"I am generally a satisfied and positive person, but I know that I need to keep a fine balance between improvement and complacency."by
We're always curious to hear how our members and contributors tackle the challenges that the ever-changing world of L&D throws at them. We've got a wealth of experience and knowledge across the site, and what better way to showcase the diversity of our community than to get them to walk us through an average day?
Want to tell us about your way of working? Email us at [email protected], or let us know in the comments below.
Shaun Thomson is CEO of Sandler Training in the UK.
So Shaun, tell us about your day...
07:00 - I’m normally up fairly early and after a healthy breakfast I try to make time for a quick walk. I am lucky to live near the beautiful ground of Blenheim Palace, so the walk is very peaceful and gets me in an excellent mind-set for the day. Before leaving for work I allow myself a maximum of 15 minutes to check my emails. To avoid becoming a slave to email I give myself four set times a day when I look and reply to emails.
9.50 – Every morning we have a set time for a ten-minute ‘huddle meeting’ where my team and I agree priorities for the day and deadlines for what we need from each other. It’s a standing meeting and it rarely runs over – I find this daily ‘synch’ makes us aware and sensitive of each other’s workloads and any interdependencies.
11:00 – Training takes place almost daily with local small business leaders. One of my favourite sessions is the President’s Club – this is an ongoing program that helps entrepreneurs and business leaders fine-tune their sales methods, improve their performance, and build their confidence. The people I have in this club are phenomenal and it's very satisfying seeing the behavourial change that is happening and the success that they are enjoying as a result. It’s also a private forum for the business leaders to share problems and learnings – a common theme is often recruitment – how to avoid bad hires and spot them before they enter a business is a problem faced by everyone!
13:00 - Lunchtime! We all eat together as a team; it’s great for bonding. My wife normally makes our lunch so it’s always quite nutritious and healthy – so I am always happy when there is a birthday and an excuse to have a slice of cake as well! Most days I also try and squeeze in ten minutes of meditation after lunch to ensure that I am fresh for work in the afternoon; I find the Headspace app best for this.
15:00 – I have set time each day for project work and administration. At the start of each week I allocate these tasks and block out time in my Outlook calendar. The diary is king and this approach ensures I have discipline! I set diary reminders so that I know to wind down whatever it is I am doing before I am set to start. Getting my head down for an hour and seeing a task through all the way to completion is very satisfying.
18:30 – I don’t normally leave until after six – this is because I have to factor in communications that come in when the US come online. I also take one week off every eight; as such I have to scale my workload the other seven weeks. We normally take this week abroad – we are keen skiers so where possible we will be offline on the slopes; or somewhere in Europe far away from an Internet connection trying the local food and wine.
19:00 – My wife and I take it in turns cooking dinner and we always eat at the table, so that we can talk about our day. After dinner I spend some time reviewing training materials that I will be delivering the next day. We tend to go to bed at 10pm and watch Newsnight and then I usually fall asleep after reading one of the latest Sandler books – I am currently enjoying the ‘Sales Coach's Playbook.’
Now, tell us…
What would you say are your main passions or things you champion at work?
I am always thinking about how we can do things better. Accountability is also key – micromanagement limits results; you need to empower and coach people into making the right decisions and enjoying the ownership they have over their role and responsibilities.
What part of your job do you enjoy the most?
I am a people person – I hugely enjoy talking and engaging with employees, clients and prospects. The travelling is also a huge perk; as part of my job as UK CEO I get to visit Sandler offices in other countries to share information and I am constantly fascinated about how the Sandler principles are adjusted for different cultures but how the basic learnings work everywhere.
What keeps you up at night?
I am generally a satisfied and positive person; but I know that I need to keep a fine balance between improvement and complacency.
I may ponder that sometimes but I can’t remember the last time I had a broken night’s sleep by waking up worrying! I think that makes me a very lucky man – satisfaction with your life is something that eludes many people, no matter how successful they become. I feel very happy not to be cursed with that.
One tip you’d pass on to your peers?
People underestimate what they can achieve in a year and over estimate what they can achieve short term. Be realistic with your goals and measure and reward every step forward.
Assume you couldn't do your current career, even if you love it. What would be your ideal job?
Easy – a champagne taster or blender. I have been on a number of champagne tasting holidays and courses and I can’t imagine a better job!
Who's your hero?
My wife, Fiona. We have been married for 36 years and she constantly delights and surprises me with her wit and tenacity. She also has a wonderful knack for avoiding conflict but somehow always gets people to agree with what she wants!
You can have five people from history at your dinner party. Who would you invite?
Winston Churchill, Thomas Eddison, Napoleon Hill, Walt Disney and Oscar Wilde. An eclectic group of geniuses, visionaries and leaders – I imagine it would make for a heated and exciting debate – plus come the end of the dinner we may have figured out the meaning of life!