01. Rise early or work late?
I’m definitely a morning person. I like to get to the office early. I have young children so I try to make it home before bedtime as often as possible, although the laptop invariably is back on once they’re asleep.
02. Training preferences: on the job or formal?
On the job – there’s no substitute for rolling up the sleeves and doing what needs to be done. I’m not a fan of formal training; there’s too much expectation around training as a tool for delivering change. People’s attitudes are more important.
03. What is your management style?
It has changed over time. I used to be very hands on, all over the detail, but I have a fantastic senior team so I try and let them get on with it, and to be there when they need my advice.
04. Does delegation come easy?
It didn’t a few years ago and is something I’ve worked hard at. It’s easier when you have a highly capable team and I’m lucky in that respect.
05. Who do you rely on most?
Aside from my immediate team, probably my board colleagues, who are great sounding-boards. It’s a positive culture – open and collaborative with little competition – and always about doing what’s right for the organisation.
06. Boardroom or restaurant?
The boardroom has its place for getting formal decisions approved but many key ones are made before you get there so influencing positively day-to-day is essential. It’s important not to hit people cold with board papers when it comes to key decisions.
07. What technology would you never be without?
My BlackBerry, iPod and Garmin Forerunner GPS training device.
08. Are you an FD for life?
Yes I am. I love the role and am very comfortable supporting CEOs. The role gives a lot of direction to the future course and shape of the business.
09. What keeps you awake at night?
Apart from my kids? Not much – I actually enjoy the stresses of the job and have a 60-mile commute, which gives me a lot of time to plan and reflect, and helps me switch off at home. It always helps when my business is performing well.
10. Your critical advice to would-be FDs?
Choose your industry carefully because you need to have a passion and empathy for the organisation and its people, and be able to have fun too. Make every effort to understand the operations, and operational issues, and also the wider industry the business is operating in.