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FD Q&A: Sally Field, Experis

01. Rise early or work late?
Definitely an early starter. I get the same train every day and either go to the gym before I start, or get to the office for 7.30am and clear emails before the new deluge arrives.

02. Training preferences: on the job or formal?
Both are important, but I always value on-the-job experience over a qualification when I’m interviewing. Knowing someone has seen the kind of problems before and may come with some fresh ideas ensures they can start adding value immediately. Well-tailored training can help the individual to grow into the role, but the lessons learnt from failing or succeeding will be remembered and put to use more than theory.

03. What is your management style?
I make sure I’m available for advice, but I prefer to trust those around me to deliver what they say they are going to, rather than micro-managing.

04. Does delegation come easy?
It does if the individual has gained your trust, but it can be difficult if you’re not convinced they will deliver. It’s hard not to delegate to one or two people who have proven themselves, to the point of not giving others the opportunity to shine.

05. Who do you rely on most?
I have a great finance management team with different personalities and skills, which makes for lively meetings. They keep the team motivated and challenge me to look for ways in which to improve.

06. Boardroom or restaurant?
The formality of the boardroom is important for performance reviews and documenting certain activities, but some of the best ideas are generated over a good meal and glass of wine.

07. What technology would you never be without?
My Sky+ box – what did we ever do before series-link?

08. Are you an FD for life?
I enjoy the role, especially at the moment as we’ve recently integrated three brands into a new company. As an FD, you contribute to the daily decisions and helping the company to grow, so I would be interested in extending that aspect towards a COO or general management role.

09. What keeps you awake at night?
I don’t let myself get too stressed out by work, so I am good at switching off. That just leaves me plenty of time to worry about Liverpool FC’s ability to regain top four status.

10. Your critical advice to would-be FDs?
There’s no substitute for hard work, but you also have to get away from the desk and understand the business, by meeting customers, spending time in the regional offices, or keeping up-to- date with industry publications and forums.

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