Roderic Yapp, a former Royal Marine Officer has developed his military training to raise the bar in business leadership. He talks to Mike Stead, breakfast presenter at Wandsworth Radio about his TEDx Talk.
At the time of applying to volunteer as a writer for TEDxWandsworth a year ago, I was studying at the University of Roehampton. I found myself really wanting to volunteer for something I was truly passionate about and that would help me develop my skills and experience as a student.
So I researched local opportunities and found TEDxWandsworth, the perfect fit. Started by an amazing local team with one mission: to generate, explore and encourage conversation about some very inspirational things. Why on earth not?
What’s my role at TEDxWandsworth?
My job is all about fun and interaction: I simply don’t want anyone to be bored at TEDxWandsworth. I think of networking activities that, hopefully, encourage engagement and involvement for all of our delegates. From Intellectual Speed Dating last year (which didn’t actually have any dating/matchmaking involved, to the relief of many concerned individuals in relationships) to whatever is in store this year… you’ll have to wait to find out!
Have you taken part in an event like this before? If so, how many?
I have delivered 3-4 talks for large organisations and industry bodies such as the Association for Chartered Certified Accountants. I have spoken about a range of subjects linked to leadership ranging from ‘how to build a high performing team’ to ‘breaking bad habits’.
How do you feel about speaking at TEDxWandsworth?
I am really excited about it and looking forward to the event. I have been a fan of TED for about four years and a Wandsworth resident since 2013. I’m looking forward to sharing something that I’ve learnt and explaining the concept using my own experience in the Royal Marines and the nuclear sector.
What do you hope to achieve by giving this talk?
I want to share the concept of double-loop learning so that people can use it to achieve their own goals. I think that it’s a simple but brilliant model that works at both an individual and organisational level. I want to share the approach with a wider audience.
What inspired you to take part in TEDxWandsworth?
I am a fan of Simon Sinek who is widely known for his 2009 TED Talk on Start with Why . In this talk he shared the concept that many people, including myself, have found valuable. I simply thought ‘Why can’t I do something like that?’
If you could pick one thing you wish you knew when you were younger what would it be?
Divorce your personality from your performance. Until you do this, you will not be able to accept tough, challenging feedback. When I was younger, I worked extremely hard to succeed. This meant that I wrapped myself up in accomplishing goals. Consequently, I took feedback as a critique of me rather than my performance. In order to be successful we have to accept that the two are separate and feedback is vital for success.
When did you decide that this was the career route you wanted to pursue?
I was unhappy in my last role but I was trying to convince myself that it was the right path for me. I decided to stop and really think about what I wanted to do – what positive impact did I want to have on the world?
Many people dislike their jobs because they have poor leaders. But their leaders have rarely been trained, so how can we expect them to be successful? I decided to use my experience of leading in challenging environments, where the consequences of leadership failure is usually death or serious injury and apply them to another sector.
What is the biggest motivating factor in your life?
Life is short so you cannot afford to waste time working on things that don’t excite you. I want my children to understand that you can, and should, enjoy what you do for a living. The only way I can teach them that is if I lead by example and demonstrate it myself.