Michael McGrath - Facing & Overcoming Adversity, Performance Catalyst
To absolutely inspire action and be a catalyst for change - irrespective as to how powerful you might think you are, you measure the impact of your words not on the emotion of a moment at any given time but on whether you have the ability to change the way not only people think but also the way they feel - only then can you possibly change the way they are - ultimately, this is what Michael tries hard to do.
To achieve maximum audience impact, deliveries are 'individually customised' with for example key messages being carefully woven into presentations. Working closely with his clients, Michael will often make recommendations that not only enhance an event but will always look at where and how more value can be added as part of the engagement process.
As the only disabled person in the world to have successfully led expeditions to both the North and South Poles, Michael fervently believes that improving an individual's performance through inspiration, results in greater performance for the team, company and for the individual. His greatest power is his emotional and intellectual force in connecting (often as a keynote speaker) with his audiences. Michael delivers powerful learning's that uplift both human and corporate consciousness, provoking, stimulating and inspiring change. Some of his clients most popular presentation titles include:
- Ice, Slice and Adrenalin
- Leadership in times of Adversity
- Powerful Beyond Measure
- Delivering Best Performance
- Inspiring others to Reach Beyond
- Taking Calculated Risks whilst Balancing the Possibility of Loss
- Belief and the Power Within
- I am a Change Agent
- Front-line Thinking, Front-line Acting
- disABILITY - Changing Attitudes, Dispelling Myths
- Diversity - Recognising and Valuing Difference
- Being Different is a Distinct Asset
- Exploring the Metaphor of Challenge
Conference keynotes, masterclasses, workshops, i-clinics (1:1 inspirational time-efficient sessions where Michael reveals his life-lessons and secrets of success, using the speed-dating format, that leave participants inspired, up-lifted and re-energized).
Michael is an inspiration. He has a thoroughly positive outlook for somebody facing such adversities
Direct, considered, inspired and inspirational
Michael kicked off our Annual Sales Leadership Conference in Barcelona based on the theme 'A New Beginning'. He is a powerful, energizing and thoughtful speaker. The immediate stunned silence at the end of his talk followed by the double standing ovation said it all! Michael helped push the team's mindset to focus on creating success in the future, rather than focus on the issues of the past. An impactful, impressive and inspiring talk
Michael was invited as our keynote speaker on the 2009 HBOS plc Conference "Strong Leadership in Changing Times", a one-day Senior Executive programme focused on the leadership legacy of Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1914-16 Endurance expedition. Recommended to HBOS, Michael was not only able to directly relate to this story of leadership in the face of extreme adversity, but to brilliantly articulate the business metaphors and challenges through a twenty-first century corporate lens. This he did with great insight and impact, weaving his own polar experiences in overcoming tremendous personal challenges to achieve the unthinkable. Michael's life story added real perspective. He inspired delegates with his frankness, humility and engaging presentation style. I would have no hesitation in recommending Michael as a speaker.
Excellent, bang on message and inspiring
Michael's can-do presentation at our Barclays UK Banking Senior Leadership Conference was incredibly inspirational - in particular, he really brought to life the commercial imperatives of the diversity agenda, contributing significantly to the overall success of the event
The reaction of everyone standing up at the end of your keynote delivery at our Senior Management Conference was a massive tribute. I have never seen that before!
