My Working Day – Ian Bryson – Managing Director of Lincoln & York

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 Ian Bryson, Managing Director of Lincoln & York coffee, about his working day.

What time do you wake up?
I wake up at 5 am every weekday. Then myself and my wife Sarah go for a 4.5k walk around Knaresborough where we live and back home for six. I find that taking the time for a walk in the morning clears my head ready to start the working day.

What do you typically have for breakfast?
I start every day with a Berocca, two Weetabix with milk, a homemade granary roll, and a Robert Roberts Extra Strong tea every morning. Knowing I’ll be surrounded by fantastic, top-quality coffee all day, I like to enjoy a good cup of tea at home.

What is the rest of your morning routine?
After the usual shower and shave, I drive 75 miles to work and get to the office around 8:15 am – I’ve always been an early riser, liking to get a head start before everyone else arrives at the office.

What is the first thing you do at the start of your working day?
I start with a tea or coffee. Being part of a coffee company means I get to taste many fantastic coffees. Whilst I like a latte or flat white, last week I tasted a fantastic Rwandan Bwenda coffee. The taste profile was fruity and floral with notes of pineapple, forest berries and black grape, an absolute treat.

Then I review my objectives for the day, looking at what my priorities are and what I want to achieve. At least once or twice a week I will try and have a walk around the factory to see how we are performing and chat with the teams. I will also have a quick check of the coffee and currency markets to see where they are.

How do you prioritise your day’s work?
I have some planned meetings in the diary with the team, some key tasks that I need to have completed by the end of the day, time to think about key projects and strategy development ensuring I have time to speak to the teams around the business because that’s where you hear how it’s really going.

Do you plan meetings or are they a waste of time?
Yes, I do plan some meetings as they are critical for keeping the focus and pace in the business. It is also extremely important to have many ‘water cooler’ discussions as that’s where you pick up key nuggets of information that help me understand how we are performing plus the mood of the business.

Do you have a working lunch, or do you take a break?
Occasionally I take a break, but most are working lunches. This is not good enough for me as I encourage everyone to take a break away from their desks, phones, and laptops! I must try harder to take a break.

When does your working day finish?
Generally, I finish around 5:30 pm – 6:15 pm and head off into the sunset for the drive home.

How do you prepare for the next day’s work?
My drive home is about 75 minutes so it’s a good time to reflect on the day and think about what I want to achieve the next day. I will begin to plan my tasks and objectives for the following day in my head before I get home.

What’s your favourite piece of technology?
I do love my iPhone, AirPods, and Kindle…things that make everything simpler and less cluttered.

How do you switch off?
I enjoy gardening (growing a few fruits and vegetables), reading, and walking miles across the moors and dales of Yorkshire. I also enjoy a little golf at which I am completely useless, but it’s fun.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Listen and learn. Don’t be afraid to admit you may have it wrong or be too headstrong to take advice from others. Self-awareness is key to building a strong business and a strong culture.