A Day In The Life Of Ian Derbyshire
In today's 'Day in the Life', we hear from Ian Derbyshire, Head of Workday Adaptive Planning, about how his role has changed during the pandemic and how he juggles the many plates he has to spin.
Please Describe Your Job, What Do You Do?
I head up the Workday Adaptive Planning practice across Europe for Kainos (Formulate). This means I have overall responsibility for our marketing, sales and pre-sales teams along with our delivery. I am a bit of a ringmaster; I orchestrate and give guidance to the rest of our team. That's my role in a nutshell.
What Is A Typical Day? Has The Pandemic Impacted it At All?
It has certainly changed. We have always had a culture of working remotely; I've probably worked remotely for ten years. But that always balanced working at home and going to customer sites, visiting prospects, and meeting up with your colleagues in offices. So, initially, I felt the transition to full-time work at home would not really impact me. But not having the opportunity to go to an office or visit a customer has been a bit draining. You feel like you are trapped in your home office all day, every week, and the days/week can roll into one.
I'm a bit of an early bird, and because there is no travel, there are no queues, I'm not jumping on a plane to Belfast or Europe or getting the train down to London. It means that you get up and I'm logged on and working from 7.30 - 8 am. I find this time the most productive, and I think even post-pandemic, I'll probably try and defend that quiet time in the morning because I find it really useful to get set up for the day.
What Do You Love About Your Job?
I love the fast-paced nature of it. It can be a bit of a madhouse at times; you end up working on many things - especially in my role now, I oversee lots of different areas of the organisation. So there is always something to think about, something to get involved with, always something to plan. I love writing a list in the morning and ticking lots of things off as the day goes on, although, inevitably, you end up adding more as the day goes on. But I really love the fast-paced nature of it.
What Kind Of Skills Do You Need To Be Effective In Your Role?
I've always taken pride in the fact that I lead, not manage. I don't like to micromanage people; I provide coaching, mentoring, and guidance and develop my team members. Over the years, I've played, coached, and managed many sporting teams in both rugby and American football. So, I bring a coaching and mentoring style to my workplace, and I will always support and guide my teams, ensuring that people have a clear direction, focus and end goal(s).
Which Companies Have Impressed You During The Pandemic?
Many organisations have had to turn on a sixpence and pivot their organisations, and many of them have suffered. However, restaurants and pubs that have gone from being the heart and soul of a village or town to providing takeout, often providing it free of charge to the NHS and our frontline staff, have done a fantastic job to keep going.
It may also sound a bit cheesy, but I am massively impressed with Kainos and how it has adapted throughout the pandemic. All 2000 employees at Kainos are now working remotely, and they continue to provide services to all of our customers. In addition, back in March 2020, Kainos could not have predicted the financial results they've just announced to the market. So, Kainos itself has impressed me. Also, in Formulate, we have supported all of our team and provided reassurance that the company is secure. We've been very busy throughout the pandemic, so I think we deserve a pat on the back as well.
What Are Your Favourite Tools And Techniques To Help You Get Your Work done?
I'm probably a bit 'old school', in that I'm a columns and lists man. I have tried all sorts of electronic notepads over the years, but there is nothing better at the start of the day than having a new to-do list on paper! And I love nothing better than crossing off the items I've completed during the day. I like being organised with a list and flexing that list when priorities change. I'm a project manager at heart, and I'm always planning and looking forward.
Have You Made Any Changes To How You Work With Customers?
Yes, 100%. As I mentioned, I used to visit customers, prospects and our offices, but now everything is done remotely. We are using Teams or Zoom, everyone has their webcams on, and you try and interact as effectively as you would if you were sitting in the same room. So, yes, we have had to adapt to that.
And how Do You Finish Up Your Day?
An early start doesn't always mean an early finish, but I like to wind down by 6pm. Then I'll go and catch up with whoever is in the house. There's my wife and me, and I've got four adult children, who all have partners and two grandchildren, so the house can go from quiet to busy very quickly! I try and make sure that whoever is here, I catch up with them. I'm a great believer in sitting down and having dinner together. It allows you to talk about your day. After dinner, I might go for a walk, watch a bit of tv, and then finish off with a soak in the hot tub - it helps me decompress the day.