Strategy & Operations » Leadership & Management » Q&A: Matt Button, finance director, Arista

1. Rise early or work late?

I’m definitely an early riser. I like to make the most of the quiet early mornings so you’ll find me in the office before 8am. Conversely, having moved away from mergers and acquisitions, I’ve managed to break the habit of working too late into the evening.

2. Training preferences: on the job or formal?

Having spent many hours in a classroom, my preference is on the job training. I tend to get more out of putting myself in different commercial situations than I do from formal training sessions.

3. What’s your management style?

I try to be as open and honest as possible as these are the qualities I appreciate in my leaders. They are qualities that bring out the best in people. I’m also known to be quite direct and I try not to sit on the fence.

4. Does delegation come easy?

My natural inclination is to carry out a task myself so delegation is something at which I have to work. Once I’ve established trust in a colleague, I find it much easier and it helps to free me up to do more of the things I should be doing.

5. Who do you rely on most?

I have a couple of mentors who have been influential in most of the significant career decisions I have made to date. I’ve come to rely on them to keep me on track and challenge my thinking to ensure the decision I’m making is for the right reasons.

6. Boardroom or restaurant?

As dull as it sounds, I actually prefer the formality of a boardroom. I like structured discussions and for everybody to be clear on what’s expected from them at the end of the meeting.

7. What technology would you never be without?

An iPhone – mainly because I’d never be able to navigate around London without it.

8. Are you an FD for life?

There is still a lot for me to learn and experience; however, I don’t think I will remain in finance for my whole career. Eventually I’d like to evolve into a CEO – but a CEO who’s comfortable talking numbers.

9. What keeps you awake at night?

Ideas. I tend to have my best – and worst – in the middle of the night. I write them down so that they are still there in the morning.

10. Critical advice to aspiring FDs?

Make the most of opportunities to learn from your managers early in your career; take yourself outside of your comfort zone as much as possible and never take a new job that you’re sure you can do.

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Leadership & Management
Leadership & Management
Leadership & Management
Leadership & Management
Leadership & Management
Leadership & Management