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From THE SUNDAY TIMES 24/11/19 Kate Garraway’s husband on her I’m a Celebrity battle

Derek Draper’s wife is vying to win the latest series of I’m a Celebrity. Here he gives his professional tips on how to survive the mind games and come out on topSunday times article

The television ratings juggernaut I’m a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here! is back for its 19th series. What is the secret behind its success? That’s a question that has long intrigued me as a psychologist. This year, my interest is even more acute: my wife, Kate Garraway, the TV and radio presenter, is one of the celebrities taking on the jungle — in fact a former banana plantation — in New South Wales.

We bought a humongous TV just before she left so the children and I could feel as though she’s in the room with us. We have cheered her on as she has dangled from a 300ft-plus building, and survived getting bitten by thousands of cockroaches and crickets, while 25 rats scurried over her. I hope the 11m other viewers have been cheering her on too.

But the allure of IAC — as its crew call it — is about more than prurience. At its heart lie fundamental psychological phenomena: those of belonging, challenge and change, the same universal dynamics that play out in playgrounds, families and in the boardrooms where I make my living as a business psychologist.

The first thing that happens on IAC is what psychologists call affiliation, the human equivalent of two dogs sniffing each other’s bottoms. Just like on the first day at school, or the first meeting of a new project team, the jostle for status and attachment begins. Who’s the top dog, and who’s going to turn out to be your ally, or maybe even friend? The alliances can seem unlikely — see Georgia “Toff” Toffolo and Stanley Johnson’s jungle friendship from two years ago. I’ve witnessed many such supposedly unexpected pairings in the workplace.

Rivalries develop, too, though the camp-mates know to keep that from the TV cameras. Watch out for the hints of passive aggression, though, such as when Caitlyn Jenner was asked, “You don’t know who we are do you?” and she replied: “Not really.” But didn’t she? If she was anything like Kate, she would have had a pile of printed-out research on her camp-mates stashed in her hand luggage.

In 1938 the US psychologist Henry Murray listed the eight secondary needs of human beings (primary needs being air, water, food and so on). It is fascinating to note how precisely these are served by the format of IAC:

1 Ambition: everyone desperately wants to be crowned king or queen of the jungle. Kate gave up sugar and got up even earlier than usual to work out with her fitness coach.

2 Materialism: the camp-mates crave creature comforts and covet their luxury item — Kate’s was concealer.

3 Status: the jockeying for position starts the moment the celebrities meet, false modesty hiding a yearning to have been recognised. Careers are compared, pre-jungle outfits carefully chosen.

4 Power: the producers play with this, arbitrarily making a camp-mate leader. This can cause resentments, just like in the real world. “Why did she get promoted and not me?”

5 Sadomasochism: played out clearly in the terrors of bushtucker trials. Next time you watch, ask yourself: are you identifying with the petrified celebrity or the guy pouring in the creepy-crawlies?

6 Social conformance: the need to fit in and not to appear to let people down. To this end, Kate packed two sorts of bikinis: some that cover her well, others that are skimpier. I bet if the younger women and guys are egging her on she will slip into the racier ones. (I had a sneak preview and she looks fabulous.)

7 Affection: the necessity of getting close to someone else or a small group to gain support and reassurance. My heart broke when the camp got some good news and Kate turned to hug someone, but everyone had already chosen someone else to hug. I wanted to jump through the TV screen and give her a hug myself.

8 Information: curiosity and the need to find out about other people. As the camp gets smaller, the intimacy increases and the camp-mates forget the cameras are there. It’s the moment the producers are waiting for. In response to being intimately invaded by some cockroaches on day two, Kate cried out: “They’re going up my noo-noo!” I am dreading what she might be sharing with the British public by day 15, if she’s still in there.

In my day job, I assess and develop executives’ potential. When Kate was asked to go on the show, I watched a few past series and did some research, looking for attitudes and behaviour that seemed to lead to people being crowned king or queen of the jungle.

