Sarah Callender, Commercial Director at Duo Global Consulting, shares what a week is like in her working life…
The Newcastle-based consultancy focuses on transforming clients’ people strategies across all areas of their business to drive real results.
Every day starts by waking up and heading downstairs for my usual two cups of coffee. I manage to grab 30 minutes with my husband before checking my emails and catching up on the news. For me, my time is my most precious commodity, so I take the opportunity for some CDP whilst I’m getting ready. I’ve recently become an avid listener of audiobooks and I’m really enjoying The Fear Bubble by Ant Middleton at the moment so I popped it on during my morning routine. It links nicely to what we’re currently researching – the impact of fear in leadership and management – so I’m gathering lots of perspectives on the subject.
Typically, work starts with a bang on Monday. I head into Newcastle to meet Laura Weaving, our managing director, and we make our way over to a client’s head office to deliver one of our signature Behavioural Training sessions with the senior management team.
Following the session, I make my way into the office, grab lunch and catch up with the team on some client account management and any emails.
I leave at 5:30pm and make my way over to the gym to be put through my paces by my husband who’s a personal trainer – this is something Laura and I do three times a week, where work permits.
Again, my morning starts with two trusty cups of coffee before I head straight into town to visit one of our long-standing clients for two executive coaching sessions, one with the owner of the business followed by a session with the commercial director.
I nip into the office after my morning 1-2-1’s to have a catch-up meeting with Laura about our strategic objectives and priorities for the next quarter. This is an exciting time for Duo as we’re embarking on the next iteration of our Behavioural Map product which profiles individuals, teams and business profiles. A big priority next year is the development of our behavioural survey, as we already have the demand for the new features we’re building.
The whole office gathers around for the weekly team meeting to share and measure KPI’s against a scorecard before sharing our biggest win and challenge, an example of how we have lived our values in the previous week and three priorities for the upcoming week. We finish the day off with some final planning and preparation for our London trip tomorrow and then head to the gym.
For our trip to London this morning, I meet Laura in the usual spot in Newcastle Central train station, grab a coffee and settle in for the 3-hour train journey. I dedicate the time to discuss current projects with Laura and some new opportunities we are currently planning for, a really productive trip down!
We arrived at Kings Cross on time and jump into a taxi to our client’s headquarters, not far from London Tower. We grab a salad and protein bar and arrive with 30 minutes to spare. This afternoon’s session is a quarterly review with the directors of the business. We cover off a review of last quarter’s results, the training we’ve delivered and the impact of their inhouse ‘Culture Club’, an initiative we’ve been helping them implement to drive the culture and embed the values across the business. We then set the next quarter’s priorities and facilitate discussion around some recruitment challenges they are experiencing.
Laura and I then jump into a taxi to our hotel. Our usual hotel was fully booked so we head to a new one, where we were offered a complimentary drink on arrival. I head up to my room as we still have a conference call with one of our American clients. Due to the time difference, it can mean we have to jump on calls at the end of our typical working day. Laura and I make the executive decision to treat ourselves to room service and by this point, an early night sounds very appealing.
Up and out early, we grab a Pret coffee and breakfast on the way to our client’s office. I make a call in the taxi to my husband to check-in and then touch base with the team back in Newcastle. I’m back with the same client as yesterday but this time it’s delivering the last session of a 12-month Leadership Programme to a group of their managers. In today’s session, the focus is on Elevating Performance.
I check my emails over a quick lunch at their rooftop restaurant, which is making me feel pretty lucky as this place has the most amazing views of London. We take a quick photo for Instagram and then head back down to a different room to deliver a quarterly training session to the wider business. This is a shorter session and is all about
Essentialism and Driving Energy and Productivity. These are always really interactive sessions, something Laura and I love to deliver, as it requires everyone to get involved. Once we’re finished, we make a mad dash back to the station to catch our train. I catch up on my emails and finish off some work on the journey home as it’s been a really busy week on delivery. I arrive home around 7.30pm, unpack and get settled for some downtime.
I get to the office bright and early, excited to catch up with the team and find out what’s been going on since I’ve been away. I love a full office day when I can dress down and spend some quality time with the team. Kisstory is playing on the Alexa and everyone has that Friday feeling, so we know today is going to be a good day. I have 1-2-1 catch-ups with everyone so I can cross-check that everything is planned for the following week.
Just after lunch, I prepare for a Scaleup Advisory board meeting, along with preparing for our own board meeting, so I get my head down. Laura and I spend some time going over our finances, business development targets and marketing plans. I must admit I love Friday afternoon catch ups, so everything is set up for the next week.
It’s that time of day where everyone could do with a little pick-me-up, so I head over to the café for a coffee and cake run. There’s nothing better than a coffee and a slice of banana bread on a Friday afternoon. I have a quick look over my calendar to make sure everything is scheduled for the week ahead and by this point it’s time to pack up and kickstart the weekend.