I’m not actually much of a creature of habit and therefore I rarely have two days the same! So that makes this article a little harder to compile.
I live with my wife Catherine and three-year-old son Zachary. Certainly every day has an eventful and busy start aside from work. However, work-wise it really commences with a regular as clockwork, emailed bank balance from Elaine in the office at 7.30am giving me the overview of cash ins and outs. I’m ashamed to say (well, not really) but I’m a bit of a Blackberry-aholic and it very seldom leaves my side, so through breakfast and getting ready for work, I’m already busy exchanging emails. Our stores and office are all a very comfortable five to 25 minutes drive for me, so that leaves my options open for who I’m going to see first!
On Monday mornings we religiously kick off with an 8.30am senior team huddle. In essence it’s an hour-long, quick-fire communication update very much a ’what’s happening? What needs to be done? And who is going where?’ meeting. It’s so important to be physically on site, seeing the stores, meeting the team and interacting with customers. I really do try to avoid be holed up in the office in endless meetings (however, they do sometimes get the better of me). My diary is very organised and co-ordinated in terms of my site and people catch-ups. However, I do try to leave gaps to randomly call in on sites. It’s also important to get around the business at all times. This week I’ll be doing some unannounced through-the-night visits to all stores.
I usually try to get home for around 6.30pm, in order to see my family and have tea. I’m really not one for watching TV, so I tend to slope off to my study at around 9pm to catch up on the things I’ve not managed to address through the day before retiring for the night.
I’m fortunate to have a great team both on site and at the office. My senior team is phenomenally committed and involved in everything. The exchanging of emails and calls typically last from morning right the way through to going to bed. That may sound quite invasive but to my mind it simply goes with the territory of retailing everyone is contactable at any time!
Having qualified from Uni with a Construction and Management degree, I embarked on a career working in the construction industry. This saw me initially working in the UK but then for a while in Malaysia. There was something eating away at me and I wasn’t quite sure what it was! Having travelled across the world it struck me that really I’d decided on the wrong career. As a teenager, I’d worked in convenience stores and forecourts but really without a thought that it would end up being my passion. As I returned to the UK, our family business had just acquired two further sites (at the time totalling five) and there was a management opportunity.
Our retail exploits as a company were very much a fringe part of the overall family business at that time. I jumped two-footed into the role with very little knowledge but I loved it. On reflection now, I know why it’s the tempo and passion of the retail world, do something now and it makes an immediate impact.
We’ve a great ethos at our company, we are very focused on our people. It’s been great to be recognised on a national stage with the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For, for the past four years.
Our internal pressures to ’do better’ and ’be the best’ at what we do are tougher than anywhere I know. Our group of companies is headed by my dad, Paul, who is an extremely inspiring leader. It’s a great credit to the family and company that he’s just been recognised in the Queen’s Honours List with an OBE for services to business and the local community.
On a personal level, my work and family are first and foremost. To that end, my enthusiasm and time for exercise fluctuates wildly!
I’ve grown up primarily playing football and cricket at a quite competitive level but I can pretty much turn my hand to all sports. My age is getting the better of me a little, so I do keep posing myself challenges to push me. I’ve just returned from a fantastic 300 mile cycling tour with my dad in Vietnam, so that gave me the impetus to get in some training miles beforehand. What next for my 2012 challenge? Tbc...