Balancing the Grind with Jeremy Hanger, Marketing & Business Strategy Consultant

Jeremy Hanger is a Marketing & Business Strategy Consultant, currently working with organisations on business strategy, marketing & sales strategic roadmaps, digital disruption, brand transformation & product innovation.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I have been very fortunate in my career to work with some amazing brands, teams, leaders and organisations and I’ve learnt so much. I have a passion for problem solving and consumer behaviour- I love the power of brands!

5+ years at Foster’s Group (CUB) in a variety of marketing roles with so many great memories and achievements: inventing Pure Blonde, running Australia’s most awarded consumer promotion with Australia’s largest beer brand and launching Asahi Draught, Kronenburg 1664 and many more NPDs.

Following my time at Foster’s I moved into global automotive with Ford Motor Company. In almost 7 years I learnt so much about manufacturing, navigating a global organisation, product strategy and leading national sales teams. I led the global launch of the Ford Ranger, launched the new Territory and Australia’s most fuel efficient vehicle.

Following my time at Ford I was lured into construction & property which I identified as a traditional industry that was ripe for disruption, innovation and transformation. I was able to utilise all my experience and skills to lead a number of transformational programs across different organisations.

My current role is multifaceted. I’m currently focussing on business consulting and helping transform traditional business models to be more agile, innovative and growth orientated through their systems, culture, brand & product offerings as well as their go to market (GTM) strategies.

I also lead marketing & business development for one of Australia’s most innovative prop tech start ups- HouseLab. I’m also a career mentor at RMIT and a Non- Exec Director.

I’ve worked across both Business to Business (B2B) & Business to Customer (B2C) channels in FMCG, retail, automotive, residential construction and tech businesses.

I love collaborating with like minded people, inspiring teams and solving complex brand and business challenges. I’ve been fortunate to work in some great organisations with some pretty amazing people.

2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

Early start with exercise – run, ride, swim or walk (or on an indoor bike trainer now winter is here), get the kids out of bed and ready for the day.

I prioritise my family and health before throwing myself into my work. I’m a planner so I like to write down what I need to achieve for the day and go after the hardest job first whilst I’m fresh (following a caffeine fix of course!).

I would usually scan news, emails and messages for anything urgent and then shut it all down so I get a block of time to get work done which may involve preparing for an upcoming client pitch or presentation or jumping into some more strategic and technical problems I’ve been asked to consult on.

I try to make a few calls in the morning and then a few more after lunch. I reply to most of my emails during the middle and end of the day (depending on meeting/ travel schedule).

I must admit that my mind is pretty active so I’m often scenario planning and strategizing no matter what the time of day or night it is. I have accepted this is how I’m wired and rather than try to switch off completely I ensure that I’m present for other important aspects of my life.

From a work perspective I make sure I give my full attention to one thing at a time (uni-tasking) and practise some simple techniques to stay focussed and transition between work streams to stay energised and focused.

Some days don’t play out like you plan and it’s important to acknowledge this for what it is, go with it and get back on track the next day. I like to reflect on my week’s output on Friday afternoon and write down a bit of a plan for the following week.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

My current role is extremely flexible and allows remote working, the nature of my work currently is very strategic and less operational so I’m not getting 100+ emails, sitting in back to back meetings and leading large teams.

I currently have the ability to be very flexible with when and where I work which has been a complete change to many of my corporate roles. With a young family I can help out by dropping off and picking up kids, as I can work evenings and weekends if I need to with my partner also having a demanding corporate career.

Over the last few years I’ve also tried to conduct more walking meetings and stand up team meetings. I am constantly looking for ways to be more productive as well as not overburdening teams with meetings at the expense of not having time to focus on what they need to.

COVID has forced everyone to try new ways of working and communicating that would usually have taken us years to advocate and trial.

I read recently in a McKinsey study that five years of digital adoption has occurred in a few months and over 13 million Latin Americans have recently made their first e-commerce purchase!

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Great question as work life balance in my opinion is a prickly topic and there are many schools of thought which I should clarify for context.

The more traditional view of work-life balance sees you consciously commit to one aspect at a time i.e. work stays in the office. 24 hours in a day with a third for sleep, third for work and third for everything else!

The other is that there is now a blurring of work and life thanks to the advent of smartphones, the general rise of technology and the lack of time we all have (increased expectations across the board).

Rather than balance the two, they are actually interconnected or intertwined and it’s more about cohesion rather than a dichotomy.

I subscribe to this philosophy which isn’t time driven; it’s more about synchronisation or consonance (musically speaking derived from a combination of notes which are in harmony with each other due to the relationship between their frequencies). So I try to balance consonance rather than hours!

How I do this is by creating a scorecard which incorporates all the aspects that are important to my life such as relationships with spouse, children, community, social, education, fitness as well as work.

With only so many hours in the day and a number of competing priorities and demands I try to create multipliers.

For example if I can combine charity with fitness with social through supporting a charitable bike ride then there’s 3 ticks right there!

You might only need an hour to catch up with friends to feel rejuvenated but the point is everyone is different and will rate their own scorecard differently which is perfectly fine just find your balance. This is how I achieve my consonance!

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5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

Getting back into running, adopting more discipline around my approach and consistency of mindfulness and meditation.

I’ve found that being more present provides much richer experiences and I use simple techniques (many borrowed from Brendon Burchard) to create triggers such as phone alarms, waiting in queues and walking through doorways, transitioning between tasks – might sound weird but I suggest reading High Performance Habits.

I also now have a career coach which has been great.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I try to read a book a fortnight and usually alternate between fiction and nonfiction.

I am really into history at the moment so devouring anything to do mid century European history in particular the Soviet regimes and Gulag experiences as an extension of my interest in war crimes.

I still really like Fast Company, Smart Company, HBR, AFR, Insideretail, McKinsey, Mumbrella to get my fix of industry news.

Podcasts I rate the Brendon Show (Brendon Burchard), and The Inner Chief. I really enjoyed reading The Resilience Project by Hugh van Cuylenburg which is now emanating from the classroom to the boardroom.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

I’ve got the full suite of online conferencing programs set up as most people do these days.

I find when I’m working from home I listen to to get into the zone. I love the Adobe Fill And Sign App, Insight Timer, Strava and Zwift.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Tough question. I think I’d have to say Barack Obama as I have a lot of respect for anyone who has led large teams let alone the United States. He is a moral citizen, emphatic, honest, engaging and a great family man who has a strong bond with his wife and two daughters after close to 30 years of marriage and 8 years in office I’m sure I could learn a lot from him!

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Don’t be afraid to try different things as it’s got to work for you and everyone is different with different needs, desires and situations.

Practise mindfulness and gratitude and Monash offers a great online course (via FutureLearn) mindfulness for well being and peak performance . Look after yourself and those around you and practise putting energy and focus into everything you do- be content, be grateful, be happy.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.