My Working Day – Mike Fantis – VP Managing Partner at DAC Group

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 Mike Fantis, VP Managing Partner at DAC Group, about his working day.

What time do you wake up?

Whatever time my two year old wakes me! So my day starts between 6-7 am.

What do you typically have for breakfast?

It depends on whether I’m working at home or in the office. If I’m working from home, I’ll have cereal or toast with my son around 8:30 am. When I’m in the office, I’m a sucker for a hot Pret croissant and coffee when I sit down at my desk at 9 am. I always feel that my body’s ready for fuel after the brisk walk from the station to the office!

What is the rest of your morning routine?

Being part of an international business and working with clients across the pond means that my immediate morning routine involves catching up with overnight correspondence. Once that’s done, I re-evaluate my list of tasks, either adding to my list or delegating to the team.

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

I start every day by checking my calendar. Clear visibility of the day ahead helps me be productive in planning my time and output between meetings. This includes catching up with the team to make sure we’re meeting each deliverable.

How do you prioritise your day’s work?

A. Deadlines and deliverables
B. Where is my value going to have the biggest impact
C. Forward-thinking – planning ahead

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

Over the course of the pandemic, I found that some meetings were an unnecessary waste of time – especially if they were too frequent! I like to plan in advance and keep meetings snappy. I don’t micromanage, so outside of client meetings I catch up with the team at the start and end of the week for status updates.

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

I usually have a working lunch. However, as we all return to the office I’ve found it helps to take an hour away from my desk and chat with colleagues.

When does your working day finish?

I usually finish work between 9-10 pm – but with some caveats. I like to finish on time so I can do dinner and bath time with my family. On the days I’m not playing football or squash, I’ll jump back online to tie up any loose ends from the day.

I find evenings to be very productive as I can take advantage of an hour or two with virtually no distractions by way of emails, notifications, questions etc.

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

I always finish up by checking the calendar for meetings the following day. If I’m meeting with a client (or future prospect) I’ll review the content, have a quick look at their LinkedIn activity and read up on the brand news. It may seem incidental but these external factors can completely change the direction of the meeting so it’s important to be prepared at all times.

What’s your favourite piece of technology?

Now this is a tough one and there are lots of gadgets I could pick out – and I know everyone says their smartphone. From a business perspective, it would have to be our proprietary software – my job would be so much harder without it.

I don’t want to do myself out of a job though, so it’s worth noting that data is only as useful as the story it tells and we do still need humans to bring it to life. It struck me recently how great a role storytelling plays in my life, whether that’s telling my son a bedtime story or in reading the data to find the big picture for clients and colleagues.

Those ‘lean in’ moments are still so important and actually the potency of the latest tech would be much diminished without the age-old art of storytelling… Maybe I should have opted for my Kindle?

How do you switch off?

My toddler is great for breaking up the day. Nothing else matters when he asks Daddy for something. And, definitely sport. I’m certainly not the first to say this, but that feeling when you cross the white line and into battle is pretty much unbeatable.

I really do find that exercising helps renew my energy from a work perspective. It helps me generate fresh ideas and gives me some clarity when returning to my work. If I’m not playing a sport, I’m watching it (and yes, mainly football).

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

It might be often repeated, but it bears repetition: treat people how you want to be treated. In the early part of my career, I was given the perfect example of how not to act and manage people. That helped shape me later in life. Be polite, open, kind, honest and helpful and it really does pay off.

My role comes with huge responsibility. Aside from client targets and expectations, I’m responsible for people’s careers and in turn, their lives. I love working with people and always want to coach when the opportunity allows.