be ineffective and exhausting. To do good creative work we need to create space so we can go deeper. Designing the right type of stimulus that work is key. Emails, social media, shopping… is not what we are after in those moments and it therefore needs to be managed carefully. Our brains need time to incubate and to focus and in business right now we aren’t doing it well and yet a few very simple principles can be life changing.

If there was one thing, in a few words, that you would want an audience to take away from your talk, what would it be?

Business is the best game in town. When your energy is right; it is easy and fun. If it feels hard, change the energy….

Finally, what’s next for you Chris?

I’m just working on my next new book with Jim Lusty. Its working title is “Fizz. Get your energy right to get your extraordinary on”.

We have recently launched a charity to help people with mental well-being, called Talk-It-Out.org. We‘re committed to helping 10 million people in the next three years by introducing them to a very simple walk and talk approach that we have developed over the last 15 years. It’s incredibly simple but has profound impact. We are all so good at looking after our bodies with nutrition and exercise and yet so many of us struggle to look after our minds. We think this could be a game changer. It’s not for everybody and it’s not the whole solution; but it helps people get clarity, process the busyness of their heads and take a wait of their shoulders in a very human and energetic way.

Lots more events and speaking as I’m committed to helping this world spin that much better in helping organisations become even more successful, fun and energetic.

We’ve also just launched a 5-Day Programme, which is a digital tool where we take people through a 5-day training programme to help them be more energetic and creative every, day. It’s the perfect follow-up to a keynote speech to help lock-in the behaviours I talk about in my speeches.

Thank you for taking the time to chat to us Chris, we look forward to hearing how your new charity takes off, and reading your new book!

For further information or to book a speaker, call us on +44 (0)20 7607 7070 or email info@speakerscorner.co.uk.

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