Author Q&A: Leadership: It's a Marathon Not a Sprint by Gordon Tredgold

Gordon Tredgold is the author of Leadership: It's a Marathon Not a Sprint. Learn more about him at and about his book at  

He's worked in IT for over 20 years and is a specialist in Transformational Leadership, Operational Performance Improvement, Organisational Development, Creating Business Value via IT, and Program and Change Management.

Deb Bailey: Thanks for stopping by the blog today, Gordon. What prompted you to write your book?

Gordon Tredgold: Glad to be here, Deb. I've always wanted to write a book on leadership I think I have a very simple approach to leadership, which people appreciate and I wanted to share it. Too often I find books on leadership are overly complex and I wanted to write something simple and accessible, that could be easily understood by both leaders and aspiring leader.

I had been writing a Leadership blog, as I wasn't sure I could write a full book, then a friend who was going through chemo told me that it wasn't working and I wanted to do something to help so I decided to run a marathon. As I started to train for the marathon I realized much of what I was talking about on the blog I was applying to myself to get me to run the marathon, so I thought why not write a book combining the 2 and look to raise money for charity at the same time.

Deb: Please share what your book is about.

Gordon: It's about my approach to leadership, the principles that I look to try and apply in a business settings, and also how I applied it to myself in order to get myself as an unfit, 53 year old non-runner to run a marathon. I'm like my own guinea pig for my approach to leadership.

It's not really a book about running, its more about the journey.

Deb: That's terrific. So, what is the key message you want to deliver to your readers?

Gordon: The key message is that good leadership can deliver sustainable success, but it will take time, its not a quick fix. Success gained too easily is lost just as easily. You need to undergo a culture change to build a winning culture within an organization, and then there is no limit to the success that can be achieved,

Deb: In your book you mention "the happy underachiever," could you share more about that?

Gordon: Too often departments are content with their performance, sometimes they know they are underperforming but don't care because they are not inspired by their leader, or it could be that they don't believe they could do better, and consequently they are happy where they are, either conscious or unconscious under achiever.

Usually it requires a new leader to come in and take over, especially if the leader has been in place while as they are now part of the problem.

We can all do much more and better than we believe and as leaders we need to show people their true potential and then inspire them to look to achieve it.

I met with someone just recently who had run 66 Ultra Marathons, for charity, on consecutive days. I was very impressed I thought that was amazing, but he told me he did Ultras (50km) run because a guy from Belgian Stefan Engels was looking to run 365 marathons on consecutive days.

I have just run 2 marathons 6 months apart so I thought that was a lot, but then you hear of a guy who has run 66 Ultras, and then someone who has run 365, now I know I can do so much more.
Shortly after hearing this I read about a Spanish guy who had just run 607 marathons on consecutive days.

So even though I thought I was a happy underachiever before my marathon and became  happy achiever on completing it, now I again feel like an happy under achiever as their achievements really do dwarf my own, and I now know that I am capable of so much more.

And this is true of all of us, in whatever it is we are undertaking be it business or private life.

Deb: I totally agree! Can you elaborate on what goes into creating a "culture of success?"

Gordon: The key ingredients to creating a culture of success are small successes and reward and recognition. You need to create a path of success starting small and moving onto bigger and bigger successes, slowly raising the bar and at the same time providing reward and recognition for your teams. Get them used to the feeling of being successful and then slowly raise the bar, and as the team gets into the winning habit they themselves will want to look to improve and enjoy further successes.

Its just like teaching a child to swim, you encourage them even when the can't swim, ad you just keep stepping further and further back, all the while encouraging them and helping them to feel safe, and then eventually they are swimming.

But too often, leaders and managers who know how to do this with their children, don't take the same approach with their teams. They expect them to be able to jump in at the deep end and be able to swim right off the bat. Won't happen often!

Deb: What's the best advice you could give to women entrepreneurs specifically?

Gordon: Be bold, go after big targets, everyone loves to achieve big goals, this is what inspires people. Show them the way to be successful and then encourage people along that journey. Emotional intelligence is key, and in my experience woman are better at it than men, but often they tend to play it down, I don't know why but I would play it up.

Deb: Good point. It's certainly better to lead with our strengths. You're sharing a lot of very important information in your book. What inspires you to do the work you do?

Gordon: Before I was often told that I wouldn't be successful at this, or that project was too tough, and what inspired me then was the look on peoples faces when I achieved something that they thought was impossible.

What inspires me know is the looks on the faces of my teams when they have achieved something they didn't feel was possible.

So in the marathon I was happy to complete it, and prove people who told me I couldn't do it they were wrong. But what pleased me much more was the look on Taraks face when he completed Dusseldorf Marathon with me, and also the looks on my sister Alyson and my colleagues Dave and Bart when they completed the Cologne Marathon. They we're marathons runners, they didn't think they could do it, but the triumphed, and the look on their faces at the end was worth all of the effort involved.

Deb: So glad you could share your book with us. Where can readers find it?

Gordon: Thanks for featuring it. You can find my book on

Print -

Kindle -

Or if you want a signed copy you can find it on:

Deb: Please share your website and social media URLs.

Gordon: Here you go...

My blog:


Twitter: @gordontredgold   


Gordon Tredgold said...

Deb, thanks for hosting me it was a great pleasure talking with you, i like to write about leadership, but i love to to about it and answer questions, it really is a passion of mine.

thanks also for providing the links to my blog and book, its really appreciated\\Gordon

Deb Bailey said...

You're welcome, Gordon! I'm sure your book will resonate with my readers. Thanks for sharing your book with us.

Back to Top