My Working Day – Nick Lawton – CEO of Five by Five

My Working Day

As the leader of a company, you are there to set an example, to lead and inspire a team individuals to achieve a series of business goals. But, how do these business leaders go about their daily routine?

Business Leader spoke to Nick Lawton – CEO of Five by Five about his working day.

WHAT TIME DO YOU USUALLY WAKE UP?

The alarm goes off at 6:30 if I’m going to the gym, otherwise the kids jump on me around 7am.

WHAT DO YOU TYPICALLY HAVE FOR BREAKFAST?

Cereal, poached eggs or fruit, depending on how busy I am!

WHAT IS THE REST OF YOUR MORNING ROUTINE BEFORE YOU START WORK?

I try and get to the gym three times a week, for 7am. It’s just round the corner from the office, so I shower at the office and get 45 minutes of email and prep sorted before the day kicks off. I find the gym insanely boring, but there’s a clear difference in my energy levels on the days I do go. The other two days I do the school run, and then go to London or head to our Southampton HQ.

WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU DO AT THE START OF YOUR WORKING DAY?

Unless I have an early meeting, I’ll clear email before our daily operational stand up at 9.30am.

HOW DO YOU PRIORITIsE YOUR DAY’S WORK?

No two days are the same in a launch marketing agency – it makes prioritising work a task in itself, but it’s why I love my job. My time is probably split 50/50 between internal and external activity. Internally, I’ll spend time with my management team individually or as a group, discussing client or new business opportunities. I have an office, but I prefer to plug in somewhere and hot desk around the building. Externally, I spend time with clients and prospects; or I’m networking, attending events, lunches and dinners.

DO YOU PLAN MEETINGS OR ARE THEY A WASTE OF TIME?

Depends on the meeting obviously, but it’s a common sense approach really: if I need to plan, then I plan. I learned a valuable lesson from an old boss early in my career – it’s a simple principle, but I was inexperienced and just thought he was going to handle the meeting. He asked me, ‘what do we want out of this meeting, Nick?’ It’s a question I kick every meeting off with, and it seems to work and drive an outcome.

DO YOU HAVE A WORKING LUNCH OR IS IT GOOD TO TAKE A BREAK?

We’ve just implemented a policy of no eating at your desk. It hasn’t gone down very well, but it’s forcing people to take a decent break at lunchtime and more importantly, to socialise with someone they might not work with on a day-to-day basis. We have a couple of spaces near our main kitchen for people to eat and talk, too.

WHEN DOES YOUR WORKING DAY FINISH?

Working day finish? I suppose that’s the advantage and disadvantage to technology, and having offices in three different time zones. My role gives me flexibility to manage my diary, but I’m ‘always on’. I’m fine with it though, because it allows me to watch the kids playing their matches during the week or go to their assembly, but if I have to do a call or email for a few hours at night, then that’s what I do.

HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR THE NEXT DAY’S WORK?

Depends what the next day holds. I’m not a big one for practicing or rehearsing out loud, so I tend to internalise and run through things in my head. I run my Inbox as my ‘to-do’ list, so I tend to clear that before I go to bed. I can never have more than 50 emails in my Inbox, which seems to keep my head straight. I’m pretty anal about that.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE OF TECHNOLOGY?

My favourite piece of tech has to be my phone. They’re just unbelievable things! And with the advent of 5G, their potential is mind blowing – aside from the concerns surrounding the origins of the supporting infrastructure. My favourite app is probably WhatsApp, but I just need to make sure the right messages go to the right groups, as I use it for work and personal.

HOW DO YOU SWITCH OFF?

It’s probably not healthy, but when you own and run your business, I think you rarely switch off. I love playing and watching sports, but even on the golf course I’ll pick up emails if I have to. Weekends are mostly about the kids, various clubs, training sessions or matches. Like any parent, you basically turn into a taxi service – realising, when I was their age, how much I took my parents for granted!

BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?

Always employ people who are better than you.

Are you a CEO of a business and want to be featured on Business Leader for ‘My Working Day’? Please contact editor@businessleader.co.uk.

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