The results were crystal clear. The winners all display three characteristics. First, authenticity: did they seem genuine and true to themselves, not posing or playing games? Second, niceness: did they show empathy and support their camp-mates? Third, hard work: did they pull their weight and really try at the trials, even if they didn’t do well?

Or, put another way, would viewers feel they’d enjoy going out for a drink with them? A heuristic, by the way, that could explain the outcome of the other big vote taking place in Britain soon.

Whether it’s Jason trying to recover the golden fleece or a former soap star trying to win enough points to win a decent meal — or our own struggles to survive and thrive in challenging circumstances — the story of the hero’s journey taps deep into our human consciousness. IAC is stuffed full of such narratives.

Kate was in two minds about doing the show. She already has a successful career and doesn’t need any more work. But she liked the idea of being challenged and doing something new and different — and the children egged her on. She also, at 52, wanted to show how middle-aged women can, and should, be just as adventurous as those in their twenties.

But there was one particular thing that made up her mind: she spoke to a lot of people who had been on the show before — winners and losers — and not a single one regretted doing it.

The next two weeks are a chance not only to be entertained but to observe fundamental human psychology playing out — and to see if any of what we see might apply to our own lives. Do we challenge ourselves enough? Do we strike up fresh friendships? Do we show openness, agility and resilience at work? Do we get out of comfort zones?

You don’t have to be thousands of miles away, eating crickets and wearing an Indiana Jones hat, to push yourself to try something new.

Derek Draper is the chief executive of CDP Leadership Consultants and the author of Create Space: How to Manage Time, and Find Focus, Productivity and Success (Profile Books)

What dragon do you need to slay?

As England celebrates St George’s Day today what lessons about leadership in more modern times could we learn from this ancient legend?

First, I must confess something strange. In my mind there is a clear story regarding St George that I must have heard sometime ago. It is the story that this blogpost is based on. I’ll tell you at the end what’s strange about it. Anyway …

We all know the bare bones of the myth. Once upon a time there was a dragon that demanded human sacrifices. One year it demanded that a beautiful princess be brought to its lair. Luckily up steps our hero George on his white charger, with spear in hand, who slays the dragon and saves the princess.

Anyway in the version in my mind George doesn’t slay the dragon with his trusty spear. He uses a much more psychological technique. Folklore and magic say that the Dragon can only be killed one way. It’s secret name needs to be discovered and whispered in its ear. This, somehow, is what the sainted warrior does.

So what’s the relevance of all this to leaders living today?

Well, I believe that only when you name your nemesis – the development area, blindspot or derailer – can you destroy it. Too often we choose instead to repress thoughts about these vulnerable weak spots. Deep down we know our truth has this darker side but we don’t want to admit it – to others or even ourselves.

At CDP we help leaders dig deep to find their underlying development areas. We take them on a journey of discovery. Over Easter I was looking at various Development Action Plans that executives at a FTSE100 company had developed, with our support, over the last year for an aggregate analysis I am due to present next week. The documents are honest, quite raw and very moving. The people concerned don’t duck their issues, or mince their words. I will give just one anonymised example:

I want to move from a leader who …  
to a leader who ……
Always thinks they’re right and already knows the answer       Is able to actively listen and allows people time and space to contribute  
Has a very low tolerance for people not performing at my expected level       Looks to motivate people who don’t fit my mould
Struggles to show empathy       Is more open with my fears and feelings.

Naming these, so boldly and clearly, is a brave thing to do. Just as brave, I think, as George rearing up on his horse in front of that fiery beast.

Now that these development areas have been named this guy has a chance to tackle them. That’s what he’s working on now.

CDP can help him using our Delta360 goals tracker to gain realtime feedback every 10 weeks to show he’s doing, according to his key stakeholders.

Again, that makes his development areas known throughout the business but that’s the point. He’s names them not just to himself; he names them to everyone else too.

As we enter Spring, the season of renewal, take some time to reflect on your own demons. Ask for feedback, not just from friends but from people who you think don’t rate you highly.

Name your own development areas and tell people what you’re working on. Then spend the next few months slaying some dragons of your own. Happy St. George’s Day!


