Michael Field is the Founding Partner of EvettField Partners, an advisory and consulting firm working with owners and leaders of mid-sized B2B organisations.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
My career commenced as an advertising executive for rural and community newspapers in W.A and progressed into digital marketing with the launch of an online business directory, designed to compete with the Yellow Pages, long before Google became a household name.
I am a founding partner of EvettField Partners which is an advisory and consulting firm working with owners and leaders of mid-sized B2B organisations.
We develop evidence-based competitive strategy to drive revenue, margin and market share, and increase enterprise value (EV) for agriculture, architecture, building and construction, engineering, manufacturing and mining clients.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I routinely wake around 5am and start the day with a freshly brewed plunger of black coffee. With mug in hand – an over-sized Star Wars mug which was a Father’s Day present – I check emails, and review LinkedIn and social media for content and network updates.
Depending on time availability and requirements, I will often draft emails and articles on the iPhone using the speech-to-text function.
Most days I leave home at around 8am and cycle to work, arriving ahead of the team to plan the day ahead. We have a daily 9am WIP to highlight big rock achievements from the previous day, commit to daily goals and request assistance.
From mid-morning to late afternoon, my day is primarily focussed on marketing, business development and sales. That includes managing and nurturing relationships with prospective clients and referral partners.
A huge part of our growth is generated by satisfied clients, qualified referrals from our network and other professional services advisors such as accountants, lawyers and management consultants.
We spend very little time in internal team meetings, so thankfully most of my time is directed to new prospective clients. The impacts of COVID-19 and the fast adoption of technology such as Zoom has meant that I can connect with more people, which means more meetings.
Most days, I aim to finish work in time to be home for dinner with my family. Although I don’t always achieve it, I keep it as a personal KPI – how many nights did I have dinner with my family this week?
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes, I have a flexible schedule, although I am responsible for the management of the Sydney team, so my physical presence at the office is still required, albeit on a flexible basis. Like most businesses, we scrambled to work-from-home in the early stages of Covid19 lockdowns and have adjusted back to a blended approach.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I have always struggled with the term ‘balance’ as it implies a precariousness that I think is unhelpful, as people spend more time worrying about ‘slipping and falling’ than on what they are currently doing.
My approach is to focus deeply and exclusively on the task at hand, and do that well, then move on to the next priority. My life priorities are simple: health, family and business, followed by social contribution.
For health, I cycle, box and aim to eat healthy food and get plenty of sleep. I don’t drink alcohol and have recently started intermittent fasting.
I am married with three children. I have an 8year old boy, 5year old girl and a 2year old girl, so there is very little time for much else to do except to ‘join their world’ as quickly as possible when I get home.
I rarely take my laptop home, so as soon as I walk through the door, I try to join in whatever they are doing, from playing LEGO to pretending to be giraffes eating greens at the dinner table. Acting like a child, with your children is terrific fun and a brilliant stress reliever.
I aim to align my business interests in support of my other life priorities. I am an advocate of the ‘givers gain’ philosophy promoted by Ivan Misner, which in principle is wherever possible, positively contribute to others with no expectation of gain.
Some people might call that ‘topping up the karma bank’ but I think of it as simply a more enjoyable and productive way to live your life.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Yes, I stopped drinking alcohol on 31 December 2019 as a personal challenge, driven by a desire to make healthier life choices. I also started 16:8 intermittent fasting in September 2020 to improve health and manage weight effectively.
With the restrictions around COVID-19, I stopped going to the gym which has been quite challenging for me, as I have been a novice boxer for the past five years, which previously kept me physically fit and mentally focussed. I have increased my cycling activity and am looking forward to being more active year next year.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I have many favourite books, all of which are business focussed:
- Selling the Dream – Guy Kawasaki
- Good Strategy Bad Strategy – Richard Rumelt
- Crossing the Chasm – Geoffrey A Moore
- Influence: Science and Practice – Dr. Robert Cialdini
- Givers Gain – Ivan Misner
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
There are too many to mention:
- I love the speech-to-text function on the iPhone for drafting emails, blogs and long form content.
- I rely on the text-to-speech function on the MacBook to review longform reports and articles. It’s a huge time saver and helps me to read a much greater volume of content, absorb context and identify errors much more effectively than spellcheck alone.
- The speed control on video and audio playback allows me to consume video and audio content much faster, increasing the amount of content that I can consume in the rare moments available to read and research.
- I couldn’t live without my Apple Watch, which was a greatly appreciated birthday gift from my team. Strava and the health- related apps are the most used, followed by Siri.
- Finally, LinkedIn is an essential business tool for anyone who wants to operate in the global business village.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I would love to hear from ABC journalist and host of 7.30 Leigh Sales, Mark Bouris from Yellow Brick Road or Shaun Bonnét from the Precision Group.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
The final word is that I believe balance is mostly elusive, and maintaining focus is probably more realistic and achievable. Just do the one thing that you are doing right now, and do it really well, then move on to the next priority. You might call this mindfulness, but I just call it effectiveness.
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