It sounds like a cliché, but there really is no such thing as a typical day for me. That’s just as well considering I’ve now been with Phillips 66 in its various forms for 44 years! I first joined the company (at that time Conoco) straight from grammar school in 1970, and have since held a number of roles in transport, terminals, supply, retail and wholesale in different locations throughout the UK and overseas. I think the variety of roles and the different challenges I’ve faced have kept me on my toes. There’s certainly never been a dull moment!
My alarm clock generally goes off at 6am, unless I have a ’red eye’ flight to catch. I’m lucky in that I’m a mixture of a night owl and an early bird, so I don’t struggle too much with getting motivated in the mornings. I always try to catch up with the news and sports headlines over breakfast. I try to avoid checking my emails before and after work, but modern technology makes it far too easy to be constantly ’connected’ nowadays.
I like to get into the office fairly early to avoid the traffic and am very fortunate to have a short, but very scenic, commute to work from the Cotswolds to Warwick. This means I tend to arrive at work with a smile on my face ready to take on whatever the day throws at me after my first cup of tea, of course!
Our offices are open plan it’s been like this for many years and I genuinely can’t imagine going back to having my own office. I think open-plan offices engender trust and create a much greater sense of belonging among employees. We still have plenty of meeting rooms and break-out areas available when privacy is required.
Trains are best
In an average week, I spend three days in the office and two days out and about at meetings. Most of these visits are in the UK and Ireland, but I also travel to Hamburg and Houston fairly regularly. I genuinely believe there’s no better way of keeping in touch with what’s happening in your industry than through face-to-face contact with your customers and industry peers. I spend quite a lot of time on the road and in airports, but my preferred mode of transport is definitely trains. You can work if you choose to, or just sit back and switch off.
My days in the office generally consist of dealing with strategic plans, working on marketplace issues and looking at how we are performing against our business plan. We’ve set some clear targets for where we want the business to be in the short-term one of which is ensuring more of the UK’s population is a shorter drive from a Jet forecourt. This means that much of my time is spent on our plans to increase Jet’s dealer network by 30% over the next five years. This includes introducing a range of innovations and initiatives to help support our existing dealers and attract new dealers to our network. I’m also closely involved in developing our plans to mark Jet’s 60th anniversary throughout 2014.
When I’m in the office, I work closely with many of my colleagues across our teams to pick up on what’s going on in our day-to-day operations. I firmly believe that you’re only as good as the people who work for you, so investing time and energy in our employees is really important to me.
I tend to judge what my priorities are on a day-to-day basis, but ensuring that our reputation as a good supplier is maintained is obviously key.
I try to get away from the office by 6pm most days and like to spend my ’downtime’ watching or playing sports I’m a huge golf fan and not ashamed to admit that I’m an avid Manchester United supporter. I also enjoy reading.
After 44 years with the same company, some people are probably reading this and wondering what keeps me motivated.
The answer to that is simple: the customers, the people I work with and the fact that this industry keeps you on your toes every day.
I recognise how lucky I’ve been to work for such a good company in a challenging, but very rewarding, industry.
Name: Pete George
Company: Phillips 66
Job title: Managing director, Phillips 66 UK & Ireland marketing
Career history: Joined the company (then Conoco) in 1970 as office boy. Worked way up to managing director
Greatest achievement: From a career perspective I think simply enjoying every day of my working life is a pretty great achievement. On a personal level running the London Marathon still feels like a big tick!
Tips for business success: Be honest and fair with the people who work for you as your success will be achieved through them
Most likely to say: If you think you can, or you think you can’t you will be right
Least likely to say: I really like Liverpool Football Club
Other interests: All sports, socialising and family