I'm Richard Medcalf, the founder of Xquadrant. Let's get acquainted. We'll start with the "official" bio....
Richard Medcalf describes himself as "what you get if you were to put a McKinsey consultant, a slightly unorthodox pastor and Freddie Mercury into a blender!"
Richard is the founder of Xquadrant and a trusted advisor to some of the most successful CEOs and entrepreneurs on the planet.
Richard has advised the C-Suite for 25 years. After a Masters Degree at Oxford University, where he came top in his year, he became the youngest-ever Partner at a top strategy consultancy. He spent 11 years at tech giant Cisco in an elite team to pioneer strategic projects directly for the CEO.
Richard founded Xquadrant to help the world’s top CEOs and entrepreneurs become world-changing forces for good, creating a legacy of exponential impact.
His 1:1 clients include CEOs of billion dollar companies, an Entrepreneur of the Year, an Olympic medallist, and founders of tech 'unicorns'. Richard also runs the CEO programme Rivendell and is the author of Making Time For Strategy.
Richard is bi-national English/French, lives near Paris, and is happily married and the proud father of two. He's a licensed lay minister in the Anglican Church, and has an insatiable love for spicy food and the electric guitar.
And here's the 'real' bio...
Here's the messy stuff, where I break open the eggshell and let the yolk run out...
My sister was severely mentally and physically disabled and needed 24-hour care. I learned to be the strong, capable brother who didn’t need support, and I can still struggle with asking for help. She passed away in 2022 and remains a huge inspiration to me by her affection, joy and determination despite the odds. The difference between my life and hers convinced me that if we’re lucky enough to have opportunities, we should fully use them to make the world a better place.
My mother died at age 59. She left an incredible legacy because she supported thousands of families with handicapped kids at a deep, significant level. So: life is short and the time for making a difference is now.
“And bad mistakes, I’ve made them too.” I’ve known stagnation and played too small. At times, I've been in my comfort zone, relying on what had made me successful in the past; delivering good work, but not the impact I was capable of.
“I’m a loser.” This was the soundtrack in my head for months when I was made redundant as part of a companywide layoff at Cisco. I’m going to resist the temptation to explain, justify it, or even tell you why I was secretly relieved.
I get in my head. I’ve been a thinker and a strategist all my life. It’s a source of power for me, but it’s also held me back. I can lose connection with what my heart or body are telling me; I can put myself on a treadmill chasing goal after goal; I can focus so much on being clever that I can miss a deeper connection. The journey over the last few years to integrate head, heart and body has been the source of a greater impact that I’m still exploring.
I’m ridiculous. Yes, really. I’m dedicated to my mission and can be intense… but give me a stage and I’ll strut about it like Freddie Mercury. Hand me an air guitar and I’ll go nuts. If we can’t have fun, why bother? Put me in a room where everyone is serious and I’ll throw a humour bomb into the mix. I love disrupting the status quo, not doing quite what’s expected, and LOGANBERRY!
Despite my impressive CV, inside I’m still hungry. My inner secret is that I still feel I’m playing small and in my comfort zone, far from my potential. I’m hungry for more impact, to make more of a difference. And I find that my clients often experience exactly the same thing.
I’m all in. I do this work because it matters. I made the shift when I asked myself what stories I’d want to tell about my career, and realised it wasn’t about just increasing EBITDA margin. It was about taking top leaders to a new level, so they would in turn catalyse a wave of positive change in the world. When I left Cisco, I turned down a lucrative role in an exciting tech firm to build Xquadrant and fulfil that mission. At the deepest level, I care when great leaders tackle great challenges because they love.
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