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Ever have days when you can’t be arsed? Hear what Greg Dyke, Jude Kelly and Martin Narey have to say

At On Your Marks in 2013, one of our members was brave enough to ask what we all want to know… it’s easy to stand up and talk about leadership but surely there are days when even our first class speakers lack a little motivation of their own?

After much laughter at the initial question from both the room and the speakers, Greg Dyke enthusiastically starts with his response. He says he is interested in everything and the bigger problem he has is being frustrated by not having enough time. He is involved in football which he admits can sometimes be so difficult he is occasionally tempted to delegate to others. However, what really drives him is pulling lots of new ideas together to take things in new directions.

On the other hand, Sir Martin Narey appears thoughtful. He says that, during his prison service years, he did not want to go to work on the overwhelming majority of Monday mornings. He struggled with holiday as it was a taste of real life and didn’t understand that feeling of coming back to work refreshed.

His real point though is that getting fulfilment from work is not necessarily the same thing as enjoying it. Much of what he has done has been thoroughly miserable, and he has often felt things are just too difficult, but what he has done has still been hugely worthwhile and a great privilege.

Jude Kelly, Artistic Director, Southbank Centre is quick to counter this by emphasising that despair with your situation is not the same as “can’t be arsed”. People are extremely fortunate if they are passionately in love with their job. However, she points out that not being arsed to do something for a loved one is a sure sign your relationship is not as it should be. By applying this logic to work instead, her advice would be to change what you are doing as soon as you start feeling this way.


Connect is our leadership programme that inspires, develops and connects leaders whose professional paths would not normally cross. With clients from large corporates, social enterprises, charities and the public sector, we bring together a diverse community of 90 top leaders to learn alongside and from each other.

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Some of the people mentioned in this article are part of Wavelength’s SpeakersHub. To view their full biographies, find links to videos, and to book them to speak at your own event please click on the links below:

Sir Martin Narey, Former CEO, Barnardo’s & former Director General, The Prison Service

Jude Kelly, Artistic Director, Southbank Centre

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