Q&A with Adrian Moorhouse, Managing Director at Lane4 Management Group

Adrian Moorhouse, Managing Director at Lane4 Management Group won a gold medal at the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988 and was world number one in his event for 6 consecutive years (Swimming - 100m Breaststroke). He was awarded an MBE in 1987. He co-founded Lane4 in 1995. As the Managing Director at Lane4 following retirement from sport. He divides his time between designing and delivering programmes for organisations and developing Lane4’s own high performance environment. 

Adrian’s role centres around shaping Lane4 as a business and driving company growth whilst ensuring the maintenance of strong client relationships and the delivery of high quality products.

MEDIA 7: What motivates you to get out of the bed in the morning?
ADRIAN MOORHOUSE: 
I have always loved mornings. I started early morning training as a swimmer at about 11 years old. Because I was driven to succeed in my sport, I understood that training and committing to something required me to get up early, because that’s when the pools opened!
My father had the kind of philosophy that rubbed off on me – find something you love, and work at it.

In my role of Managing Director of Lane4, my motivation to get up in the morning nowadays comes from my genuine belief in what the company does. My drive comes more now from purpose, than it does from simply goal achievement. I think that has moved on from when I swam. I want to create a business that people love to work for, and that they think this is the best job they ever had.

M7: You haven’t had an ordinary career, to say the least. Thousands know you for your many swimming achievements. Can you talk about winning a gold medal at the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988 and representing your country? What was your first thought when you saw your time?
AM: 
Representing my country was always something I did with great pride throughout my career, because it was always a stepping stone to achieving the bigger goals I had set. Once I was on a stage where I was representing Team GB, I could be in the mix to win Olympic medals or set world records.

The Seoul Olympics were such a pivotal moment in my career, as it had taken me 4 years to recover from the disappointment of my performance at my first Olympics in LA in 1984 (I came 4th). In the lead up to Seoul, I had analyzed every part of my performance from stroke technique to psychology and nutrition, all to make sure I was in the best possible shape. Going in as the favorite to win the 100m breaststroke, I also learnt from my mistakes in the 1984 Olympics by mentally preparing for the huge expectations the media placed on me.

It was a close race, and my first thought when I finished the race was “Did I get it?” because I had been 6th at the halfway turn. I worked so hard in the final part of the race and was closing the gap with every stroke. I knew it would be close, and it was: I saw my name at the top of the leaderboard, having won by only one-hundredth of a second. The relief and joy were unbelievable, but I must admit they did give way to tears when I stood on that podium with my gold medal.


"It’s critical that we have managers who see the potential, and the best in people, and who also have the skills to draw that out of them."

M7: Apart from the culture and behaviors, in terms of developing people, what are the initiatives Lane 4 has in place?
AM: 
At Lane4, as well as developing companies’ culture, we work to develop their leaders, teams and management, with the ultimate aim of improving people’s working lives. The metaphor I use from my time in swimming is that I want to help people in their own race – whatever that might be for them. Because we are a development organization, everything we do for our clients we also turn in on ourselves, and make sure we have the best developed employees too! Right now, a big part of my time is taken up seeing how we can best work within the restrictions, and for us that has meant moving a chunk of our face-to-face delivery to virtual. It’s been a big shift but also an exciting one in terms of showcasing some of our new digital products.

Our digital team has been working really hard over the past couple of years so that we have webinars, e-learning tools, virtual classrooms and personalized coaching apps already. These tools mean our transition to virtual delivery has been much smoother than it otherwise would have been. Our teams have also been sharing their learning with each other in real time. Again, from sport, we are really good at in moment performance reviewing – good or bad; asking ourselves: what’s the lesson?

I’m most excited about the off-the-shelf products which we’re going to market with. They aim to develop skills which are really relevant right now: adaptability, wellbeing, and how to be a high performing team. They’re scalable because they can be accessed anytime from any device, and that’s been the real success within the organisations we’ve used them in so far: it allows leaders to unify learning. That sense of cohesion is a benefit which feels all the more relevant now most of us are working virtually.

