Life is chaotic. We try to make sense of that and design models to try and simplify life. We design bureaucracies to try and manage the complexities of life, but it isn’t that simple. That’s why I love the complexity of working with people. But as people, and the bureaucracies we design, we have a belligerence – we always have done. There is so much we can achieve in the world, and there is just as much red tape that stops us from doing so. If we don’t speak up we become an agent of the belligerence ourselves.

The older I get, the wiser I get. I think there are conventional norms in society, and I think you need to be working within those, but they are to be challenged also. Nobody wants a crusader, nobody wants a bleeding heart, but everyone wants people – especially leaders – who can think for themselves and represent themselves authentically. In the end, it’s about treating others with the greatest amount of respect, with humanity. Order that chaos in the working day so that good people can get on with their work knowing their combined efforts make a huge difference in people’s lives.

You could say I am caught in between that dichotomy between chaos and order – not just in the workplace, but over the course of my life. It has been a journey. I have been identified as a perfectionist and I suffer from that. On one hand, I am a collector. I collect stationery, and have so for some time. I was criticised once for wearing my heart on my sleeve. I look back on that and wonder if it were such a bad thing. Everyone is debating what authenticity in leadership is these days. I think a large part of it is to be able to wear your heart on your sleeve, and let people know you’re human. Let people know your pen collection is bordering upon madness.

Matt Burrows
CEO at Therapy Focus

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