CEOs / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Nigel Watts, CEO of Future Platform

Nigel Watts is the CEO of Future Platform, a company providing services that will improve individual, team or organisational performance through people.

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

I started my working life as a sport psychologist but 35 yrs ago there was little known about it in Australia and it was clear that to get ahead I needed to do something different. 

By chance, I was asked to speak to some staff at a stock broking firm which went well and my business quickly shifted to working with corporations providing the ‘sport psych’ advice to them and it’s been 35 years of enjoyable work since. 

I have been lucky to have built wonderful, long term relationships with clients and as they have changed businesses or moved overseas, they have invited me on the journey as well and this has meant working in many diverse businesses and exciting times in many different countries. 

My work focuses on 3 things:

  1. Is the strategy clear and repeatable?
  2. Are we focused on the right metrics that teams can use to deliver the strategy?
  3. Do we have the right people in the right roles to deliver the outcomes? 

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

A typical day starts about 6.00am when I have a coffee and check emails and my calendar again to confirm priorities for the day. Then some exercise and at the desk by 8.30am. Usually, I have 2 – 3 face to face meetings with clients and 3 – 4 calls a day. 

Often the meetings are in different locations so I’m moving between offices and on the phone between each meeting. The clients range from media companies to building to industrial to finance – so there’s a lot to learn quickly and I need to retain the necessary data about each. 

As a consultant, clients expect you and sometimes forget that they aren’t the only company you’re working with – and my job is to be on top of their issues and work like they are my only client.  

I find this is similar to parenting in a positive way – each of your kids is different and needs things delivered and understood in ways they can connect with. 

My job is to retain the information, process it in ways that is right for each and engage in the right manner. The day usually finishes about 6pm when I have looked at the notes taken over the day and allocated times over the next week or so to complete the tasks from the day’s activities.

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

Yes, this recent COVID experience has taught us all that most engagements can be completed over the phone. Personally, I prefer to work face to face, especially when you’re still building the relationship or when there’s a challenge for them that requires strong focus. 

Working remotely suits me well, as it cuts down my travel and enables more time to fit in more meetings or sometimes to read articles, research for new material.

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

Work-life balance is a complex issue when you don’t have set hours and lots of different commitments. Fundamentally, it’s about remaining healthy and working in a sustainable way that enables you to feel happy with your time and effort. 

I have always enjoyed exercise and for most of my career, used training time with friends as a way to catch up yet still get some exercise done eg bike rides, paddling, meeting at the gym, etc. – of course, there’s times to just have a lunch or catch up over a dinner but that’s all part of the balance. 

I believe you have to ‘go for it’ when there’s business to be done but that must come with a ‘reward’ for yourself at some point where you take time with family and relax or do what re-energies you.

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

Not really, I’ve been working this way for many years, so it’s not a big change – more teams and on line meetings – but overall, it’s been consistent.

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

I’ve been enjoying Mark Bouris’s podcasts as he’s very clear on his views which is refreshing and asks great questions of quality people – generates a good chat.

7) Working with premium executive support service The Well-Suited Group, how has Lauren and her team helped you work towards balance in your job and life?

Lauren and The Well-Suited Group team are tremendous to work with – you have to appreciate their experience and ability to cut through work.  I have been working with them for nearly 2 yrs and have recommended them to others. 

They remove the stress of keeping up with all the details needed to support my core work’s execution e.g. confirming and following up appointments, booking  travel, receipt management, etc.

My clients range from listed companies to start ups. Lauren has the capacity to deal with everyone and make them feel important and appreciated. She has a way of getting the vibe of my engagement and replicating it with them which is great.

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

I’d be keen to speak to any ex-prime minister or president or listed CEO who’s been in the game and has had time to get out and reflect on their experiences.

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

Your balance is up to you – you have the time to prioritise it how you’d like if you have a goal. 

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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.