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Q&A: Neil Forster, Ingenious Media

01. Rise early or work late?
Do whatever is required to get the job done. Mostly, this means working late. But every situation is different and being flexible and alert to completing the task remains important. Developing a great team around you hopefully means this is not a constant.

02. Training preferences: on the job or formal?
There is no substitute for understanding the basics, as these are the building blocks for further understanding. Some of this can come through formal training, but much is developed through practical application of basic principles.

03. What’s your management style?
There is no one approach, but there are consistent themes. You need to understand what motivates each person. Your people need tounderstand the context of the activities they are performing, to create self-awareness. Ultimately, people need to feel they are important, valued, and are making a difference.

04. Does delegation come easy?
Delegating is the easy part. The hard part can be getting the right balance between providing support while allowing people to feel they are responsible for completing the task. Too often managers do not follow through on what they have delegated, forgetting that they remain responsible, but this improves with experience.

05. Who do you rely on most?
Everyone in the business has to perform for success to be achieved. You cannot underestimate the importance of talking to people about how they are progressing. You need to know when to make a decision and when to seek input from your network.

06. Boardroom or restaurant?
Whatever the venue, face-toface discussions are key. A supportive environment is where people perform best and are most open to ideas.

07. What technology would you never be without?
My BlackBerry.

08. Are you an FD for life?
I’ve always thought broader than job titles. Helping to formulate and deliver success is what matters to me. Maybe this is why I have recently assumed the COO responsibility for the Ingenious Group as well as CFO responsibility.

09. What keeps you awake at night?
Not much, now that my children are getting older.

10. Critical advice to aspiring FDs?
Get the basics right, develop a strong team around you, build business relationships, have a clear direction for the business, and seek new opportunities to gain commercial insight. All this will make you a more rounded and credible FD and board member.

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Theresa May 1