I found Michael's presentation fantastic. I have listened to hundreds of talks all over the world with speakers from Harvard, MIT, Yale, Seagate Technology, IBM and others; no speaker has ever inspired me so deeply as much as Michael. In fact his talk was the best I've ever heard! I am in admiration for what it is he does in his life, not just through his charity work but also in motivating and inspiring society in his capacity as a performance catalyst and professional speaker
Brilliantly conveyed, summed up by that impromptu standing ovation. 500 distinguished business guests from all corners of the Middle East were inspired, humbled and incredibly proud to have witnessed your powerfully engaging keynote address at our Business Traveller Middle East Awards at the Emirates Towers Hotel in Dubai. Striking exactly the right chord, guests were held spellbound by your feats of endeavour at both ends of the earth and those thought-provoking polar anecdotes. You confidently invited 500 hardened business travel professionals including many CEO's, Senior Executives and their partners to stand up in visualizing your journey, laugh warmly, cry helplessly and applaud vigorously. Half-forgotten aspirations and personal ambitions were rekindled for many. Your courage, ambition, personal drive and professionalism are to be commended. More of our world must hear what you have to say. The impact it had on all present, including myself, was profound
Michael's remarkable life story is one of consistently overcoming incredible odds. British born with a cocktail of Irish and Brazilian blood and educated by the Jesuits, Michael describes himself as the adventurous black sheep of his family, a catalyst for change and a champion of difference; most of his family are in medicine. Michael made history in January 2004 by becoming the only disabled person in the world to have successfully led expeditions to both the North and South Poles - by any standards, an extraordinary example of determination, courage and singular achievement.
He is first and foremost a father to his daughter and husband to his wife, also his business partner. At the age of 12yrs, Michael wanted to be a professional golfer. At 14yrs, he was invited to play at Junior Wimbledon. At 15yrs, he dreamt of becoming the General Manager of the Savoy Hotel in London. At 16yrs, he was a keen rugby player at Stonyhurst College (a flanker by trade!), an independent Catholic boarding school founded in 1593 (guided by Jesuit principles), whose motto "Quant Je Puis" (As Much As I Can) is central to McGrath's own Reach Beyond ethos and Can-Do spirit. At 18yrs, he was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, a muscle wasting disease that remains the single biggest genetic killer of children on the planet ~ in that moment, Michael's life instantly changed forever.
He is in demand as an inspiring motivational business speaker. He travels the world, provoking, stimulating and inspiring change whilst championing his 3M formula for success (based around the brain being a muscle, the body's ability to move and the mind needing to be fuelled by motivation) for both private and public sector organisations.
Managing his own business, Michael has influenced and changed the mind-sets of thousands through speaker engagement and bespoke masterclass activity, giving clients a robust opportunity to creatively leverage key business objectives. Michael is also a specialist disABILITY adviser to the hospitality industry, with a focus on revenue generation. An Oxford Brookes Alumnus, he graduated in 1988 from the internationally recognised Department of Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism Management. Described as the Jeremy Clarkson of the Hospitality World, he is often invited to write for professional industry journals. Within the hospitality sector, past clients have included Hilton Hotels UK & Ireland, for whom he was exclusively appointed the Disability Champion for 4 years. He is a judge on the industries prestigious Cateys Awards. Michael is also a Senior Associate for a leading diversity practice that provides its clients with indisputable evidence on the effects that diversity strategies are having on people in their organisations.
When not speaking or consulting, he's raising vital funds and awareness to support the important work of The Muscular Help Foundation (musclehelp.com), a UK registered charity based near London that helps children and young people in the UK with muscular dystrophy via its Muscle Dreams programme, live a dream or fulfil a cherished ambition. He is the Founder.
Past clients have included
Barclays, Roche Pharmaceuticals, HBOS, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Lloyds TSB Women's Network, DHL Global, Hilton International, Credit Suisse, Shaw Trust, Capital Resourcing, Deutsche Bank, Carillion Transport, the NHS, Shoosmiths, the Cabinet Office, Motorola, Medtronic Inc, Remploy, Government Office for the South East, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, various UK public sector organisations including County Councils and Housing Associations, as well as many places of learning from Ashridge Business School (one of the world's leading business management colleges) to junior, secondary and special education needs (SEN) schools.
