This former rock promoter has switched to academia and delivers bespoke courses to challenge the way you think.

Professor Kemp is known throughout the world for his work on the management of crowds and his ceaseless endeavour to make events safer. His articles are widely publicised in the major music magazines and national press in a range of countries and he is at the forefront or work in the development of a safer concert environment. He is an expert on leadership and management for a range of clients across the country and has created bespoke programmes for senior and middle managers credit rated by Edinburgh Napier University.

As a key member of Yourope Event Safety Group (YES) Chris has been asked to speak on many occasions across the globe on aspects of crowd safety. He has addressed the House of Commons Select Committee for Olympic Security on the merits of training for the 2012 Olympic Games as well as the Royal Society of Medicine.

Chris was employed by the HSE as their crowd expert for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Having worked in the music industry as a promoter and venue manager for over a decade before entering academia, he has a wide range of practical knowledge as well as an academic underpinning to his work. Much of his work spans the globe including the USA, Australia, South America and across Europe.

Chris, Welcome to the Leadership interview

How do you start your day?

Porridge and an hour’s reflection on yesterday and what to do today and going forward including writing the day jobs in the desk diary.

What was your first job and what is the worst job you have ever done?

My first job was as a refuse collector on Scarborough Sea Front, probably the job that I have most enjoyed.

The worst job was probably Pro vice Chancellor of a university, I was so far away from the students that I didn’t know they existed and I needed to be closer to make a difference.

What advice would you give to others about furthering themselves?

Take every opportunity that you can manage, give everything in a quality manner and just go that extra mile. The latter is what people often remember.

Who inspires you and why?

There are a number of people but one who sticks in my mind is Lawrence Dallaglio, a man who I knew through sponsoring Wasps in their heyday, a born leader but someone who always had time to speak to you even when he didn’t have the time.

On the second occasion that I met him even though the first was only fleeting he walked up to me at a dinner, knew my name, introduced me to a client and spent time asking after my family. That made such an impression.

Do you think a talent to lead is nature or nurture?

For many it is already there but for some it has to be learned. However, all of the leaders that I know who have what it takes, this cannot be learned it is inherent.

How can a leader fail? Do you have a personal example?

A leader can fail because they believe that they are right and won’t take other people’s views into consideration because they lose the vision.

My personal example of this is when I was a rock promoter. I had a club and every week a guy used to come up to me and say ‘the next big thing will be X’.

After a few months, all of his predictions seemed to be right and my bookings were not selling out, so I decided to meet with him after each gig for five minutes just to pick his brain. He loved it, we sold out and I will never forget what a humbling experience that was.

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

My greatest strength is my work ethic; every day is brilliant because there is so much to do.

My greatest weaknesses are a miscalculation of the time it takes to do things and overpromising.

What do you find most challenging about being a leader?

Leading from the back. Great when you can make yourself do it but hard when you want to keep interjecting your ideas.

In my company, all of my office staff are mothers with young children and we have a flexible work strategy which means that they can cover for each other and fit all of the work into the time allotted.

It was so challenging agreeing to this but at our last staff meeting I just sat there and said, I am so lucky to have such a lovely and motivated staff.

What are you most proud of?

My family, such a unit, such fun and always open and honest (I hope).

What’s your biggest self- indulgence?

Fred Perry clothes. I can’t get enough of them.

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If it is of interest, Mind Over Matter Consultancy delivers a range of interactive, highly-pressurized programmes for high performers in companies across the world, underpinned by applied leadership and management theory. These are lead by experts in their fields.

We are able to support the following areas:

  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Negotiation
  • Talent Identification
  • Decision Making
  • Motivation
  • Problem Solving
  • Teamwork

Try our bespoke #BlowYouAwayDays programmes where you and your team will be pushed to the limit in anything from RNLI training or kidnap scenarios to dance development, a rollercoaster crash, a grand prix circuit or the SAS.