My Working Day – Charlie Ruddy – CEO of Digital Infrastructure/Be Fibre

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 Charlie Ruddy, CEO of Digital Infrastructure/Be Fibre, about his working day.

What time do you usually wake up?

I typically get up between 5.30am and 6am and like to put some quality time aside in the evening for family, before heading to bed between 10-11 pm. I’d like to say that changes at the weekend, but when you are a grassroots football coach (for both Culcheth Vipers U12s and Culcheth Kestrels U16s) – and my own sons are playing – it tends to be six days a week at least!

What do you typically have for breakfast?

I drink two pints of water in the morning as soon as I get up. When I’m exercising, I usually have a banana before the workout. But typically, once I’ve had my shower, I enjoy having some porridge and fruit to set me up for the day.

What’s the rest of your morning routine before you start work?

For 20-30 minutes, I focus on controlled breathing, stretching and some core strength work every single morning. Since I had my prolapse and sciatica over two years ago, I’ve found this is a great way to get me ready for anything!

First thing you do at the start of a workday?

I make sure I check my messages to ensure we’re on top of any internal or external customer matters that need immediate attention. When I’m in the office, I spend time speaking to staff because I like to connect with people on a human level – it’s important that everyone feels they have a voice that is considered and respected.

How do you prioritise your work?

I look at what’s important versus what’s urgent and try to separate the noise that can make things busy, but unproductive. When you’re able to make sense of this, the key matters tend to present themselves as priorities.

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

Meetings are an essential part of internal and external stakeholders’ engagement, but you have to get the balance right. I tend to have a structured approach where we clearly think about the terms of reference for the meetings, the frequency of meetings, and who the attendees should be.

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

I have a placeholder for everyone in our business to block out 30 minutes from 12-12.30 pm every day. I ask people not to book meetings or calls and to take this time to ensure that they have time to themselves. This works really well and creates a space where people feel comfortable. The only exception to this rule is if our key stakeholders need a slot due to business needs.

When does your working day finish?

I like to be home to have dinner with my family at 6.15 pm. It’s not always possible when I’m travelling, but I make this effort daily, where possible. I also block out a 5.30-6 pm ‘CEO Surgery’, where everyone in our business has access to me and can book a slot if they need to discuss something.

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

Once the dinner and my children’s homework are finished, I’ll glance over every email to make sure I’m aware of any urgent matters. On occasion, I may spend another hour in the evening when I need to prepare for the following day.

What’s your favourite piece of technology?

As much as I don’t want to admit it, I think I would be lost without my iPhone. With its functionality, it allows me to stay connected and deal with things in real-time – particularly customer-centric related activities, including sending emails and responding to instant messages.

How do you switch off?

I’m a football coach as well as a Culcheth Athletic FC committee member for over 300 young people, aged between 5-17, spanning 24 teams and 40 coaches. I’m also a School Governor at Birchwood Community High School, in Cheshire, which has 1,000 students – both these roles keep me very busy indeed!

Additionally, I manage the Irish International Pool team, where we compete at the World, European and Home Nations championships, and I’m also a dad to four children, have three grandchildren and I’m often – rather annoyingly – found regularly requesting for donations to charitable causes. I recently did the CEO Sleepout in Manchester and raised over £2,300 to fight homelessness.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received? 

Don’t take all this too seriously – be the best version of yourself and focus on the positive delivery in everything you do. I’m a great believer in loving your work.