The Michael McGrath Experience
Michael on - INSPIRATION
The feeling that inspiration gives us is often described within the body as having an elevated energy and enthusiasm. Successfully reaching two of the most inhospitable places on earth is in itself remarkable and inspiring; what is all the more remarkable is the fact that despite his adversity, Michael's story focuses in part on his enormous mental energy but also his unique ability to create what he calls a 'shift in state' in others towards a place that is 'inspirational'. His story is not just about where he draws his own day-to-day inspiration but also why real inspiration can be a great catalyst for change. It is about our individual ability to make a difference in others, no matter what our limitations. Despite most people in Michael's life saying that it would be impossible ("you can't do that"), despite the probabilities, the enormous odds and the utter disbelief from those in the medical world who understand the physiological risks associated with extreme cold and muscular dystrophy - if we believe in something strongly enough and critically, can inspire others to believe, then absolutely anything is possible.
Michael on - LEADERSHIP
To what extent can one person influence or directly affect human behaviour so as to accomplish a goal? Some leaders have an innate ability to naturally lead, whereas others learn about the attributes and qualities associated with leadership. Leadership works through people and culture, whilst management works through hierarchy and systems - real leaders inspire action in others; they are often magnetic people. Real leaders think and behave differently; they infuse energy and eagerness into their team. Real leaders must give direction, provide inspiration, build teams, set an example and most of all, be accepted - distinct nuances not found in management. Real leaders have the competence to motivate in adversity - leadership in Michael's world is not simply about motivating people to be more effective and efficient but about being visible and outcome-focused. Seeing the big-picture, listening to all ideas, communicating clearly, being mindful of difference whilst having the ability to charismatically motivate in ultimately finding a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen. Michael's trait of optimism is a classic leadership quality that continues to drive him forwards - few pessimists ever become great leaders!
Michael on - MOTIVATION
Michael often refers to what he calls the first and golden rule of motivation which states that a person will never inspire others, unless they're seriously inspired themselves. Motivation is something that sits deep within all of us - it is the incentive 'to make a difference' that draws the motivation out of each and every one of us to do what it is we do. In Michael's case, his motivation causes others to take action - building a motivated team requires an understanding in recognising the difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary. In Michael's own words 'really effective motivation is seldom rationale, it hits you at an emotional level'. Unfortunately you can't buy motivation in tablet form to be taken three times daily after meals - in Michael's case, motivating others starts with his own humility, his quiet sense of self, his infectious self-motivation and calm self-confidence, key qualities that continue to sustain him as his life's journey continues to unfold.
Michael on - TEAMWORK
Michael's greatest hero is Sir Ernest Shackleton and specifically his legendary Antarctic expedition of 1914-1916. Shackleton is a tremendous role model of teamwork that many individuals and global organisations refer to and learn from in business today, not least Michael who attracted the patronage of the Honourable Alexandra Shackleton (Sir Ernest's grand-daughter) for his South Pole expedition. In wanting to understand the real importance of teamwork, especially when operating in the extreme environments of the Arctic and the Antarctic, Michael's own team couldn't have been more diverse. Like Shackleton, Michael conducted a number of highly unconventional interviews to find unique talent - he looked for the attributes of optimism, cheerfulness, courage, patience and physical endurance in potential candidates. In Michael's case, teamwork was directly linked to his own physical well-being and his survival.
Unorthodox recruitment methodologies involved personality profiling, behavioural observation and analysis as well as 1:1 interviews, conducted in part at the Hammersmith Hospital in London where Michael's annual 'MOT' used to take place. This focused activity resulted in identifying the right blend of complimentary skills and attributes that Michael was looking for - candidates joined him in open discussion whilst he underwent a series of tests involving both electrocardiogram, CT Scans and a nuclear heart scan (known specifically as myocardial viability testing). Unusual you might think but remember that Michael was looking for team members that he could trust with his life! As evidenced by Michael's own unique achievements, teams that 'trust' and are 'honest with each other' from the outset, who work tirelessly together towards a common goal will accomplish and prevail.
- Contact us for more information on booking Michael McGrath for your event