So, what’s mysterious about the story I told about naming the dragon? I remember “knowing it” but I cannot remember from where. For this article I googled it, increasingly extensively. I can’t find any reference to it at all. I can’t explain it. Did I dream it? I discovered that Terry Pratchett once said, “‘as every wizard knows, once you have a thing’s real name you have the first step to its taming”. But nothing tying this notion to the legend of St George. I thought I’d tell it my way anyway 😊

Derek Draper is the CEO of CDP Leadership Consultants ( and author of Amazon #1 Bestseller (Management) and Financial Times Business Book of the Month “Create Space: How to Manage Time and Find Focus, Productivity and Success”. Which you can buy here.

front view of blank book on white background

You can sign up to his weekly bulletin which contains the best content from the last 7 days for business and HR leaders at

A good night’s rest? Some thoughts for world sleep day …

This is the section on sleep from my book Create Space that addresses the importance of sleep and how to get a good night’s rest.

I want to return to the issue of sleep. I have found, again and again, that it is an underlying factor in all sorts of performance issues. Without adequate rest, and a feeling of being refreshed, you won’t be able to make use of any space that you create to think, do or connect because you will not have the energy or presence to do so. If you are wired, and pushing on through exhaustion you will think poorly, not deliver to your best and neglect and let people down.

I worked once with a high-flying executive called Philippe who felt that one thing holding him back was that other people were able to get into the office before him, so were more visible and able to deliver more. He had tried getting up really early, but after a few weeks had felt shattered and had gone back to his usual sleeping habits.

First I outlined to him the consensus research on sleep – most people need a good eight hours sleep but some need a little more and others less. Some very rare people need a lot less. The former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, for example, famously slept only four hours a night, and it didn’t seem to dim her focus or productivity. However, most of us aren’t like Maggie and, in the long run, having less than your own, individually required quota of sleep is unsustainable. It isn’t about ‘will power’ or tricks and techniques, it’s about what your body needs.

Philippe said that he felt he needed to sleep until 7.30 am at the latest. He said he went to bed ‘around 11 pm’. I asked him to keep a detailed sleep diary (you can see this in full in my book). I also asked him to let himself sleep in at the weekend and wake up naturally. (His wife wasn’t so pleased about this but she agreed to help in the end, for the purposes of research). Overall, he said he felt OK, but was a bit tired by Friday, and actually quite refreshed by the end of the weekend.

So as not to draw conclusions based on just one example, I had him repeat the experiment for the next three weeks. The results were basically the same. I suggested that the diary indicated that he needed about 8½ hours of sleep. This was how long he slept at the weekend if he didn’t set his alarm. If we added up his sleeping time during the working week he was getting about 15 per cent less sleep than he needed.

Some experts say that sleep is as important as breathing to our metabolism. Imagine if you were getting 15 per cent less oxygen than you need. If you’ve ever climbed up a really high mountain you’ll know the effects of altitude sickness – symptoms akin to flu, carbon monoxide poisoning, or a bad hangover.

Wetalked a bit about how he spent his time before going to sleep, and he recognised that it was less about what he needed to do, or even enjoyed doing, and more about what he was used to doing. His night-time routine was not a choice he had consciously made; it was just a habit.

This exercise provided the space Philippe needed to become aware of what he was doing and to rethink things. He set out to create a new habit. First he needed a clear goal. He decided he wanted to get up a full hour earlier so he could extend his working day. He also accepted his need to have 8½ hours sleep a night. Seemingly impossibly conflicting goals? Not really. He committed to switching everything off and going to sleep at 11 pm every night. This meant that he still had two hours after the kids were settled down to do some tidying, look at Facebook and watch a TV show, or even a movie. It took about a month for him to get used to this new routine but with perseverance and discipline he did it.

