My Working Day – Chris Skinner – President EMEA of UM

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 Chris Skinner – President EMEA of UM about his working day.

What time do you usually wake up?

My days have always started early, often because of travel – when it’s permitted. My remit spans more than one time zone, so if there’s anything on in Asia-Pacific, it can be very early indeed!

What do you typically have for breakfast?

Nothing beats tea and toast first thing – whatever the time.

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

As I’ve taken on more responsibilities, I’ve found it’s increasingly vital to make sure I set myself up for the day, so when there’s time, a morning run helps clear my head.

First thing you do at the start of a workday?

UM is a global business, so I tend to get emails through the night that require my attention first thing. Once that’s sorted, a typical day starts with a virtual trot around EMEA, talking to my client teams and direct reports in each territory.

How do you prioritise your work?

Lots of us are facing unforeseen personal challenges on the back of the pandemic, so we prioritise people first, and make sure they’re okay. I make sure there’s also always time to take a step back and consider the whole picture. Balance is vital to keep the cogs turning, and this way, I can be reactive and proactive – or urgent and important, if you like – at the same time.

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

They are very important – when they’re planned, so yes, I do plan them. Media and advertising is a people business, so it’s hugely important to have time working together – and done right, meetings foster genuine creativity and collaboration. A well-planned meeting will also leave space to hear good ideas that can be quickly put into action.

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

Working at home throughout the pandemic meant lunch and meetings became the same thing. But if I can, I like to have time for a proper lunch break, and I prefer to spend that time with team members.

When does your working day finish?

Usually, once a catch-up with the US team has finished.

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

I always check my calendar and prioritise tasks at the end of the day; I’m a man who likes order, and that quite often involves making a list!

What’s your favourite piece of technology?

Smartphones. They have not only transformed the way we do business, but they have completely changed the media and advertising sectors, making our work so much more interesting and challenging.

How do you switch off?

I used to play football, tennis and squash. But these days, it’s all about going for a run and a cycle.

The best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Be different. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand, bring your true self and offer an entrepreneurial spirit to challenge the existing thinking, even if you feel you’re too junior. You have a fresh perspective, so give it.

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