What if success isn’t about being the best but about continuous improvement?

Global executive James Williams shares his journey from leading Olympic campaigns to empowering startups and teaching MBA students. Discover how his focus on performance, purpose, partnerships, and people has shaped his career and why he believes that embracing discomfort is the key to personal and professional growth.

Now, as an advisor at Nobody Studios and a mentor to the next generation of marketers, James shares his insights on personal growth and the art of embracing new challenges with purpose and performance in mind.

Success isn’t a straight climb to the top; it’s about the courage to be imperfect and the grit to improve, even if it means stepping off the peak to explore new paths.

Embracing Improvement Over Winning

James emphasizes the importance of focusing on personal and professional improvement. “Fundamentally, it’s not about winning. It’s about improving. And that’s what I mean by performance.” The conversation delves into the concept of continuous learning and the mindset of always striving to get better.

James shares his personal experience of realizing that success isn’t always about being the best but rather about making incremental improvements. By embracing improvement as the ultimate goal, individuals can foster a growth mindset and continuously push themselves to reach new heights. [Listen from: 00:34]

Purpose, People, Performance, Partnership


The Power of Teamwork and Overcoming Personal Challenges

Dyslexia was a major challenge for James, especially since he grew up in a hypercritical environment. He highlights the value of teamwork and collaboration: “If I work with a bunch of people, there are certain things I’m not very good at. And there are some things I’m very good at. And if I can build those balances, then it doesn’t mean I’m constantly trying to hide that I can’t spell or say things like that.”

Embracing strengths and weaknesses is transformational, and by recognizing and honoring the strengths of each team member, individuals can create a collaborative environment that fosters growth and success. [Listen from: 02:07]

Setting Personal and Professional Goals

Personal and professional goals drive growth and progress, and James sets his goals at the beginning of each year. He shares his approach to goal-setting and the importance of feedback and continuous learning. “Each time, I would then sit down and look at those and say, ‘How am I doing?'”

Whether the goals you set are short- or long-term, they will enable you to have a clear direction and purpose in your personal and professional life. As you regularly reflect and evaluate, you can stay focused and motivated, and will continuously improve yourself. [Listen from: 05:29]

The Importance of Partnerships in Business

Partnerships are more than just transactional. “Partnership is where you find the added value in that relationship.” James stresses the importance of long-term partnerships that drive society’s impact. When you align your partnerships with your goals and values, you can maximize both your own personal growth and the impact you can have.

James believes that businesses need to integrate partnership into their strategies. Much like team members relying on one another’s strengths, businesses can build partnerships with other organizations that will drive innovation, growth, and positive change. [Listen from: 07:25]

The Intersection of ESG and Marketing

When companies integrate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors, that integration needs to reach their marketing teams. “You can still drive commercial impact, consumer engagement, but also have a positive impact rather than a negative one.”

When companies fully embrace ESG principles as part of their core marketing strategies, they can build trust, engage consumers, and contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive future. [Listen from: 22:23]