We caught up with Blueleaf CEO and Founder Adrian Lomas about what he gets up to in a typical day. I know what you’re thinking, haven’t we heard this before? And you’re right, back in 2014 we asked Adrian about what it’s like to walk in his shoes for a day, but so much has changed since then that we’ve decided to revisit. So here goes, a day in the life of Adrian Lomas take 2.
Over to Adrian…
Wow how things change. Of course lots of things stay the same too. Blueleaf has the same values, our passion for inspiring great retail is the same (in fact it’s stronger than ever) and our HQ is still in Cheshire. However, a significant change is how we’ve expanded the team.
Finding the right talent in the local area has been quite a challenge for us. Over the last year, we’ve been looking for niche roles and more senior positions. Unfortunately, taking on juniors and training them up hasn’t been an option. It's shame, as I love that approach but right now we can’t operate that way, we need people who are already very experienced. So what we’ve done is build a team in Sofia, Bulgaria.
I'll be honest, I never expected to grow a team away from our fine shores, but the challenge of finding high-quality talent locally has meant we’ve had to think differently, and I'm pleased to say, we’ve discovered many benefits of doing so. Sofia has several universities, training high-quality tech guys, it’s become a real tech city. So we now have our own team over in Sofia, it's not an outsourced office but a full Blueleaf team. They engage with our Cheshire HQ daily and the guys really live and love our company values.
So, why am I mentioning this in my day in the life article?
Well, because this all means that my day is never 'typical'. I'm across multiple offices in the UK and in Sofia so writing up my typical day is actually quite tricky. But I do like to keep some structure to my Mondays, so let’s start there.
09:00: Monday morning, myself or Rob (Smith, Blueleaf’s MD) lead the Monday Morning Meeting which involves the whole team (including Sofia on Google Hangouts of course). This is where we can share personal team news such as birthday, weekend news and sporting achievements. We also share the company's figures once a month, something we've always been very open about.
09:30: Straight afterwards, I head into a meeting with the team leaders to check we’re set up for the week ahead. They represent their teams so it's a chance to address any potential issues that could rear their head throughout the week. This meeting is always one hour and we discuss what we're facing that week. But we never cut it short and it's crucial to make the week successful.
11:30: After team leaders, it’s straight into a marketing update with Kate, where I'll no doubt get told about data. Typical marketer, Kate loves data.
12:00: Followed by “drop in“, where any of the team can...you guessed it, drop in! It’s their chance to discuss anything that’s on their mind.
14:00: Monday afternoons is generally when I have my non London-based meetings. It's a luxury day in that it's the one day of the week when I know where I am.
So that’s Monday, after that I’m afraid the week gets a little less structured for example, I’m writing this on the plane as I travel back from Sofia!
So what's changed?
I guess a major change from when I last wrote a day in my life, is that my role’s changed in title to better reflect my focus. I’ve moved from a Managing Director title to CEO. Really, this doesn’t impact what I do, just describes it better. I don’t get involved in the nitty gritty of projects - we have people that are way better at doing that than me :-)
In broad terms I spend 50% of my time working with the internal team - checking they’re happy, fulfilled and helping them overcome obstacles, not from a project perspective but from a happiness at work perspective. So I'm sometimes based out of our office in Sofia. Despite us being one team, it is a different culture out there, that’s for sure and no matter how many hangouts or calls we have it doesn’t replace the benefit of actually working with the team directly. You get to see what they go through, the challenges with communications and therefore get chance to improve things. Plus, they’re great guys and I enjoy spending time with them.
The other 50% of my time is spent with external partners, potential new recruits and talking to retailers about their issues and potential opportunities. In my previous day in the life, I talked a lot about the Blueleaf events we run or attend and to be fair, we still run events and they’re still an important part of who we are.
We run our DigiBix event which is strictly for retailers only and that just keeps growing. We also have our Digital Garden Party in Chester - this event is for anyone who’s curious about online and it’s a great event for connecting people, which is a passion of mine.
We’ve also started running partner dinners – which sound more formal than they are. It’s simply dinner with like-minded people, generally big ecommece brains. We have a spectrum of interesting people who are working in the retail space who attend, from Demandware (or Salesforce Commerce Cloud as they're now known) to PPC Companies and Industry gurus. Basically, people who share our mission to "Inspire Great Retail".
So as you can see, no two days are the same, but that makes life more fun… right?