x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Life Lessons: David Richards

The chairman of Prodrive and Aston Martin shares his wisdom.

David Richards is the founder and chairman of Prodrive and the chariman of Aston Martin.
David Richards is the founder and chairman of Prodrive and the chariman of Aston Martin.

David Richards, 59, was born in the UK and is chairman and founder of the motorsport business Prodrive and chairman of Aston Martin. He was instrumental in introducing motorsport to the Middle East and has been a regular visitor to the region since 1976

1. Get a great team around you. I have a great love of creating teams. As individuals we can so easily be overawed by the scale of the challenges we face, yet, as a well-organised and motivated team, these challenges often turn out to be relatively straightforward to overcome.

2. The glass is always half full. I always take a very optimistic view of life and even when I've been faced with major setbacks, there's usually a positive lesson to be learnt from them. When I consider the turbulent times we're living in, the idea of looking for opportunities out of adversity is even more relevant today than it ever has been.

3. The harder you work the luckier you become. In all sport it's inevitable that luck plays its part, whether it's a golf ball running around the lip of the hole or rain falling just as you decided to put your race car on slick tyres. But it's a truism that the harder I've worked, the luckier I've become.

4. Always maintain your integrity. For me this means being totally honest with those around you and confronting difficult issues rather than running away from them. Deciding when a race driver can no longer deliver the results for a team is always a difficult decision and one that I've had to make on a number of occasions. However, you will always be respected for making tough choices, even if you occasionally get it wrong.

5. Be a good listener and embrace different cultures. So often people think that being a good communicator is about the way you express yourself. However, everything starts with how well you listen to those around you, particularly when it comes to those from different cultural backgrounds. It was my early days here in the Middle East that taught me this lesson.