M7: Development is very closely linked to performance management. What approach does Lane 4 take when it comes to managing employee performance? And what is the reason behind such an approach?
AM: When I started Lane4, I had just come from this incredibly elite environment of professional swimming, and I wanted to apply some of that performance psychology and focus to the workplace. I’ve always had the belief that if people are given the right tools, then anyone can improve and realize their potential. It’s this belief that talent is everywhere, combined with psychology and our experience in elite sport, which grounds our approach and gets the best out of people. Our ultimate aim is to build winning organisations and improve people’s working lives.

I am also a big believer in the coach enabling and facilitating people – in this case, the person’s line manager. It’s critical that we have managers who see the potential, and the best in people, and who also have the skills to draw that out of them. Clarity between the person and the manager around role and goal expectations is crucial.


"If people are given then right tools, then anyone can improve and realize their potential."

M7: With many more people working from home, leaders are starting to experience a drop in people's motivation at work. In your opinion, how can smart managers effectively lead and motivate remote teams during the COVID-19 pandemic?
AM: 
In the last month I have run webinars with my colleagues on both leading virtual teams and maintaining motivation, because they are issues which many of us are facing right now. Leadership and motivation have to be looked at completely differently right now, because COVID-19 is a completely unprecedented challenge.
In terms of leading teams at the moment, there are some key lessons I have learnt from my experience of performing under pressure and weathering the 2008 financial crisis as a small business. To name a few, during a crisis it’s key to manage your own state as a leader. A lot of this is understanding what physical signs your body gives you when it’s all getting a bit much. Investing in support networks means you can then lean on others when this happens. Another one is to set up clear roles and responsibilities. In coping with disruption, priorities get scattered, and it becomes even more important to have those contracting conversations so that your teams know where their focus should lie.

At Lane4, we look at motivation through a framework. This outlines the four determinants of motivation: Autonomy, Belonging, Competence and Meaning. Once you have understood how working from home has impacted your motivation as a leader through these four areas, interrogate how that might be playing out for your team. With this understanding, you can tailor your leadership behaviors to help improve your team’s motivation.

There’s also something to be said about giving your teams a line of sight towards your organisation’s defined purpose during COVID-19, which might not be as corporate as it used to be. Having that line of sight allows them to create their own roadmap towards the goal and helps remind them of the meaning of their work at a time where little feels certain.

M7: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your work - what day to day processes have you had to re-tool to be able to pull them off remotely? What does your remote tech stack look like?
AM: 
As Managing Director of Lane4, I spend a lot of time with the six board members I’m lucky enough to have working alongside me. Part of my job is helping them be brilliant, and thankfully I can still do that virtually, not that they need much help at all!

I’ve always believed that effective communication is key to a successful organization and I’ve managed to maintain this with people in my team during the pandemic. However, this does mean I find myself on Microsoft Teams for a lot of hours during the week. What this situation has made me notice is that operating remotely can still be highly effective given the number of digital tools we have available now. Although I still maintain that nothing beats a face-to-face conversation over a coffee!

As I mentioned, we’ve been operating mainly on Microsoft Office 365. The whole organisation uses this so it creates consistency throughout different teams. Whether that’s saving and sharing documents on SharePoint or holding a company-wide update on Microsoft Teams, I’ve been really impressed with how seamlessly the tech has worked.


"The sense of cohesion is a benefit which feels all the more relevant now when most of us are working virtually."

M7: How does Lane 4 cultivate an environment that encourages employees to seek guidance and support from leaders?
AM:
 We believe in having a learning mindset at Lane4, which dictates that people’s beliefs and abilities are malleable, not fixed. Because we encourage our employees to adopt and explore that learning mindset as much as possible, as people stretch themselves outside their comfort zones, they inevitably fail sometimes. But we believe in “failing fast”: failing, but learning quicker as you bounce back than you otherwise would have done. That’s where the support and guidance comes in, which we have embedded into the culture through mentoring schemes and coaching sessions.