Some other strategies are: establish a regular bedtime and routine, and try to go to bed and wake up at a similar time each day; lower the temperature of your room by a couple of degrees (the ideal room temperature is thought to be 20º Celsius); acknowledge that caffeine interferes with REM sleep so monitor the effect that it has on you (lots of people find it messes with their sleep ifdrunk after 3 pm, but figure out what works for you); finally, consider turning screens off an hour before bed – not only is this good for your mind (giving it time to wind down so you won’t go to bed so wired), but you also lessen exposure to the blue light from the screens which inhibits the release of sleep-inducing hormones. If you must look at a laptop screen in the evenings, install a red light removal app, such as f.lux.

When I spoke to Philippe a few months later he said his new routine now came completely naturally and he felt more refreshed and energised at work. He could even go out late one night in the week and still get up at his usual time without feeling too bad. Just by becoming aware of his patterns and habits, and committing to a quite small change in behaviour, he had literally created significantly more space in his life.

Ask yourself: Did I sleep well last night? Deep down, in my bones, how tired am I right now? What is my night-time regime – and why? What would I like my sleep goals to be? How am I going to make that happen?



As well as tackling sexism women – and men – need to break free of their psychological chains.

Last week I assessed someone for a senior position at a FTSE100 company. I have spent eight years doing such assessments. They involve a half day interview and a range of psychometric tests that lead to a 2000 report in which I offer a recommendation about whether the candidate should be hired or not, and how they can better develop themselves either way. This most recent session was a slam dunk. The person was the most impressive candidate I had seen in all those eight years, having done around 400 assessments.

The person was a woman, I’ll call her Anna. Now, there is nothing surprising about that.  Despite the appalling statistics on women leaders in business (it is a ridiculous and embarrassing truism that there are more David’s than women serving as FTSE 100 CEOs (7 woman, 9 Dave’s). Yet, of course, there is nothing about being a woman that means you are less capable of effective leadership than a man.

I know, by the way, that even saying “woman” and “man” is controversial to some in these “woke” days but I am gong to assume that, while there is some gender fluidity, there is also a meaning to those words that 99% of us understand and appreciate. I also thing there are gender traits that ring true too, and that are not constructs but biologically based. I think, for example, that men do tend to be more aggressive and women do tend to be more caring. Not, of course, every man and every woman.

That’s why I started with the example of Anna. She is a specific example that goes against the general picture that I’m about to draw. For what was unusual about Anna wasn’t that she seemed to be the most capable leader I had ever assessed but her answer to the last question I always ask. ”Where next?”. She looked me straight in the eye and said, “Two years ago I would have said being in the C-suite in a FTSE 100 company, heading up my function. Now I want to be CEO”.

That level of confidence is rare in anyone but I think its rarer in women. (Most) men have a sense of entitlement that (most) women just don’t have. Research shows that the typical man, if a job requires five skills or experiences, will think, “Well, I’m great at two of those, OK at another two and shaky on the last” but he will say, “I am totally qualified across all that”. The typical woman will think exactly the same but she will then say, “Actually, I don’t have enough experience for this job”. They therefore might go down so well at the interview, or, more likely won’t apply in the first place. If the man does get the job he will likely be pressing for promotion and increased salary from the beginning. The typical woman, even if they get the job, will probably not. This gender “entitlement imbalance” is a major factor along with what my 12 year old daughter calls “everyday sexism” for the gender leadership and pay gaps.

There are also other factors too, such as the fact that women tend to have career “damaging” breaks to have children that interrupt their paths to the top, and which almost always lead to childcare responsibilities that far outweigh men’s, no matter how great Dads we are. Motherhood also, let’s be honest, leads some (again, not all) women to reassess their priorities and maybe deprioritise the immense effort needed to rise up the ranks to the top.

One study suggests that woman (as a whole) want to be really senior business leaders less than (the average) man “23% of CEOs felt that the decision not to pursue their career ambitions is made by the women themselves. They, no longer, stay keen to live with the stress inherent in the toughest leadership roles. Their aggression, drive and commitment to career growth slow-down as other personal priorities take centre stage”.

