Strategy & Operations » Leadership & Management » Q&A: Paul Schwartz, Taskers

01. Early riser or work late?
With a one year old, I am definitely an early riser. I prefer to get into work early as this gives me a couple of hours of peace before the phone starts ringing and emails start pinging.

02. Training preferences. On the job or formal training?
I think a mixture of both is best, although nothing beats
on-the-job training in terms of being more relevant.

03. What’s your management style?
Very hands on. I feel it is essential to understand the jobs I am asking my staff to do. I don’t expect them to do something I wouldn’t do, or haven’t done myself.

04. Does delegation come easy?
Mostly. It is important as it empowers your staff and gives them a sense of responsibility as well as frees up your time. Having absolute trust in your staff allows this to work really well.

05. Who do you rely on most?
Without sounding cheesy, I rely on everyone equally. We work as a team and if one person doesn’t do their job properly everyone is affected.

06. Business venue – boardroom or restaurant?
I don’t think it matters as long as it is face to face and appropriate to the discussions taking place.

07. What technology can you not do without?
My iPhone. I not only have access to my emails but also to all our computers and systems via various apps. I can remotely access our sales statistics, spreadsheets and even run business intelligence reports from it, so it doesn’t matter whether I’m at home or even in another country.

08. Are you an FD forever?
Not necessarily. One of the things I love about my job is that in a company this size my role is far more commercial and rounded. I am responsible for IT as well as finance, and am involved in other aspects of the business. I think this makes me a good candidate for CEO, but as long as the work remains as varied I don’t mind what I am.

09. What keeps you awake at night?
Now that Liverpool have turned things around, very little. I can’t deny the state of the economy and the impact it is having on our business isn’t a worry. We’ve all become a little battle weary as decisions we make not only affect the company and its shareholders but also staff. We are performing quite well but there’s still pressure.

10. Your critical advice to would-be FDs?
Your technical ability is not in question as you wouldn’t be where you are today without it. Build up relationships within your business and in key business sectors that support your business. This will ensure you gain the trust of colleagues and business partners, as well as valuable experience that will make you a rounded board member.