TFI - John Williams

TFI - John Williams

 23 Feb 2018

The Friday Interview
 
What is your name?   
John Mark Williams
 
What do you do for a living in 10 words?    
I connect people with the people they need to succeed.
 
Where do you currently reside?   
A stone’s throw (not literally) from the M25 in east London
 
  1. Who did you idolise when growing up?
 
My Dad (who was actually my stepfather) and my Mother. Despite the fact that my Dad was out all day (and sometimes half the night) working on a farm in all weathers, he was never, ever, too tired to be cheerful, and I never once saw him angry. And my Mother seemed able to produce magically an endless stream of home-made apple pies and sponge cakes and fried-egg sandwiches whenever I needed them, which was all the time. And she fed all my friends without complaint when I brought them home unexpectedly. And she taught me to love sprouts. And my Dad could fix anything mechanical, taught me how to tow a car through deep snow with a tractor. They were wonderful, both of them.
 
  1. What was the best piece of advice you received about your career?
 
I have actually had lots of good advice during my career, and probably too much to pinpoint any particular bit. The WORST piece of advice I ever got, though, was ‘Hurry up’.
 
  1. From your career so far, what has been your best job and why?
 
The best job is always the one I’ve got, because I always do the same thing wherever I work. I just connect people with stuff that delights them. What makes it great is seeing the energy that results from putting together two or more people who can really do each other good. And it doesn’t matter whether it is business or social – nothing beats seeing people achieve more by connecting with someone who can really help them. We are what we share.
 
  1. What did you want to do when you were a kid?
 
I wanted to be an architect. And a policeman. And a harmonica player in a blues band. And I seem to recall at one point wanting to be a gunslinger in the Wild West, although I might be misremembering that....
 
  1. Do you have any morning rituals?
 
Absolutely. I have a secret mantra that I repeat to myself. And yes, it will remain a secret.
 
  1. What would you want to tell your 20-year-old self-knowing what you know now?
 
Stop listening to people telling you that you can’t.
 
  1. What memories do you have of your first ever job?
 
Hah! Stacking shelves in a Tesco shop. Me and my friend Ben invented all-night shelf-stacking, so we could have the daytime off. Actually, we slept most of the night, too, although it didn’t matter because we stacked the shelves like crazy to make the time for it. I used to walk to work from the village where I lived, because the buses didn’t start early enough – I remember it as being always dark walking to work, yet really pleasant. That was such a good job – I had enough money to buy a pair of Levis and a pair of Doc Marten’s and some music, and somehow nothing else seemed to be important. Such innocence...
 
  1. What do you think makes a good leader?
 
Ah, this is such a common question, and so many people think they have an answer. It is time to get beyond that question, and those who know me will know what is coming next – a quote...  it is Marcus Aurelius – ‘Waste no more time arguing what a good man is. Be one’.
 
  1. What is an embarrassing thing that not many people would know about you? (for example, have you ever been on a game show or something similar)
 
I have a cornucopia of embarrassing things to report about myself – I seem to have made a point of being a complete charlie most of the time. What sticks in my mind, though, is my strangely intermittent and mercifully unsuccessful career as a clothing model. I did two events for High & Mighty, one just a photo-shoot where I ended up lying on the floor with a rose between my teeth, being photographed from a ladder. I looked like a sad travesty of Romeo fallen from Juliet’s balcony. The second session was a catwalk stroll with a fedora and a slick beige suit on, to the accompaniment of The Pretenders ‘Brass in Pocket’. I cringe to think of it. And that wasn’t the worst...! The crowning glory was being a prop in a diamond show , when I wore a white dinner jacket and dark sunglasses, with my head newly shaved and my shoes highly shined, and strolled up and down a catwalk several times, with a succession of diamond-bestrewn women hanging off my arm. I naively supposed that I looked like taller, darker, version of James Bond. What I actually looked like, if I’m lucky, was probably a scrawny version of The Addams Family manservant, Lurch (google it if you are younger than, well, your parents...).
 
There are other moments, of course, yet they shall remain forever a closed book....

 

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