Human Resources

Typical 24: John McCallion, GroundScope

07-12-2015-john-mccallion-groundscope  Name: John McCallion

  Job title: Managing Director

  Company: GroundScope

  Location Staines upon Thames – UK

  Years’ experience: 30



1.    What time do you reach the office each day? 
I’m an early morning riser, so arrive at work for 7.30 am


2.    Is your job varied?
Hugely varied, which is the thing I love most about my role. In a day I could have meetings on strategy with my fellow directors, budget planning meetings, client or prospect meetings or new product development meetings. There’s more than enough every day to definitely keep me on my toes!  


3.    Is your job creative?
It can be, as it’s all about striking a balance between business planning and creativity. Coming from a marketing background, I like to get involved in the creative areas of the business; we’re always looking for new and exciting solutions to enhance our technology and service to our clients.


4.    What do you spend the majority of your time doing?
I spend a lot of my time planning the future direction of the business, ensuring that we’re constantly improving and looking ahead for new trends and opportunities. This usually involves a lot of meetings with my management team, our clients, and our travel business partners, which include both large technology companies and our global service partners. As CEO of a global business, these meetings are often held as WebEx or conference calls with clients and partners in Europe, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the US. 


5.    Do you personalise your desk?
No, I don’t have a fixed desk as we’ve adopted the hot-desking approach. I bring along my laptop, meaning my desk is wherever I am at the time.


6.    Would you describe yourself as creative?
I would, yes. We have a Directors’ meeting every Monday where I like to review new creative ideas with the team, which I’m sure drives them crazy! However I believe it’s important to try to continually improve the business through creativity. I like to ensure that everyone feels they have the opportunity to be as creative as possible, as without new ideas we can't challenge ourselves as a business.


7.    Do you have any quirky daily rituals?
Yes, I have a favourite breakfast cereal bowl I like to use every day which somehow brings me luck – my family also find this quirky!


8.    Do you tend to work on your own or with colleagues?
While there are definite aspects of the job which requires working on my own, such as planning or getting through emails – I must admit, I much rather work alongside colleagues on joint projects. Not only is it a lot more interesting to get other people’s input, but it also makes the job more fun and exciting!


9.    How many hours on average do you work a day?
As we’re a global business I tend to do 10 hours, have a short break and then it’s back online to respond to emails for an hour or so every day.

10.  Roughly how much time do you spend each day on email? Taking calls? In meetings?
I would say around five hours a day on emails, two or three hours on calls and three hours in meetings. 


11.  Do you use social media much for work?
LinkedIn is our most active social channel.


12.  What do you enjoy most about your work?
I like working with bright talented people across our business. It is the people who make work interesting and exciting. I like empowering people, and get great satisfaction in planning and building the business and seeing it grow. It’s very rewarding when the ideas and hard work come together on a new project, and we get great customer feedback on our service. The variety in my role where I get to be out and about meeting customers and partners is also one of the most enjoyable aspects.  


13.  What type of music (if any) do you listen to at work?
I love music, but it’s got to be in the car not and not at work, as I get easily distracted!


14.  What do you do for lunch?
I like to get a break from my desk and email, and usually get a sandwich and take a walk into town.


15.  Do you socialise with work colleagues?
We have a very friendly and open culture in our business - but we’re all very busy and work long hours. Therefore if there’s a chance to get out of the office on time, I do encourage my colleagues to go home, take the time to meet up with friends and families and recharge. It’s great to get that change in environment at the end of a long day as we spend so much time together during the work week! 


16.  Are there any tasks (through your career) you’ve been especially glad to get rid of?
We all loathe different aspects of our jobs, whatever role we have in the company – my  personal method is to do the things you dislike the most straight away, don’t let them fester and grow, and then you can focus on the things you enjoy the most in your job.


17.  What is your last task of your day?
Making sure I have all that I need for my calls and meetings the following day and reviewing my to-do list. I am a big to do list person, and like to write the next day’s list the night before.


18.  How do you like to relax after work?
I relax with good food and company and a good film, but when I have the time I enjoy playing a variety of sports whether it’s cycling, the gym or country walks. I’m also a big fan of skiing and playing golf. 


19.  Do you keep checking email through the evening?
Yes, I am addicted to my iPhone but I find it less stressful if I keep on top of emails rather than let them build up


20.  Do you take work projects home with you?
Yes, I find the office is great for meetings and calls but sometimes you need a quiet reflective space to plan or write a report, and that is better done at home.


21.  What would you say to your 20-year old self?
Aim for the stars with your career or business ambitions, be focused and don’t be put off by other people’s views. Work hard to get the work life balance right and enjoy the journey.


22.  If you could try out any job for a day, what would you choose?
I would love to be a QC for a day and handle a case in the High Court, arguing my case and cross examine the witnesses. Other than this, I would love to play extraordinarily well in a professional golf tournament!


23.  What device did you use to answer these questions?
I used a Microsoft Surface Pro


24.  Do you use your own personal device for work?
No, I have a work and home laptop.


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