Even if there was some truth in that it doesn’t really matter. Because for sure, enough women want those top jobs. Even if there is a slight difference in hunger for the most senior jobs between the genders that would explain why there might be 45 women to 55 men serving as FTSE100 CEOS not the pitiful 7 to 93 we see today. That gap is obviously down to other factors.

At CDP, the leadership consultancy I run we use psychology to work on a deep level when assessing and developing people and organisations. One of the ideas we use is that of core pathogenic beliefs (or CPBs). These are false assumptions, often unconscious, about ourselves and the world that might have made sense once but don’t know. My book “Create Space” tells 12 stories of such CPB’s and how they sabotage people’s success. An example would be the woman whose parents let her down badly and who grew up not being able to trust people. Later in life that fear is not so appropriate and yet she keeps a barrier between herself and others and treats her colleagues as if they are always about to let her down, constantly being vigilant and being perceived as untrusting and controlling by those around her. (You can read more about CPBs in our thought paper).

At CDP we have discovered that teams and even whole organisations can have CPBs too, like when Travis Kalanick put “always hustle” at the heart of Uber’s values. A statement that is, at best, ambiguous about how ethical one should be. The CPB? “We need to sometimes cross the line to succeed”. In fact, of course, it led to his failure.

So, and here’s the interesting idea: Could genders have CPBs too? Not, as I’ve stressed throughout, every man and woman, but the typical ones?

Here’s my suggestion of what these might be:

Typical male CPB?

“I feel confident, I can do this, in fact I’m entitled to it, and more, and its OK for me to push for what I want.”

Typical female CPB?

“I am not always so confident, maybe I can’t do this. What will people think? I better be grateful for what I’ve got.”

Incidentally I think that the opposite train of thinking can co-exist with each of these. So often, in my experience, men, deep down, also have “imposter syndrome“, they are just better at repressing it and not letting their internal states be reflected on the outside.

Importantly I also think there is a third CPB at play, one that society as a whole shares (or at least a sizeable majority), on an unconscious level, at least to some extent.

Typical society CPB?

“Men can be bold and ruthless, women shouldn’t be like that. Men who demand things are ambitious, woman who do the same are pushy. Maybe men are more natural leaders?”

Absolute nonsense of course but deep rooted nonetheless?

I think this faulty thinking comes from ancient times when physical strength (a largely male characteristic) was vitally important, literally a matter of life and death. As a psychologist with an interest in evolution I can see how there would still be unconscious traces of that in everyone’s minds today. This, of course, is reinforced by the thousand of years of patriarchy that ensued.

As well as everything else that is rightly being done, of which great mentoring and sponsorship seems the most effective, (the Centre for Creative Leadership have some great resources to support this) I think we also need to examine and dismantle these CPBs.

That is what we do at CDP; Help identify and tackle people’s CPBs about themselves and the world so that they can maximise their potential, whether those CPBs be about their gender or anything else.

The good news?

I showed my 12 year old daughter this article and when she came to the suggested CPBs she laughed and said, ”That’s bullshit… and those guys that think that, they don’t really. Woman just admit things more and then get on with it”.

Does she really believe that deep down? I hope so but better still I really think so.


I have recently been coaching a couple of people whose issues include being more mindful – that is, being able to destress and unclutter their minds and find a way of “switching off” and relaxing.


This has prompted me to share the resources that I usually offer people who want to explore this area:

There are some great resources on Mindfulness at Work here, including a video that the “guru” did for Google.

A really good book is  Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world

The seminal text is this one by Jon Kabat Zinn, who developed a lot of this stuff, and who is featured in the video in the link above. Full Catastrophe Living: How to cope with stress, pain and illness using mindfulness meditation

Finally, lots of people find the Headspace app really useful.

I also love this (excuse the “rude” word!)


I’d love to know which of these resources appeals to you, and how you got on!

The “top 20” challenges of modern business leadership – did we miss any?

During an excellent coaching workshop with the Academy of Executive Coaching this week some YSC colleagues and I had an interesting discussion on the challenges that the leaders we coach have to deal with. Our brainstorm came up with the following “Top 20”. Did we miss any? Can you think of any others? Do you have any thoughts about any of these? If so tweet me @derekdraper.

