Building and Motivating Teams

31 May 2017 by Isla Lightfoot

Five Key Themes from Corndel Management School's Lecture

The lecture, 'Overcoming Obstacles and Building Teams - Motivating People to Achieve your Goals', part of Corndel Management School's Diploma Lecture Series, was delivered on 31st May 2017 at Imperial College.

There were three speakers from a variety of different fields:

  1. Zoe Cunningham, Managing Director of Softwire
    Named as one of the 100 most influential people in Tech City and on the annual 35 Women Under 35 list published by Management Today.
  2. Nick Crichton CBE, Lumos:
    Formally a District Judge and instrumental in setting up the acclaimed Family Drug and Alcohol Court. 2011 winner of the outstanding achievement award at the 2011 Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year (LALY) and a trustee of J.K. Rowling’s influential charity Lumos.
  3. Marika Rauscher, Global award winning opera crossover soprano & vocal coach:
    A soloist, session singer and bespoke entertainment specialist, Marika’s album "A Broken Heart" was released in 2013 to widespread critical acclaim.

Although the speakers came from extremely varied backgrounds and sectors there were some core commonalities across all of their speeches in relation to leadership and management.

Five key themes that came across strongly in all the talks were:

  1. Communication;
  2. Personalisation
  3. Tenacity;
  4. Vision; and
  5. Management by walking around.


Marika Rauscher talked about how she had needed to communicate regularly and continuously with potential customers in order to secure her first singing engagements.

Nick Crichton emphasised the importance of judges talking to social workers if they are to really understand the issues facing families appearing in their courts.

Zoe Cunningham talked about giving regular positive as well as negative feedback to employees.

All of the speakers spoke about the importance of establishing trust through regular, honest communication with co-workers, employees and stakeholders.


Marika Rauscher gave the example of getting a singing engagement at Harrods by changing the question that she asked the owner to make it more relevant and important to him.

Nick Crichton spoke eloquently about working individually with each family to find the right solution for them and how a standardised approach could not meet the complex, unique needs of the families that his Court supported.

Zoe Cunningham talked about taking the time to understand what motivates each of your employees and how it would be different for each one. She gave a number of examples of different things that motivated different employees from flexibility to pursue external hobbies through to mastery, autonomy and purpose.


All of the speakers emphasised the need to be tenacious as a leader.

Marika Rauscher gave an entertaining account of her struggle to become an opera singer and the huge number of auditions that she had to go to in order to get her breakthrough.

Nick Crichton spoke about his struggles with established legal structures across Europe to get them to move from an adversarial form of adjudication in the Courts to a problem-solving one.

Zoe Cunningham spoke about how there are no easy answers to engaging a workforce and how you need to spend time, energy and effort to get it right.


The speakers were united in presenting a clear and compelling vision for what they wanted to achieve and the importance of this for leadership.

Marika Rauscher had a clear vision of becoming an opera singer and created a path to get to her goal.

Nick Crichton could see that the Courts were failing families in their present configuration and had a strong view of what needed to change to make them work.

Zoe Cunningham wanted her company to value its staff, to make them happy and fulfilled and to create great software.

Management by Walking Around

The importance of understanding what was going on right at the front line was a clear theme across all three talks.

Marika Rauscher talked about the need to individually talk to customers, understand their needs and ask them the right questions to get the information that you need

Nick Crichton personally visited every Court in Bulgaria in order to embed his ideas and drive through the necessary changes to make the Courts there serve families better.

Zoe Cunningham talked about speaking to each employee individually and ensuring that all staff felt that they could communicate with her honestly and directly.

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