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Matthew Syed Inspirational Speaker

Matthew Syed is a journalist, broadcaster and author of two best-selling books Black Box Thinking and Bounce. 

Matthew Syed speaks often to high profile organisations about high performance and how success happens. He talks about growth mindset, the need to embrace failure and how to build a culture of relentless improvement. Just as the entire aviation industry learns from each aircraft's black box after an incident, failure should become an opportunity to adapt and grow. 

Before becoming a leading thinker in the science of elite performance, Matthew Syed was England's No.1 table tennis player for more than a decade and competed at two Olympic games.

Key messages

Growth Mindset

Learning from Failure

Building a culture of relentless improvement

Matthew Syed Inspirational Speaker

Matthew Syed  Inspirational Speaker

Matthew Syed is one of the world’s most influential thinkers in the field of high performance and cultural change. He speaks often to high profile organisations about high performance and how success happens. He talks about growth mindset, the need to embrace failure and how to build a culture of relentless improvement. Just as the entire aviation industry learns from each aircraft's black box after an incident, failure should become an opportunity to adapt and grow.

Matthew Syed explores a thought provoking approach to high performance in the context of a complex and fast-changing world.  He draws on a vast array of case studies and real-world examples across sport, business, education and politics.  Matthew looks at the inside story of how success really happens – and how we cannot grow unless we are prepared to learn from our mistakes.

He is the author of two bestselling books – Bounce and Black Box Thinking – having just released his latest book, The Greatest.  He is a multiple award-winning journalist for The Times and a highly-acclaimed speaker, regularly contributing to radio and television.

Before becoming a writer, journalist and broadcaster, Matthew Syed was the England table tennis number one for almost a decade, three-times Commonwealth Champion, and twice competed for Great Britain in the Olympic Games (in Barcelona in 1992 and Sydney in 2000). His style was unusually defensive, playing strokes from the back of the court described as “spectacular roof threatening parabolas”.

Matthew Syed has worked with some of the world’s leading organisations to build a mindset of continuous improvement.  He has now designed a cutting-edge thought leadership programme which is proving to be a catalyst for real and lasting change within business and the public sector.  

Key messages

Growth Mindset

Learning from Failure

Building a culture of relentless improvement

Matthew Syed  Inspirational Speaker

“It highlights the need for a growth mindset in life…It advocates for changing attitudes towards failure, and understanding that the only way we learn is by trying things and altering our behaviour based on the results.”

Richard Branson, Virgin Group

“Matthew Syed has focused our minds on the importance of re-evaluating our approach to development and progress, which has given us an insight and understanding as to how we can better succeed as a business. His time with us was a genuinely enlightening, entertaining and informative experience – Matthew is thought-provoking, challenging, insightful, fun and relevant to the most and the least experienced team member. The fact that “Black Box Thinking” and Matthew Syed anecdotes have become part of the everyday vocabulary of our team is a testament to the impact he has made.”

Andrew Masraf, Pinsent Masons LLP

“Fantastic, new approaches and techniques to transform our mindset.”

Matt Byrom, Siemens, reviewing Matthew’s Thought Leadership Programme

Matthew Syed I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say thank you for attending the MWH conference last week. Both your sessions were excellent and went down very well with the attendees.

The feedback has been great and our teams seem really happy we are challenging their thinking (which was the point). Matthew Syed’s discussion provoked a lot of conversation on the day and the follow up leadership workshop with Kathy on the second day really build on some of the concepts.

Our commercial Director has already widened his risk review process to incorporate the pre-mortem concepts, and the marginal gains session has certainly sparked a good few discussions on business improvements!”

Cath Schefer, CEO – MWH UK

"My own thinking was challenged in this workshop - new ideas - even though I had already read Black Box Thinking"

Lesley Longstone, Chief Executive, Independent Police Complaints Commission

"… exactly what we asked for…. very good… very well received." 

Molly Vaughan, Smith and Willamson

“It forced me to reflect on how I approach development within my team.  I have continued to think on this after the event which I think shows how impactful it was.”

Hana Searson, Director, Barclays

‘A great learning opportunity which brings successful performance enhancing techniques from the top athletes and teams in the sporting world, into practical application methods for business leaders and business teams.  The insights, learning and science really drives home the scale of the opportunity we have as leaders, through change of mindset and the introduction of these tools with our people’ 

Ingrid Astbury, Royal Bank of Scotland

“This programme would benefit organisations by providing an excellent framework to understand and appreciate their organisational mindset, and start to think about how they can accelerate their leadership skills to drive business forward. 

This is a hugely insightful programme.” 

Frank De Souza, GlaxoSmithKline

“Utterly inspiring. We are looking forward already to booking you again.” 

Colin Passmore, Senior Partner, Simmons and Simmons

“In Black Box Thinking, Matthew  Syed shows how having a growth mindset and creating a culture willing to embrace and learn from failure can categorically improve performance”

Nick Fox, Virgin

“Fantastic, new approaches and techniques to transform our mindset” 

Matt Byrom, Siemens 

“The work we have undertaken gives you the toolkit to invoke cultural change in a business to enable performance improvement. This is achieved through a variety of innovative and proven techniques taken from a variety of spheres. The programme brings the theory of ‘Black Box Thinking’ to life. It provides real life examples to back up theories and allow the delegates to learn, reflect and consider how it can be applied in the work environment” 

Steve Scott, Arriva UK Trains 

“Strategically, we have gained a richer, deeper understanding of the pervasiveness of the benefits available from adopting a growth mindset perspective. Tactically, you gain experience in a new technique that you can take straight back into the working environment. 

Personally, I have changed the way I engage- both at home and at work” 

Rennie Chadwick, Osborne

“I found this an extremely thought provoking two and a half days, well worth taking the time out of the day job for. It made me consider why certain "improvement projects" don't always meet expectation but moreover how this can be avoided or at least minimised in future projects. The tools and techniques provided in the course will certainly go a long way towards helping me understand how to better plan for success but also help me realise that failure is not necessarily a negative thing but is certainly a positive learning opportunity. I returned to work this morning to an information security improvement project relating to printing confidential documents that had thrown up some unintended consequences. The users of the system immediately blamed those that had developed it and wanted to abandon the project. However, I was able to tackle this fixed mindset by suggesting that if the users and the developers considered this as a learning opportunity we may actually get nearer to a satisfactory solution. To my delight they have already started to debate a better solution building upon what they have already developed. It’s a quick win for me.” 

Richard Jones, Interserve Construction Limited

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