My Working Day – Callum Laing – CEO of MBH Corporation

As the leader of a company, you are there to set an example, to lead and inspire a team of individuals to achieve a series of business goals. But how do these business leaders go about their daily routine? Business Leader spoke to Callum Laing – CEO of MBH Corporation about his working day.

What time do you usually wake up?

I am a reluctant early riser. I’m normally out of bed by 6.30 to help get kids off to school. Weekends are a little bit better but not much as I play football every Saturday morning.

What do you typically have for breakfast?

Just black coffee. It used to be known as ‘skipping breakfast’ and was frowned upon, but now we call it ‘fasting’ and I can be very proud of myself. Apparently.

What is the rest of your morning routine?

Since I’ve already been rudely awakened by my family I clear any urgent messages that have come through overnight and then head to the gym to lift weights. I have one next door so I can normally be done, back home and showered within the hour.

What is the first thing you do at the start of your working day?

I’ll clear any issues that are urgent or holding up other people and then I try and block off the first hour or two to really focus on the bigger projects that need my time and focus. Since I’m based in Singapore and Europe doesn’t wake up until the afternoon, my morning is the best time for writing, researching, working on strategy or anything that should be done without distractions.

How do you prioritise your day’s work?

I try hard not to let other people prioritise my day, but it doesn’t always happen. New opportunities or challenges can easily drag you away from the ‘plan’ but I’m always sure to check that they are aligned with moving MBH Corporation in the right direction.

Do you plan meetings or are they a waste of time?

I have a fair few meetings, but mostly everyone jumps on a call, discusses the issue, agrees the actions and then moves on. My team are very good at succinctly outlining the issue and suggesting solutions with clear pros & cons. I have low tolerance for wasting peoples time. Especially my own.

Do you have a working lunch or is it good to take a break?

Depends on the schedule, but I’ll typically try and exercise again over lunch. Because I’ve been unable to travel for a while I have got back into Muay Thai and I find that being punched in the face is a good way to focus the mind and stop you obsessing about work…

When does your working day finish?

My day is really broken into 3 parts. The morning is the more strategic stuff, the afternoon is mostly back to back calls with small business owners, (either the ones in our group or those that want to join our PLC) and investors. And then after dinner and putting the kids to bed I normally have a few more calls with the US or do any media requests. I try and keep a couple of evenings and most of the weekend free for social and family but it doesn’t always work out, especially when travelling.

How do you prepare for the next day’s work?

I’ll always scan the days meetings. I have an excellent PA, Gina, who pre-preps anything I’ll need for meetings or calls the following day which makes life a lot easier and makes me seem smarter than I am.

What’s your favourite piece of technology?

The coffee machine…

I used to be into cutting edge technology, but now I don’t want to think about it, I just want it to work. Google products still play a disproportionately high role in my ability to be effective, it is incredible how helpful they are to business.

How do you switch off?

As an entrepreneur this is something I have struggled with in the past. Over the years I have learned that the best way to truly disengage my brain is to be actively engaged in doing something else that requires full focus such as competitive sports. Fortunately my family is pretty active too so our holidays are focused around snowboarding, surfing or rock climbing. But I’m not above having the occasional bottle of wine by the pool either!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

I think I give a different answer to this question every time I’m asked, but right now ‘Environment dictates performance’ is top of mind. If you want to perform better at anything, put yourself in a high performance environment. I think that is why I and other business owners enjoy MBH so much, it is inspiring to be surrounded by small business owners that are performing so well.