Lessons in Leadership

By Rebecca Scaife

Published on: July 18, 2023

A review of Cricket Coach Paddy Upton's inspiring 'Lessons in Leadership' presentation at the PortfolioMetrix LEAD Symposium in May 2023.

Some of the Everlake team attended the PortfolioMetrix LEAD Symposium in Cape Town this May.

The event brought together some of the world’s top financial advisors to share ideas and challenge the norms in pursuit of a positive evolution of financial advice.

We’ll be sharing some insights and thoughts from the event with you over the next few weeks.

Anyone who runs a business or leads a team could take some inspiration from Cricket & High Performance Coach Paddy Upton’s presentation at the event.

Our PortfolioMetrix colleague, Edden Kift, reviews Paddy’s inspiring ‘Lessons in Coaching & Leadership’ talk and condenses down the key points into the following blog.


It was a huge honour to introduce Paddy Upton to those who attended the recent PortfolioMetrix LEAD Symposium in Cape Town. Paddy has spent a significant part of his career coaching and leading in a cricket environment all over the world. Famously, he was part of a coaching team that was instrumental in India winning the 2011 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. He subsequently authored The Barefoot Coach: Life-changing insights from Coaching the World’s Best Cricketers.

So, what could a group of financial advisers learn from a cricket coach? It turned out to be quite a bit. While it’s near impossible to do justice to the wonderful leadership insights Paddy shared over 90 minutes, I will explore a few of my takeaways in this short blog.

Collective Intelligence

Successful teams harness the collective intelligence of the team. For years individuals led through their content expertise by following an instructive approach. They simply told their teams what to do because they had superior knowledge. But that changed with the advent of the internet. Information became readily accessible. Along with that, (successful) leadership has made a notable shift away from being instructive to being collaborative. This extends beyond business to areas such as parenting. We all know how easily a son, daughter or grandchild can simply use Google to counter something we hold to be an undeniable truth and on which we may base an instruction.

Make Mistakes

The most successful teams in business make the most mistakes. Why? Because they are trying things. The key when reflecting on events is not to unpack the mistakes in detail. Acknowledge that they happen and evaluate how improvements can be made to increase the chance of a successful execution in future. Understanding what an individual or team would do differently should similar circumstances present themselves supports a solution mindset (versus a problem mindset). By spending 80% of the time focusing on what worked it lays a strong foundation for future successes. It also builds confidence, in individuals and teams.

Working Under Pressure

When planning to execute a task or to meet a deadline, understanding what people want when they’re under pressure will vary from person to person. While one individual may need the support of fellow team members during a process, the next person may simply want clarity on what is required and then to be left to complete the job at hand. The key is to empower individuals by taking them to a place where they can make their own decisions. The objective should be to equip and empower people to make smart decisions in the consequential moments.

Play to Strengths

It’s important for individuals to understand their strengths. Playing to them and doing what someone is good at most of the time is easy and enjoyable and leaves a person energised. Several studies have also concluded that managers who focus on individuals’ strengths result in those individuals being more engaged and productive, and teams being more effective.

Character Counts

To steal from a mantra adopted by the New Zealand rugby team: better people make better colleagues. Character counts. Don’t ignore it by simply focusing on knowledge. Everything we say or do, or don’t say or don’t do, however small, shapes our character in the eyes of others. What would you like your family, friends, colleagues, clients to say about you?


And finally, health is our single biggest asset. Pay attention to it. Our habits either move us towards or away from our ideal lives and our ideal selves. Paddy emphasised that the five areas that will have the most significant impact on your life are sleep, nutrition, exercise, stress management and the quality of your relationships.