(In no particular order)

Public Scrutiny

Digital and social






Increased Competition


Contracting out Culture

Environmental Issues

Ethical Leadership


Increased Disruption

Psychological Contract/Expectations

How to Shape the Organisation (After Flattening)


Informal Leadership

Environmental concerns



Attention! Lessons on leadership from the US Army

While writing my own book “Create Space: How to Manage Time and Find Focus, Productivity and Success”” I have been reading a lot of literature on leadership. This weekend I came across the US Army’s Leadership Manual, which is incredibly impressive.

Military Leadership

It covers the values, character and competencies that underlie army leadership but has relevance way beyond the military. In the foreword the US Army Chief of Staff writes:

“It is critical that Army leaders be agile, multiskilled pentathletes who have strong moral character, broad knowledge, and keen intellect. They must display these attributes and leader competencies bound by the concept of the Warrior Ethos. Leaders must be committed to lifelong learning to remain relevant and ready during a career of service to the Nation.”

If you are a leader in any organisation, or just interested in leadership per se then it is well worth a read.

You can find a pdf of it here. It also led me to see if there was an equivalent for the British military, which there is, in this Sandhurst document, which is also worth looking at.

The best business books for your Christmas stocking

Christmas stocking

I have just suggested some reading to an advertising executive that I am coaching. It made me to think about the business books I’d most recommend for anyone wanting to become a better business leader. One of the advantages of writing your own book (Space: how small leaders become big leaders which you can read about here) is that it forces you to read a lot. In the last year I’ve come across 3 books that really stand out. Buy them for yourself, or as an inspiring present for someone else. So, here, in no particular order, are my top 3 business books for you to consider adding to your Christmas stocking:


Buy here


Buy here

Good to Great

Buy here

Let me know what you think of these or suggest your own favourites via twitter @derekdraper

Create Space – How to Manage Time and Find Focus, Productivity and Success

Update 8th February 2018

My new book “Create Space – How to Manage Time and Find Focus, Productivity and Success” – was published by Profile this summer. COVER Create Space

The book is inspired by my work as a leadership consultant, at the company I founded at the end of 2016 CDP Leadership Consultants, and prior to that at global consultants YSC. The book contains twelve stories drawn from that work, along with reflections and practical suggestions on each of the twelve subjects the stories address.

It makes three key arguments. First, in order to achieve our best we need to create space in order to think, connect and act on a deeper and more profound level. Second, that the modern world indiscriminately fills our life. For the first time in 1000 generations our task isn’t to fill space but to push back and create it. Third, if we want to perform optimally, and reach our full potential, we need to, as an a priori task, create space, before we do anything else. In other words, before people can excel and develop as leaders they need to create space. The book then goes on to explain how you can do this, drawing on real life examples inspired by my work with executives at some of the world’s biggest companies.

As well as examining what I mean by “space” the book addresses how, on a very practical level, people can create the space they need in order to:

  • Think
  • Connect
  • Do
  • Be

Create Space circle

The focus of the book is on the corporate leaders who I assess, coach and help develop every day in my work. But it’s insights apply more widely: to leaders in the third sector, more junior managers, entrepreneurs, and, ultimately, anyone trying to get something done in collaboration with others.

I presented the core ideas the book explores (which have changed slightly since) at the 2015 Association of Business Psychology UK Conference in Reading. You can watch a 20 minute video of that presentation here.

ABP Presentation Image


Chi trova un amico, trova un tesoro

I have been thinking about friends a lot in the last few days. Partly because I had a birthday party last Saturday, and was able to see, together in a room, a good few of my friends collected over 30 years of life. Some I met decades ago, some just this past year. I have also been doing some work with one of my coachees at YSC on the importance of making time for friends in the midst of our frantic professional lives. It’s prompted me to dig out a talk I gave at the ICA a few years ago and rework it a bit. Let me know what you think.


(This post is dedicated to my BFF Henry, who couldn’t make my party because he now lives abroad but who I miss a lot).

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