Anthony Hyde

General Manager, Barbican Business Events

Nobody’s perfect. What quality or ability do you wish you had?

In my various roles, public speaking has played a major part. It certainly gets easier the more you do and the more you acquire new techniques. I do wish that I was able to take to the stage and engage in communication that is flawless and natural without endless hours of preparation and hesitation. After public speaking, the feedback I receive is always positive and the feeling is exhilarating, but the build-up is distracting and that’s what I need to master.

What is the best business book you have ever read, and why?

Who moved my Cheese? by Spencer Johnson is a simple but very effective book in highlighting the need to be ever-evolving and accepting of change. That has been the key to most of my professional successes: flexibility, adaptability and change.

Another is End Procrastination Now! by William Knaus. It sits on my desk as a reminder to just get on with it and don’t put things off: get the worst out of the way and then enjoy the things you like doing.

Taming Tigers by Jim Lawless was given to me after seeing Jim speak. It is about confronting your fears and doing things you never thought you could. This is true in life and business.

Someone you would most like to have met, living or dead, and why?

Richard Branson and Winston Churchill: two great leaders in very different ways. Both not afraid to take risks and innovate in order to achieve success, while remaining true and doing what they do for the better—and not allowing anyone to stand in their way.

What do you consider to be your major achievement (in life or business)?

Simply to have got to where I am while still enjoying the challenge and trying to achieve success in the right way. Of course money is important, but the financial success of what you do in business will come if you stay true to what you believe in, and treat others with respect and allow them to develop. I was once told that the sign of a good leader is someone that does themselves out of a job, and I’m proud when I see members of my team develop and excel in a way they never thought possible.

Who or what do you think is overrated?

Email! It takes up so much time and most of it is unnecessary. It is absolutely a fantastic form of communication but when it begins to rule your day then it’s time to pick up the phone: it’s much more effective.

What mistakes have you made (professional or otherwise), and what did you learn from them?

I have made many mistakes along the way, but that comes from taking risks and trying new things. The key is to admit when you have made a mistake, learn from it and move on: you will be respected a whole lot more than trying to cover up or deny responsibility. I am not always right but I do always try to do the right thing.

Which one piece of wisdom would you pass on to your successor?

Don’t be afraid to try new things. Allow your team to do the same. Say what you think but always do so with respect.

Who has been your inspiration professionally?

There have been many people who have inspired me professionally and all for very different reasons. From a certain teacher in high school, to the person who gave me my first sales role after university, to my partner, who always listens and offers the best advice when I may not see things clearly. People, friends and colleagues are important. It’s the conversations you have in the corridor or over a drink that really make the difference.

How would you like to be remembered after your retirement?

As someone who got things done and achieved success by trying things differently. As someone who led and mentored teams with collaboration and openness, allowing them to make their own mistakes.

Do you have a quote or motto you live (or work) by?

As long as you do the best you can, then no matter the outcome, you know it was meant to be. At the same time keep it simple, follow your gut, listen to advice from people you trust—and keep smiling.

Anthony Hyde is general manager of Barbican Business Events, overseeing commercial sales, marketing and PR, event management and technical production for conferences, banqueting, exhibitions and corporate hospitality at Europe's largest multi-arts and conference venue. http://www.barbican.org.uk/