My Working Day – Louis Venter – CEO of MediaVision

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? Business Leader spoke to Louis Venter, CEO of MediaVision, about his working day.

What time do you wake up?

I’m not a 5 am person, never have been and never will be. I’m up at a more respectable 6:30 to take my youngest son to the bus stop in a frantic rush of tuna sandwiches, Nutella toast and whatever he’s forgotten that morning.

What do you typically have for breakfast?

Usually, some muesli and a cappuccino as I go down to the home office in the garden.

What is the rest of your morning routine?

Once I get back from the school drop-off, I get some quiet time to do some of the breathing and stretching work I’ve learned from Lewis Hatchett, an ex-cricketer who now specialises in mental resilience in elite sportsmen and entrepreneurs. It helps me be ready for the day and to reduce any long-term stress effects of running the business!

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

Data! I look at MediaVision’s performance dashboards which allow me to look at performance across all clients immediately in one place. I then have my stand up with the data science team before going through all my tasks that the team is awaiting feedback on.

How do you prioritise your day’s work?

I try and be as effective as I can and prioritise things that will really grow the business. This isn’t always the obvious. For example, ensuring our client KPIs are on track and retention is often more impactful than new business. The same goes for product and technology – which is a multiplier in terms of effectiveness in the agency.

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

Plan them! More importantly, I block out time in the diary for me to do the work I need to do. If I don’t, the day gets taken up with meetings and you get to the end of the day ineffective, exhausted and with a sense that you haven’t really achieved anything.

Do you have a working lunch or do you take a break?

Bit of both really. While I try to not eat at my desk, sometimes it’s just too busy not to!

When does your working day finish?

I finish at 6 pm and try my best not to pick up my phone again. We don’t have a culture of late-night emails, so I do my best to respect that. If I do get a late-night idea, I send myself a note rather than sending it to the team as I certainly don’t expect them to respond out of hours.

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

I’m a huge fan of John Cleese’s book, Creativity. I follow his lead and to activate the subconscious for the next day, I read and organise my to-do list, as well as scan through the meeting requests one more time. Then I don’t think about things again and let the “tortoise brain” get on with it!

What’s your favourite piece of technology?

I’m slightly obsessed with my robotic lawnmower and vacuum cleaner as they give me spare time but I am also interested in the algorithm that determines their pathways. I’m the kind of guy who looks at something like that and wants to know how it works rather than the actual job it was made to do. I’m mildly obsessed with figuring things out like that.

I also hate mowing and vacuuming, so that helps!

How do you switch off?

It depends on how I feel at the end of the day. If I’m tired, then I do yin yoga, which helps me switch off and really leaves the effects of the day behind. If I’m not, I love paddleboarding and cold water swimming as I just feel at home in the water. Growing up in South Africa, we used to swim in Fishoek Bay three or four times a week before the “shark spotters” were installed! That’s quite scary looking back at it now.

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

Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s a real cliché but it takes time to change and adapt human behaviour in the workplace and it takes consistent communication and documentation to refer back to when people are unsure. Just because you’ve said it in a meeting doesn’t make it so.