Performance development consultancy Lane4 has signed up a new recruit: ballet dancer Lee Fisher. It wants Fisher to use the skills he has gained from a 17-year career as a ‘danseur’ (the male version of a ballerina, we discovered today) to help companies with their personnel issues.
Fisher said he was excited about ‘utilising my performing arts skills to address people development issues in a new environment’. In other words, if you’ve got a bit of tension in the workplace, perhaps Fisher can come down to your office and get your recalcitrant employees to pretend to be trees, followed by a bit of light improv – and before you know it, all will be sweetness and light again.
And if you’re wondering what qualifies a man who’s spent the last 17 years dancing about on a stage wearing very tight tights to give HR advice, you clearly need to broaden your mind. According to Lane4’s Ruth Cavender, the consultancy hires candidates ‘who don’t necessarily meet set criteria regarding qualifications but have a ‘degree in excellence’. Very admirable – although we wouldn’t recommend using this line at your next interview.
Co-founded by ex-swimmer Adrian Moorhouse, who won a gold medal at the 1988 Olympics, Lane4 makes a habit of hiring sports stars and experts from other fields to try and help companies improve their performance.
And at first sight, this seems a bit odd. Sports like swimming and athletics are essentially individual disciplines: all a swimmer has to do to win a race is swim down a lane on their own as fast as they can. So it doesn't exactly foster the kind of teamwork, delegation and multi-tasking skills that we expect of the modern day employee.
Then again, we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of psychology in the workplace – and top sportspeople should know more about this than most. So although it’s tempting to dismiss a ballet-dancing performance development consultant as a daft gimmick, that’s probably missing en pointe.