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Q&A: David Hanney, GO Outdoors

01. Rise early or work late?
After years of doing a paper round as a schoolboy, I am definitely not an early riser. Besides, I prefer to leave the house after 8am so I can have breakfast with the family.

02. Training preferences: on the job or formal?
An accounting qualification is one of the best general management qualifications you can get. At GO Outdoors, I am proud that we sponsor people in the buying and marketing departments to take accounting qualifications. However, I have learned most in practical situations and am lucky to have worked with some great mentors in my career.

03. What is your management style?
I like to give people space to learn and succeed. In our finance and IT teams we have some extremely capable people who are at the top of their game. I am driven by delivering outcomes and making things happen, so my style varies according to the situation. I try to be approachable, hands-on and empowering.

04. Does delegation come easy?
Understanding the difference between being accountable and being responsible was an important learning experience for me. At GO Outdoors I am accountable for a lot but responsible for very little. I enjoy delegating.

05. Who do you rely on most?
From a work perspective, I rely greatly on my team. However, from a personal perspective – and most important of all – it is my wife.

06. Boardroom or restaurant?
At certain times you have to take hard decisions and the right place for that is in the boardroom. However, because so much about being a part of a team is trusting the people you work with there is no better way to get to know your team than to have a good night out.

07. What technology would you never be without?
I have a love/hate relationship with my BlackBerry. I mostly hate it because it has done nothing to improve the working environment or performance – it’s just made work a 24-hour activity. But I cannot imagine life without the internet. How did we ever get by without Google?

08. Are you an FD for life?
I love the accountability and influence that comes with being an FD. The most rewarding aspect of my role is growing businesses and building teams. But I definitely have an entrepreneurial itch, so perhaps I won’t be an FD forever.

09. What keeps you awake at night?
I like a good night’s sleep and always sleep on problems – things are clearer in the morning.

10. Your critical advice to would-be FDs?
Get some broad experience. Learn how to manage the good times and the bad times, grow the company and improve people and processes. FD roles are entirely forward-looking. Build a great team as life is easier that way, and don’t worry if people move on because a year with a great person is better than a lifetime without.

 

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