Do you find your environment can help you think differently? I do and last week was a case in point.

A privileged visit to the world renown McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, Surrey was an inspirational few hours in an incredible environment steeped in the history and pedigree of Formula 1, innovation and pioneering technology in this high performance building and culture.

The visit kindly arranged by a friend, was a mixture of business and pleasure which drew many parallels and reflections on life which I wanted to share with you…

My top 10 lessons in business and life inspired by this visit:


1. Create the environment to think different: McLaren went above an beyond casting their strategic plan decades ahead when they  created the concept of the McLaren Technology Centre back in the very early 1990’s.

2. Challenge tradition: “If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got”. In fact it is even worse than this, in todays fast moving life, remaining static does not guarantee you anything apart from a rapidly eroding position and value in the market.

3. Hard work pays rewards: nothing is ever achieved without expanding the mind.  Working hard in creating the asset enables the asset tot hen work hard for you. Short term effort for long term recurring gain.

4. Celebrate your past achievements but don’t be complacent about the future: Past successes do not guarantee future performance. Celebrating successes is hugely important along the journey however complacency must never set in. 75m long trophy cabinets full of Racing trophies are interestingly placed at the end of the building and NOT at the entrance. They are not representative of the future, more a reminder that we did achieve and the focus is now on how we continue to gather momentum for the future.

5. Inspiration can come from ANYWHERE: Create a humble culture where the best ideas can come from anyone, any event (success or failure), any experience etc. Always thinking how the next 0.1% improvement can come from and recognising that every member of the Team has a key role to play.

6. Start with v1 to get to v10: No product or service is created first time in its final form. They evolve constantly and to do this you must make a start and learn from feedback, critique and analysis. The external environment changes constantly and being humble, nimble and agile remain a constant in any successful organisations growth plans.

7. Showcase your brand – inspire others: The power of a successful brand creates alignment and inspiration through collaboration across so many aspects. Take McLaren’s collaboration with Gandys clothing with their inspired flip-flop design in the likeness of the F1 cars Halo safety feature. Great lateral thinking with on brand messaging.

8. Multiple levels of income:  McLaren is a business, first and foremost. It has a hugely diverse array of multi-disciplinary teams, income streams, funding structures delivering a high performance culture. McLaren may be seen as a supercar manufacturer or F1 team however it has many other income streams including sponsorship, technology advancement and industry R&D collaborations across aeronautical, automotive, pharmaceutical sectors to mention a few.

9. Create shared value: This is a big one for me. Successful businesses recognise that their extended Team become synonymous and linked to the success of the venture. We all rise together. Define who your extended Team are and the stakeholders in your successes and create relationships that grow exponentially. You can rarely succeed just on your own.

10. Know your purpose and your Why: When you know where you are going and why it is much easier to relate to the things that will drive you forward, then it becomes much smoother to say yea and no to the opportunities that present themselves.


Do you take the time to put yourself outside of your comfort zone, get into an inspirational environment and recharge your batteries, recheck/reset your roadmap and drive forward?