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Role Models

Interview with Royston Hoggarth

By 30 January 2020February 3rd, 2020No Comments
Royston Hoggarth shares life lessons for SWinG
Together We Build Dreams

I enjoy creating environments where teams of people can thrive and deliver to the best of their abilities.

Role Model ID Card
  • Name: Royston Hoggarth
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Organisation: England Hockey
  • Elected position: Chair
  • How long have you been in your current position? 4 years

To begin with, please tell us a little about yourself.

Royston Hoggarth: Following University in the UK, my life was shaped by a decision to join the Information Technology industry in the 1980s at a time when the current digital revolution was in its infancy. I was fortunate to work with some of the world’s leading companies. Such as IBM, Logica, Cable & Wireless, BT, all at an Executive or Board level. I lived in France, the US and spent considerable time in the Far East along the way. I moved into a plural work life model in my mid 40s. And now work with a variety of Private Equity backed business, two additional businesses where I am a co-founder and one other publicly owned businesses. These are spread across a range of industries from payments, insurance, software, services and aeroplanes. My first venture into the world of elite sport was when I became Chair of England Hockey in 2015.

My passion is about building technology businesses, creating opportunities for people to build their careers and benefit from the shared success in their company. Yet I have also a lifelong love of sport. I played cricket and hockey to a high level through University. I have remained active enjoying many other sports including sailing, soccer, running and skiing. 

Nowadays, I spend my time between my farm in the middle of the UK and my London home, on the river at Tower Bridge.


Can you tell us about your “Why”  and how you came to leadership position?

RH: I have always found myself in leadership roles, from captaining sports teams at school and club level, to being head of School and moving into the workplace as a senior manager and CXO. I enjoy creating environments where teams of people can thrive and deliver to the best of their abilities. Whether on the sports field or Board room. I have always thrived on working and playing hard.


What is it you want to achieve and what made you decide on your professional and personal pathway?

RH: “I have always been operationally driven, preferring to focus on making things happen. I believe in setting ambitious goals, simplifying tasks and plans, getting teams to prioritise on no more than two or three key objectives. And then working hard to deliver ahead of the plan.


How do you achieve your goals and keep up with the fast-changing society?

RH: Building on my comments above, a large part of helping people and businesses to be successful is about building a consensus amongst the team around common goals. Barriers are far easier to overcome when teams believe in the goal and are willing to do what is required to deliver. This is equally true on the sports field as it is in the office. 

I have never really suffered with stress. I am much better on the pitch than watching from the sides, hence continuing to run and build my own companies. 

Staying connected and relevant is a great question. I work a lot with early stage companies, especially in the technology sector through venture capital work. We are fortunate to see hundreds of very inspirational investment thesis every year, of technologies that could change the world. We invest in what we hope are the better opportunities.


Who inspires you? And why?

Royston Hoggarth: I am a big believer in role models and the people you meet along the journey of life who have a profound impact on your own values and ideologies. I wouldn’t pick out individuals. But I have been fortunate to work and meet with some very inspirational and successful business people on the world stage, from many different cultures and backgrounds. What I learnt in my early days of being a chief executive was the importance of bringing everyone across the enterprise with you on the journey. People always surprise me with their accomplishments and abilities.

If I had to pick one person, it would be Ricardo Semler, who built a company called Semco in Sao Paulo. His embodiment of participative management at Semco is inspirational and would commend his book “Maverick” to any aspiring leader.

Hockey has some work to do to make heroes and heroines of their players, one day we will make them household names.


What kind of resources has proven to be the best help throughout your journey ? And where did you find them?

RH: “The key resources to me have always been my colleagues and several of my mentors from a range of places. These include the office, academia, Business School, and on the sports field.


When did your leadership story begin and where is it now?

Royston Hoggarth: “Like many youngsters, I dreamed of a life as a professional sportsman. But it was cricket not hockey that was my first love. I played both games to a high level, but soon realised that work was a bigger priority given my modest beginnings. I was fortunate to always be seen as a natural leader and that continues through today.

Now, I am fortunate to work across a range of industries, with very differing products and services. Life is about living and I enjoy learning new businesses and industries. Today I work in technology across the banking, insurance, contact centre, Omni channel, flying and property industries. Each business bring unique challenges and opportunities.


What was the most difficult challenge you had to overcome in your election journey? How did you overcome it?

RH: “Once I became aware England hockey were recruiting a new Chair, I was intrigued. But before I applied I wanted some reassurance about the strategy and whether I could really make a difference. I spent some time talking to leaders from some of the other professional sports in the UK, notably soccer, rugby and cricket. There are many similarities and equally as many differences. But I became confident that there was a huge potential for hockey to scale in the same way as rugby union has across the UK.


Finally, what words of advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?

Royston Hoggarth: “It’s an incredible world, go and explore!
Never stop reading, learning and listening!
Find things that interest you and pursue them relentlessly. Always be prepared to work harder than everyone else! Passion is what will keep you going when things get tough. Life is full of challenges, always see them as opportunities!
Keep smiling, attitude is everything. You can accomplish anything you set your mind to – don’t ever believe anyone who tells you otherwise!
Remember you are special!


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