We also promote trust immensely, and that’s been something which I’ve felt is pivotal to us as an organization overcoming the COVID-19 crisis. By being as transparent as possible with our people the whole way through this, I think they’ve felt more able to ask us for support when they have needed it.

M7: What are some exciting projects going on in Talent Management at Lane 4?
AM:
One of the projects which we’ve been excited about recently has been upskilling all of our consultants to bring them up to speed with our new talent management offering. It’s been a huge project and one we are proud to have completed despite COVID-19 making it slightly trickier.

I’m also really proud of the Bounce Forward academy we’ve set up for our employees currently on furlough. It’s allowed them to access training sessions to help them gain confidence with all of our digital platforms, mentoring schemes and opportunities to connect with one another around topics other than work. There was even a virtual gardening session led by our Director of Finance last week!

M7: What is your favorite quote?
AM: 
During my time as a swimmer, my favourite quote was: “If you follow in the footsteps of somebody, you’ll never overtake them.” My coach used to point out athletes who were really good at what they did, and I would watch them and learn. Having said that, I was always aware of the danger of only focusing on beating my competitors, because my reasoning was: if I’m just trying to beat someone else’s best performance, I might never know what my best could have looked like.

Now my swimming career is behind me, I don’t collect inspirational quotes quite as much as I used to! The one I have taken with me into the journey of building Lane4 is: “The aim of this establishment is to create an environment where champions are inevitable”.

ABOUT LANE4 MANAGEMENT GROUP

Lane4 are experts in people performance. Drawing on over 25 years’ experience of leadership development, our highly skilled team design and deliver bespoke programs in over 40 countries and in 18 languages to engage people in their development, create a sustainable shift in performance and truly change people’s working lives.

We work across leadership development, team development, culture change and large scale manager development. These topics can be delivered through a mix of face-to-face and digital methods.

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Employees prioritize saving for retirement The survey revealed employees are focused on balancing basic needs with long-term savings outcomes against a backdrop of ongoing economic pressures that continue to top their list of concerns. Employees of all generations ranked saving for retirement as their top financial priority, followed by affording basic needs and paying off consumer debt3. "Saving for retirement is the No. 1 financial priority for employees surveyed, which validates that access to workplace benefits and financial wellness programs is helping Americans save for retirement and achieve better financial outcomes,” Littlefield said. “Going forward, increased personalization as well as tailored savings and investment strategies that take into account an individual’s financial goals, lifestyle, health care needs, dependent care obligations, retirement income expectations, and other unique factors will help achieve improved financial security in retirement.” Retention and recruitment of older employees critical for business success Employee interest in phased retirement has added value for employers. Most employers (77%) agree that the knowledge older employees have about their company is crucial to their business’s success. Employers concerned with “having valuable employees retire” are more likely to take actions to either retain them or hire employees who previously retired from other companies. Despite this, not all employers have experience with offering phased retirement. Only 11% of small and midsized businesses4 reported they offer phased retirement job opportunities on a regular basis compared to nearly one quarter of large businesses5. However, interest is there, as 61% of businesses that don’t offer a phased retirement still receive questions from employees about the options. See all results and insights from the latest Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM (PDF). According to the Alliance for Lifetime Income This wave included a survey of 137 individuals between the ages of 50 and 75 who consider themselves retired or have previously fully retired and gone back to work. In order to be included in the survey sample, employees must work full-time, and their employer has to offer either health insurance or retirement as an employee benefit. Businesses with 2-499 employees Businesses with 500-10,000 employees About the Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM The Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM surveys business owners, decision makers and business leaders aged 21 and over who work at companies with 2-10,000 employees and offer either health insurance or retirement as an employee benefit. The nation-wide survey, commissioned since 2012, examines the financial well-being of American workers and business employers. In 2020, the Well-Being Index was transformed from an annual survey to a regular pulse, offering three waves, revisiting questions and measuring sentiment regarding timely issues in the small and midsized business marketplace. In the first pulse of the Well-Being Index in 2022, the employee audience was added to the survey to compare and contrast key sentiment from employers. The survey was commissioned by Principal® and conducted online by Dynata from November 6-13, 2023, with a total of 500 business owners, decision makers and business leader participants and a total of 200 employee participants. This wave included a survey of 127 individuals who consider themselves retired or have previously fully retired and gone back to work. The research report focuses on providing a holistic perspective on key trends and timely issues in the small and medium business market. About Principal Financial Group® Principal Financial Group® is a global financial company with 19,500 employees1 passionate about improving the wealth and well-being of people and businesses. In business for more than 140 years, we’re helping more than 61 million customers1 plan, protect, invest, and retire, while working to support the communities where we do business, and build a diverse, inclusive workforce. Principal® is proud to be recognized as one of the 2023 World’s Most Ethical Companies® by Ethisphere2, a member of the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index, and a “Best Places to Work in Money Management3.”

