My Working Day – Ian Johnston – CEO of Osprey Charging
As the leader of a company, you are there to set an example and 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? We spoke to Ian Johnston, CEO of Osprey Charging, about his working day.
What time do you wake up?
The alarm is set for 6am every day, although its normally a question of which one of my daughters or the dog decides that the day will start before then!
What do you typically have for breakfast?
I pre-order a scrambled egg pot through an app when I’m 10 minutes out from arriving in London and pick it up along with a coffee as I walk to the Osprey offices.
What is the rest of your morning routine?
With our girls now both in school the morning is a constant race for getting everyone ready for the day ahead. My wife constantly tells me to enjoy the time rather than treating it as a logistical process, but I fail at that on most days!
(I often arrive at the train platform begrudging that I am not there as early as I would like to be, but as I look down the platform I see hundreds of other people in exactly the same position and I wonder how society hasn’t found a better solution for commuting and childcare yet…)
What is the first thing you do at the start of your working day?
My working day starts as soon as I wake up with a quick check of any market or competitor activity, before then prepping for the meetings ahead. I try to not send out comms to the team late at night so quite often I’ll fire off a few updates and decisions first thing so they are in people’s inboxes for when they get online in the morning.
How do you prioritise your day’s work?
Each evening I will assess what are the priorities that the business needs to drive forward on the next day, to check if anything has developed since we planned the priorities as a team at the start of the week. I keep a live Apple note, shared with each department head, of the status and next steps of the key quarterly priorities which are the focus for every day.
Do you plan meetings or are they a waste of time?
It is imperative to plan meetings, and if there is nothing to discuss then the meeting shouldn’t happen. However, when it comes to 121s with my team whilst I do plan what I want the outcome to be, I always try to ensure that the starting agenda is theirs so they can always raise the matters they want before I raise my own.
Do you have a working lunch or do you take a break?
Unfortunately, the intensity of our sector means a break in the day is rare, but everyone needs to buy lunch from somewhere so if the opportunity arises I like to walk and talk with members of the team to where they buy their lunch, as it can often bring up a more spontaneous and creative check-in away from the formality of the usual 121s and team meetings.
When does your working day finish?
My wife and I both work full-time so we take it in turns to leave the office to take over from our childcare provider, but once the kids are down and we have eaten together it is common for us to both be sat together with laptops out until about 11pm. Not healthy I know, but with young kids and trying to push our careers forward at the same time there aren’t many other options than the intensive option at present.
What’s your favourite piece of technology?
Being able to walk to the station dictating emails, Slacks and WhatsApps on AirPods now is brilliant. In the business, Slack has revolutionised how we work – but after Covid-19 we have learned that however good they are tools like Slack don’t take the place of proper face-to-face meetings and human conversations.
How do you switch off?
Aside from the kids, the biggest distraction which helps me de-stress after the day is to lose myself in a short sharp comedy episode before bed, most recently The Thick of It or the American Office.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
In my twenties, I was an Area Manager working with car dealerships for Volkswagen UK, and someone told me that if one of the dealers didn’t listen to what I was trying to influence them on it wasn’t their fault for not listening or being open-minded, it was my fault for not putting enough work in to successfully engage them and understand their thinking.
I have carried that with me through my career, and I’m continually intrigued in how perceptions affect reality in people’s decision-making and motivations.