My Working Day – Marco Frigatti – SVP Consultancy at Guinness World Records
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 Marco Frigatti, SVP Consultancy at Guinness World Records, about his working day.
What time do you wake up? What do you typically have for breakfast?
Unlike other business people, I am actually a late chronotype, which means, I am not a morning person. During the week, I wake up at 7:30 am, but I would say, I am not a happy bunny until at least 10(ish) in the morning! I need to ease myself gently into the day with some ‘me-time’.
The best part of getting out of bed is my partner preparing breakfast for me, it’s an old tradition we’ve built over the years where we always have a light breakfast together. It’s usually, yoghurt with nuts, a croissant, or an egg, accompanied by two coffees and always a good chat!
What is the rest of your morning routine?
I am not a big fan of routines. My early morning is a blank canvas and every day I try to keep things mixed and interesting. Otherwise, I get easily bored. First, I decide if I am going into the office or working from home, this often depends on the weather and my calendar. I love to cycle to work, which gives me about one hour to think about the day ahead, while keeping an eye on the traffic.
If I’m working from home, I like to go for a walk with my dog when the day starts. I often use this time to catchup with my team in Japan and China over a “walking” video call. The morning is also when I “wear” my listening ears – that’s when I tend to have most of my 1:1 meetings – to connect with the team and hear about the challenges they face and how I can best support them.
What is the first thing you do at the start of your working day?
I speak with a lot of people in one day, so it’s essential that I keep an eye on my calendar. I concentrate most meetings in the morning and leave late afternoon for the more creative tasks. that’s why my days most often start with a video call. I am slightly nomadic, so I end up having video meetings from different locations. It’s funny, my team always asks me: “So where are you today?”.
How do you prioritise your day’s work?
I use Evernote to capture notes and I also love to have a writing pad with me. Essentially, I keep a daily list and a larger pool of long-term ideas. My daily task list helps me manage a steady workflow, but a lot of my job involves resolving issues, proposing solutions and looking at what’s next – how can our business continue to add value to those brands that see us as a platform to build a legacy and connect in a new way with their customers.
But I also need to be flexible enough to shift things around in case needed. I also like to ringfence time to read, research and speak with people that will inspire me and how I approach solutions. This is critical to how I lead the consultancy side of our company. Having enough time to research, read and think is how us – as a team – can continue to deliver a consistent experience for the consumers who loves us and the brands we work with.
Do you plan meetings or are they a waste of time?
I have several holding slots for weekly and monthly meetings booked in my calendar, this helps me manage key relationship across the business. However, these meeting slots aren’t always used if there are no urgent topics to be discussed or if we have other engagements. I also have several quick chats, usually around the coffee machine at the office, or online if needs be. I think these can be extremely valuable and often end up being the most creative and productive moments of my working day.
In order to create a better work/life balance across the team, I am experimenting with asynchronous meetings. These are meetings that do not happen in real-time so do not require an immediate response. I organise these meetings on Teams using a Loop or a Word document, where I write the agenda topics and my comments or questions. My team then has 24 hours to respond or make further comments. This method is great as it allows everyone to contribute when they can, freeing up time for people to prioritise other tasks.
Do you have a working lunch or do you take a break?
For lunch I keep things simple and quick. I am often starting to get into the thick of things around that time, so I tend to have a bite closer to 2 pm. I make an effort to stop working when I’m having lunch. This is when I also tend to go for a quick walk. When I can, I also enjoy using lunch hour to connect with people, share some food, and enjoy a nice conversation.
When does your working day finish?
In all honesty, I never finish a working day. My life and work are intertwined. I don’t mean this in a bad way. It took me years to understand how to blur these boundaries in a way that suits me. Work-life integration helps me to look at the big picture and eliminate the frustration of trying to create two distinct areas in my life. I can stop working at 4:30 pm and go to the gym, and then pick up my work and finish what I was doing in the evening when my mind is working at its best. I find it less stressful to manage my time and life as a continuum rather than putting work and life into separate boxes – it reduces stress, helps me to connect with my family at the right time, and – most importantly – it makes the best use of my creative capacities.
How do you prepare for the next day’s work?
On Friday evening. That’s when I look at the following week and ringfence time in my calendar to focus on important tasks.
What’s your favourite piece of technology?
My phone, it’s my office, my social life, my library, TV. Everything I need is in it.
How do you switch off?
By talking to the people I love, my friends, my family, or my dog. They are the foundation of my life and have always been there to remind me of who I am.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Stop wanting to add too much value.
For me, this is means two things: First, this is about slowing down, being curious and open-minded. Sometimes in our efforts to help (or impress), we lose sight of what is being said. By remaining interested and engaged, we help our teams to come up with their own brilliant solutions.
The second one is about personal growth, we often remain too attached to what we know best, we sometimes need to step into those unchartered territories, outside of our comfort zones to develop new skills, make mistakes and learn.