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Rob Griffiths

Motiv is an active lifestyle and entertainment company focused on delivering authentic and immersive live and digital experiences - from events such as its flagship Sydney Running Festival, Denver’s iconic Oktoberfest or Warrington’s very own English Half Marathon. The company has its headquarters in Denver, Colorado, USA, and Rob runs the UK business from Birchwood, Warrington.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN YOUR CURRENT JOB? I have been with Motiv since August 2017, following their acquisition of the company that I founded in 2012, called Contest Sports. As well as my “day job” at Motiv, I am also  Trustee of Warrington Charities Trust, member of the new Culture Board in Warrington, and I'm Patron of local family support charity Home-Start Warrington.

EXPLAIN A TYPICAL WEEK IN YOUR WORKING LIFE: No week is the same. All depends on our events schedule, and my travel plans – between 2015 and 2017 I took over 100 business flights – so that brings its own challenges. I am an early riser, ordinarily online at 5:30am to check emails that have come in overnight from my US or Aussie colleagues, before heading off to the gym for 6am. After that, it all depends on meetings both internally and externally.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FACING YOUR INDUSTRY RIGHT NOW? The events industry is very crowded at the moment, with running events close to saturation. Always finding something different to offer participants is a challenge and being able to deliver a sustainable event based on high costs vs. the price that participants are willing to pay.

AND WHAT ARE THE BIG OPPORTUNITIES? Our event participants are active and affluent – connecting that audience with major lifestyle brands to build out a 365-day a year narrative is a huge and exciting proposition. Link that with building brand loyalty programmes and we have a powerful opportunity to create great experiences for our participants.

HOW DO YOU GET THE BEST OUT OF YOUR STAFF? Honesty. Keeping them not too far away from my ideas, concerns and thought processes allows us to collaborate more effectively. Then making sure that is two-way!

WHAT WAS YOUR LAST MEETING ABOUT, HOW LONG DID IT LAST, AND WAS IT PRODUCTIVE? My last meeting was with our whole team in Warrington. I wanted everyone to pitch in with all the things that they want to achieve over the next month, 3 months and to the year end. It lasted for around 30 minutes, and it allowed everyone to think about what success looks like for them, the team and what we have to do to achieve those goals. It also allowed us to work out what isn’t important and what we will just park until 2019. I do this process often in my notebook – it feels so much better when you get everything out of your head and start to build a plan of attack.

HOW MANY EMAILS DO YOU GET IN A DAY, AND HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE TO READ THEM? I get around 50 emails per day. I commit time in the morning to delegate them to the team where needs be and keep on top of them throughout the day. As a company we use Slack for more informal communications – which has reduced the email workload a great deal.

DO YOU ANSWER WORK CALLS OR EMAILS AT HOME? WHAT’S THE RIGHT WORK-LIFE BALANCE? We are a very global business – so there is no 9-5. Conference calls go on late into the evening to accommodate team members from across the world – but I have learnt to push back to ensure that I am not a slave to calls and emails. I think I have a good balance.

HOW DO YOU HOPE YOUR COLLEAGUES WOULD DESCRIBE YOU? I would hope the they would describe me as an ideas-person, relentless and enthusiastic. I most certainly wear my heart on my sleeve – which is something I need to work on at times to be more effective.

BREXIT – WHAT’S YOUR VIEW OF WHAT IT’S ALL GOING TO MEAN? I am not sure the politicians are too sure on what it is all going to mean – the whole thing does trouble me. But, you can only control the controllables – so we in business need to keep producing quality products, stay disciplined and motivated in what we do every day.

HIGHLIGHTS OR LOWLIGHTS OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? Definite highlight would be making a dream come true of using Warrington’s historic Golden Gates as the finish line for our English Half Marathon event. People said that I wouldn’t be able to get the support to do it – but we did it.

My lowlight was the time we lost out on the tender to deliver the Rock n Roll Liverpool Marathon – an event that I created in 2014 and delivered for 3 years. The event owners wanted a change of direction and it felt like years of work had gone down the drain. But in hindsight, I am very proud of what we created and also very happy with the continued success of the event since our exit – a job well done all round. But timing is everything and it opened up an wonderful opportunity to partner with Motiv – I would never change a thing!

PET HATES? In business – red tape and slow decision making. In day to day life – when people leave rubbish or receipts behind in their shopping trolleys. It strangely freaks me out.

IF YOU COULD GO BACK AND GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF SOME WISE ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Don’t do things alone. Build a team of informal advisors who you can tap into. And get a mentor.

HOW DO YOU RELAX AWAY FROM WORK? Running, gym sessions, reading, cooking, dog walks, chasing sunsets and playing Fortnite with my sons.

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS SPECIAL ABOUT CHESHIRE, AND ITS BUSINESS COMMUNITY? Cheshire is home – so it’s always going to be special. We are blessed to live in a very well-connected part of the world – but we still have that rural charm in areas. I think there is a very big sense of pride in the Cheshire business community – we know our strengths and we work together to go after our opportunities.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOU THAT MOST PEOPLE PROBABLY WOULDN’T KNOW. When I was 20 I started to have epileptic seizures and absences. It was a dark couple of years, where I was really up against it. My life could have gone down a different path but I believed in getting better and doing great things with my life. Thankfully, I now live an epilepsy free life and I take a lot from that period of time. My best friend tells me often that, however many times I have been up against the ropes or been knocked on the floor, I always get up and go again. I put that down to the grit and resolve that I developed in my early 20s.

YOU CAN TAKE ONE BOOK, ONE FILM AND ONE CD ONTO A DESERT ISLAND – WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

None of these are my favourite books, film or music – but I know it would help me get through being on a desert island! I would take the Harry Potter Complete Collection for my book (I have always meant to give them a read); my film would be a toss-up between Step Brothers or Forrest Gump (I could repeatedly watch either all day, every day, but I think Forrest Gump would just edge it – so many stories within the story); for my CD, it would have to be Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield (It always takes me to another place in my mind).

YOUR FIVE DREAM DINNER PARTY GUESTS, DEAD OR ALIVE? Oscar Wilde, Antoni Gaudi, Liam Gallagher, Alan Watts and The Queen. (I still hold out hope of going on a wild night out with Liam and would love to have afternoon tea with The Queen).

WHAT WOULD YOU COOK FOR THEM? I have a bit of a varied crowd and I do like to experiment in the kitchen, but not sure one of my curries or boozy shepherd's pies will go down well with The Queen– so I will play it safe and go for a roast dinner – but with plenty of options on the meats, veggies and sauces. Trifle desert or an Artic Roll. Why not both?

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