This week Richard Anton, partner and co-founder at growth capital firm Oxx, on donning lycra, making deals while on the piste and his admiration for Gareth Southgates leadership style.
What are your sporting passions?
In terms of participating, skiing and cycling. I have also been enjoying the World Cup immensely.
How did you first get into sport?
Following encouragement from friends and family at a young age.
Do you also participate in sport?
Absolutely. From 14 or 15 I started skiing, regularly going off-piste in the French mountains. From day one it gave me a great thrill and this has never left me. I find skiing very meditative, I am able to get into the zone, my mind away from the stresses of life and my thoughts tend to be very expansive. The slopes are a place where I can come up with fresh ideas – so much so that I once negotiated a merger while skiing!
Cycling is the other sport I participate in. This is something I am able to build into my day-to-day life. Gyms I do not enjoy, so cycling the 10 or so miles to and from work acts as great exercise but is also great for clearing my head. I take my cycling seriously so I have to admit that I am a Mamil (middle-aged man in lycra)!
Most cherished sporting moment?
Cycling through the Brecon Beacons. The valleys are so beautiful and isolated.
Greatest hope in sport?
For England to win the World Cup! It has been fantastic watching Gareth Southgate do so well with the team. I work with B2B software companies at scale-up stage and being involved in entrepreneurship teams requires good leadership, which is similarly important for a national team manager. Southgate has distinguished himself from past managers by showing great leadership and instilling unity, team spirit and discipline. Englands success from set-plays proves the amount of practice they are putting in on the training field. The team shows terrific togetherness which has captured the nations imagination. The one person who should get ultimate credit is the leader.
Further afield, I hope to see more togetherness in team sport and more of Southgates form of leadership as it brings the best out in sport – enthusiasm, team spirit and discipline. Also, it would be nice to see more success for leaders of Southgates ilk – quietly spoken, gets on with the job and focuses on objectives. Southgate also has a real focus on youth, which I think is really important in both sport and business.
If you could change one thing about sport, what would it be?
I would like to see bad behaviour, cheating, foul play and general unsporting behaviour become socially unacceptable. Unsporting play should not have a place in sport. I think video assistant referees are a good thing and people have called on such a system for years. More than that, I would like to see sportspeople show sportsmanship, and I hope one day this will be seen as more important than winning.