A day in the life of Richard Stratton
Richard StrattonView bio
Recently Richard Stratton, Partner and Managing Director MENA was asked about his daily routine and habits by Construction Week. The below was originally published in the July edition of Construction Week's magazine.
The great thing about my job is there is no typical day, which makes it a challenge to have a rigid routine. However, this variety and unpredictability leads to a lot of spontaneity and job satisfaction. Of course, this all goes out the window on the many days I travel for business, but as a morally and passionately sustainable business we try to minimise business travel. I know that it is essential for building inclusive projects and leadership team relationships, but it should not be essential for maintaining such relationships.
5:30am I’m an early riser and try to start most days with some exercise. My favourite activity is getting out on the bike, ideally with friends, when time permits, or simply putting it on my indoor rollers and getting in a few kilometres – especially at this time of year when temperatures outside are rising fast.
6:30am I normally have a mug of green tea and ginger and a bit of alone time to start the day and spend about 30mins, while cooling down from my exercise, catching up on industry news and developments on social media.
7:30am Showered and dressed I either head to the office or work from my home office. I prefer to be in the office whenever possible to personally engage with my team. I then start the day reviewing emails and planning for the day ahead.
8am My role is very globally focused which means lots of international calls. Typically, I will catch up with some of our teams across our AsiaPac region discussing a wide range of issues from strategy to collaboration on projects to regional development. Despite our incredible organic global growth Cundall remains a very well connected and collaborative business.
9am I normally catch up with our MENA leadership team either formally or informally to discuss operations, management matters, strategy and people development. We try to meet regularly to maintain our agility. The recent focus has been on further regional expansion and the establishment of, and recruitment for, our KSA office.
10am Hopefully includes a coffee and a social chat with some of our team in our great breakout space overlooking Dubai Marina. I wish I could spend more time contemplating our business from this space rather than meeting rooms, but we have a great office – a home away from home for me. These social moments are invaluable for me – they keep me up to speed with how people are feeling and very often challenge and inspire me.
10:30am Typically I reserve time for pre-tender meetings to review potential tenders, decide which ones we wish to pursue and plan our bid strategy to align with our clients' requirements. I always enjoy these team interactions as we brainstorm what we believe our clients need and how we can add most value to their projects and businesses. No value, no point, or as Edward De Bono, the father of lateral thinking once wrote, "excellent but not enough."
11:30am As I chase time zones this is when I often catch up with some of our teams across our European offices again discussing a wide range of issues and supporting the leadership teams in any way I can - part of our One Cundall ethos. At least once a week I have calls with our Global Management Board to focus on the development and operations of the business.
12:30pm Lunch would be nice and food would be better. Most of the time it’s a working lunch of some description, either with industry colleagues, clients or our team. Social interaction is a challenge in a busy schedule, but I find it extremely valuable from a mental health perspective.
1:30pm I try to keep the first couple of hours in the afternoon free for client and project meetings, although I have an excellent team who, very capably, keep our clients happy. If I have no meetings there are always plenty of emails to respond to and other Cundall Group actions to focus on.
3:30pm I am chasing time zones again, but this time I am in the UK doing more of the same. Our global HQ (and first Cundall office) is in the northern powerhouse of Newcastle upon Tyne, so I tend to catch up with our specialist support teams around finance, legal, and HR matters. In a business of just over 1,000 people there is never a shortage of things to discuss and strategise over.
4:30pm Back to tenders again, but this time reviewing a range of technical and commercial matters with our internal stakeholders before we submit to our clients. It is important that we tailor our proposals to align with our clients needs.
5:30pm Back at my desk and a catchup on emails and start planning the next day's activities. We have an open plan agile working policy so it’s always an opportunity for a chat with different members of the team. Our strength lies in our team so I try to build and maintain genuine team spirit - this is very important to me.
6:30pm Time to think about going home or head off to a business network event. Either way I usually try and jog down the stairs in the office as a bit of a release - 32 floors of “cognitive easing”.
8pm When I get home its time for dinner with my wife Sharon – the kids have flown the nest now. I love food and very much enjoy cooking. If I was not an engineer, I would probably be a chef (but impatient, intolerant and unsuccessful). Either that or it's dinner with friends trying out one of the many great Dubai restaurants or enjoying group cooking sessions.
9pm On the evenings I don’t go out for business networking or dinner with friends, Sharon and I quite often take a nice long evening walk and talk, and sometimes a videocall on route with the kids. It’s a great wind down for the day as well as good social exercise.
10pm I like to spend an hour or so at the very end of the day either catching up with world news, doing some CPD or just watching TV. I like a good comedy show and strongly believe in the rejuvenating power of laughter.
11pm(ish) time for bed and a good night's sleep – hopefully!!