My Working Day – PJ Hough – EVP and Chief Product Officer at Citrix

International | My Working Day | Technology

As the leader of a company, you are there to set an example, 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 PJ Hough,  EVP and Chief Product Officer at Citrix, about his working day.

What time do you usually wake up?

Very, very early because I am based on the West Coast. Given the global nature of our business, there is something to do all the time, and by the time I start my day, the day has already started somewhere else for someone at Citrix.

What do you typically have for breakfast?

I usually have something simple like yogurt and eggs and a cup of tea. And I always sit down and eat with my wife. We try to make meal time our time to talk about the day ahead and what’s going on. I also try to catch up on news and social media so that I am aware of global events that might affect the company.

What is the rest of your morning routine before you start work?

I have a lot of meetings – especially external ones with customers – and making sure that I am fully briefed for them is critical. So I tend not to open up my calendar until 8 am or 9 am and use that quiet time to put together my action plan for the day.

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

I always check my calendar because it’s very dynamic and lots of stuff moves around. So I make sure nothing has disappeared or reappeared and reorient myself.

How do you prioritize your day’s work?

There are lots of things I can spend my time on, but I have a strong and talented team.  So I try to focus on the things I am uniquely qualified to tackle and let the team take care of the rest.

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

I plan a lot of meetings. And I really count on not just me being prepared, but the people in the room being prepared. So I leverage lots of people to help with content and the message we’re trying to get out. And if we’re trying to make a decision, I make sure there are written materials that can be read in advance so that we can take informed actions.

Do you have a working lunch or is it good to take a break?

I’m having lunch right now! Most of my lunches are working lunches, partly because I don’t like to eat alone, but also because I am happy to share a lunch experience with my team. Sometimes I take people out to lunch one-on-one to a local coffee shop or restaurant. And I have a large conference table in my office and I often invite people in.

When does your working day finish?

I try to get out of the office at a reasonable hour so that I am home for dinner. That’s the second time my wife and I sit down and talk about our day and it’s an important family meal for me. But we are a multisite, global company, and because of what I do, work sometimes waits for me to make a decision. I need to enable people to move as quickly as they are moving and that often means giving an opinion or an approval at off hours. So I have a phone charger that sits by the coffee table next to the TV remote and I always keep one eye on my book or the TV and my phone.

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

It starts over dinner my wife. We always talk about what our next day looks like and where I am going to be. We have complicated lives because of my travel. But then I try to have down time and stop thinking about work until the next morning when I get into the office.

Favorite piece of technology?

I am a product engineer and designer at heart. So I am always looking at the world around me and the products we use – whether it’s the coffee maker in the hotel room or the buttons in the elevator. And I tend to sample a lot of technologies. If anyone wants to send me products to sample I would be happy to try them! I have a Bluetooth keyboard right now that I use with my phone and it’s amazing how much you can get done with it. I have gone several days using just my phone and no other device.

How do you switch off?

I have a couple of hobbies. Even though I live in the Valley where people shudder when they think of their commute, I love to drive. I drive for pleasure. I also listen to music. Music is one of life’s great distractions. And it’s important to have a portable hobby so I read a lot. I always have a book with me.

Best piece of advice you’ve received?

Probably the most persistently used piece of advice I ever got was around managing my energy and thinking about how to pace myself. But the best coaching I got was really sports coaching, not management coaching.  I was reminded once that while it might be just another meeting on your calendar, it might be the only opportunity that a customer or partner or a team that you don’t meet with very often will have to get in front of you. So you need to bring your A game and prepare for those meetings just like an athlete would.

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

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