How do you typically start a working day?
Catching up with Wendy, our operations manager on issues and activities across all the regional offices.
How long is your commute and what do you do during it?
If I'm going to the London office, it's one hour by train, spent catching up on emails. Or more often, it's a 45-minute drive to the Woking Cyber Security office, which is spent desperately trying to be patient with dithering drivers.
What is your attitude to flexible working in your company?
I'm ambivalent - it doesn't fit in with some operational areas.
What would your colleagues say is your worst habit?
Organised chaos on my desk. I know where everything is and why it's there, but it's not pretty.
If there was one thing you could change about your business, what would it be?
At our rate of growth, it's a challenge to find new staff, then get them on board and up to speed across all 25 regions. If I had a magic wand, I would wave that challenge away.
What do you do for the bulk of a typical day?
The thing about my days that really motivates me is the volume and variety. Some typical activities are:
■ Assessing new vendor approaches for technical and commercial opportunities.
■ Supporting product launches with existing vendors into one of the 25 countries where we trade.
■ Supporting a rolling pattern of QBRs with vendors by region and territory.
■ Dealing with a myriad of minor operational issues that continually surface.
■ Liaising with our product sales and technical teams.
■ And, of course, dealing with the tsunami of emails that come in.
How do you unwind at the end of the day?
Running or swimming, and cooking.
How good are you at replying to emails?
That's a question for the recipient, not me, particularly if they don't like the reply. I try continually to get on top of the wave, but some of the time that's not successful.
Do you ever really have a proper day or week off with no contact with the office?
No. Am I actually able to do that?
What's the quotation that best sums up your approach to business?
You only have one reputation, it's hard to earn, so make sure you protect it.
What was your biggest mistake in business, and what did you learn from it?
Working with a couple of vendors that had great products but didn't really understand or recognise the real value of both the channel and also distribution. That really distracted us from our market growth model. I learned to qualify vendors, not just for their technology, but also for their channel awareness.
Which business leader do you most admire, and why?
Dave Packard, a founder of HP. One of his key objectives was the pursuit of excellence and how to assimilate that into a company. It's a philosophy that I have tried to emulate, with varying degrees of success.
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