Typical 24: Keith Poyser, Accellion

IDG Connect is looking to speak to IT, business and marketing professionals across the spectrum to discover more about their very different, typical working days…

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 Keith Poyser

  Job title: Vice President EMEA

  Company:  Accellion

  Location: Lives South East England, travels widely in Europe for role

  Years’ experience: 20



1.       What time do you reach the office each day?
8.30 am. I try to get a run or gym session in before hand, after clearing initial email on my phone when I wake up over a cup of tea. Then a woodland run, and a very pleasant rural drive to my office if not flying.


2.       Is your job varied?
Very: from HR, talent attraction, P.R, to client and partner meetings, calls with engineering and development, writing opinion pieces, large deal reviews, to jumping on a plane regularly to spend time with my teams in the field.

3.       Is your job creative?
Pleasantly so actually: I find business planning creative, as well as deal strategizing, reviewing our marketing strategy, through to our own messaging.

4.       What do you spend the majority of your time doing?
I think most Execs would say email – this is something that I try to fight and believe is highly inefficient. I try to pick up the phone instead, and limit email to fixed slots in the day. We use instant messaging a lot internally – as well as Webex meetings as a highly distributed team. My time is a mix of client focused, supporting my team, and internally focused around our business initiatives and growth priorities.

5.       Do you personalise your desk?
Yes, my office has pictures of my family, some orchids, our company awards, relevant articles, and a Bluetooth speaker for music and conference calls!

6.       Would you describe yourself as creative?
I would say a balance of creative and analytical.

7.       Do you have any quirky daily rituals?
I’m more night owl than morning lark, so early mornings and especially early morning flights mean I have a solid coffee ritual.

8.       Do you tend to work on your own or with colleagues?
I lead collaboratively and have an inclusive management style.

9.       How many hours on average do you work a day?
Too many - ask my wife and kids. The thing about EMEA is that you start 1 hour earlier than the normal UK day, and with the US HQ coming online around 3.30 pm, the day effectively starts again and goes on until late.

10.   Roughly how much time do you spend each day on email? Taking calls? In meetings?
I spend a lot of my day on the phone – whether cell or skype calls. I like the contact and if possible video call contact – rather than email. I still spend too much time on email despite being disciplined – 4 hours at least. Then instant messenger of course. I spend as much time as I can face to face – which often means flying to see my French or Dach teams, or driving for my UK team. I’m just investing in other areas of Europe as well, so more travel ahead.

11.   Do you use social media much for work?
I have a clear division. I use LinkedIn for professional activity. Facebook in my opinion is for personal use and I want that separation. I don't use twitter.

12.   What do you enjoy most about your work?
I honestly enjoy, as a bit of a geek, working with great technology, and a small agile company culture. The General Manager / V.P role is one I really enjoy as there is so much variety across the business. I’ve done very big blue chips, mid size, and this is my second pre-IPO, and I do prefer young, small and agile cultures.

13.   What type of music (if any) do you listen to at work?
I’m a big user of Spotify, and if I’m heads down working, I’ll put something on suitable for the mood.

14.   What do you do for lunch?
I have a great little deli around the corner from my office, so try to cut some time out to properly stop, go there and read the paper over something delicious for half an hour.

15.   Do you socialise with work colleagues?
When we can. It's a highly distributed team, but pretty close knit. One priority for me coming in was to rebuild a sense of one team across sales, marketing, support, technical sales, and we’ve done that. It feels good when we get together properly. I’ve also ensured we have a non forecast team call once a week, where we talk about everything else, and everyone has a slot to speak. It’s been very valuable.

16.   Are there any tasks (through your career) you’ve been especially glad to get rid of?
Some tasks go away and come back again! In my roles at Blue Chips, I’ve had a personal assistant for expenses, travel, calendar etc…and I admit this helps a lot. At pre-IPO’s we generally don't get this luxury, so such tasks come back….

17.   What is your last task of your day?
Making a ‘to do’ list summary for the next day for a fast start, but also so I can switch off.

18.   How do you like to relax after work?
Exercise and outdoors, and it depends where I am. If away and in hotels, it’s hard to switch off…my wife always checks in and tells me not to work and get some sleep! If at home, my kids always make me laugh, which is relaxing and I try to get outside if there is any daylight left.

19.   Do you keep checking email through the evening?
Doesn't everyone? The mobile working revolution means more and more email and we’re always on. I do however try to stop, have a proper conversation, sit down and eat together etc. – its not healthy for you nor your home life, and over time productivity will take a dive.

20.   Do you take work projects home with you?
Again, the always on age means we all do.

21.   What would you say to your 20-year old self?
Don’t worry, follow your passion if you can and get paid to do something you love, and take a year out now, you won’t get time later!

22.   If you could try out any job for a day, what would you choose?
Head of CERN.

23.   What device did you use to answer these questions?
My own MacBook Air. Love it.

24.   Do you use your own personal device for work?
Yes – Mac Air, iPhone 6+.