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HR Practice

Pipefy Launches AI-Powered HR Automation Solution to Improve the Employee Experience

Pipefy | January 15, 2024

Pipefy, the global industry leader in AI-driven process automation, announced the launch of Pipefy AI for HR, with customizable chatbots that are available to help employees, 24/7. Pipefy AI for HR delivers instant and centralized access to policies, forms, data, and other information frequently requested from HR teams. Pipefy AI for HR gives employees a single portal in which they can not only find the information and documents they need, but also submit requests, such as for vacation time or reimbursements. Employees can use the chatbot to ask questions about PTO, research open roles within the company, or reference company policies. The chatbot is available in any language and accessible on any device. For HR teams, Pipefy for AI means more face time with employees, better SLA attainment, and more time to focus on HR strategy. Pipefy AI helps HR teams make data-driven decisions by providing fast access to data, process insights, and crucial metrics such as attrition and employee satisfaction. For example, HR professionals can ask Pipefy AI questions such as “What are the top factors contributing to turnover in the sales department?” “Pipefy AI for HR is all about helping HR teams deliver exceptional employee experiences,” said Alessio Alionco, CEO of Pipefy. “It does this by improving response times and giving employees more autonomy. Beyond this, Pipefy AI gives HR professionals more time for the 1:1 contact and strategic planning that truly make a difference for employees and the company as a whole. From a process automation perspective, this AI tool works like a virtual assistant, automating workflows, handling routine tasks, answering common questions, and routing incoming requests.” Alionco added, “Generative AI solutions such as ours are ideal to help HR professionals streamline their workload and improve employee experiences – and their adoption is accelerating. In fact, according to Gartner, 81% of HR leaders have explored or implemented artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to improve process efficiency within their organizations.” In a recent Pipefy survey, 79% of business and IT leaders said that they expect the combination of artificial intelligence and process automation – such as Pipefy AI – to increase efficiency by at least 25%. Importantly, Pipefy AI for HR delivers industry-leading security features and certifications, to help make sure that teams are safe, secure and in compliance. About Pipefy Pipefy delivers a leading business process automation platform that increases team productivity and efficiency, centralizes data, and standardizes processes for teams in IT, Finance, HR, Customer Operations and more. Through its no-code process automation and AI framework, Pipefy helps businesses achieve operational efficiency and optimal productivity for every team in every department. Among its many recognitions, Pipefy was named to the Deloitte Technology Fast 500™, a ranking of the 500 fastest-growing companies in North America in November, 2022.

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Lane4 are experts in people performance. Drawing on over 25 years’ experience of leadership development, our highly skilled team design and deliver bespoke programs in over 40 countries and in 18 languages to engage people in their development, create a sustainable shift in performance and truly cha...

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