CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Philip Shelper, CEO & Founder of Loyalty & Reward Co

Philip Shelper is the CEO & Founder of Loyalty & Reward Co, loyalty management consultants specialising in loyalty program design and blockchain loyalty.

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

I’m CEO of Loyalty & Reward Co, Australia’s leading loyalty consulting agency. We design (and redesign) loyalty programs for major brands globally. We’ve consulted to over 50 brands since the company was launched seven years ago.

Prior to Loyalty & Reward Co, I conducted program design for Qantas Frequent Flyer.

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

My kids wake me at 6am. I shower, drink a smoothie, then head into the office. I’m at my desk by 7:30am. I work until 5:30pm with a 20 min lunch break.

During the day I design, debate concepts with my team, meet with clients, write books and blog articles, and conduct lots of research on loyalty platforms, psychology, programs, trends, rewards and fraud risks.

I work evenings and weekends sometimes also, but only if it doesn’t interfere with family life.

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

The recent pandemic quarantine forced the whole team to work from home, and it ran quite efficiently, although I found home schooling my kids to be quite a challenge.

I’m generally not a fan of working from home. I like the structure and focus that comes from being in an office environment. I also like to have my team together to collaborate, discuss and debate, and whiteboard concepts.

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

I saw a great cartoon the other day; a dad duck and a kid duck were standing in a bathroom. The dad duck said, ‘I used to be cool and do cool things. Now I teach a smaller version of myself how to use the toilet’.

That’s pretty much my life. If I’m not working, I’m playing with my kids and trying my best to develop them into more awesome versions of themselves.

I wouldn’t see myself as a shining example of work-life balance. I have to try very hard to focus on the life part because I enjoy my work a lot and tend to gravitate to it when I get spare time.

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5) What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?

I have a strong work habit. I can concentrate on a single piece of work for 10 hours straight, which allows me to be highly productive. My observation of many people is they are distracted, making it hard for them to remain focused and consistently productive.

I’m lucky in that I don’t have an addictive personality. I don’t drink much, and I don’t smoke, gamble, take drugs or over eat. All of that can just be another form of distraction.

I was into punk as a kid, and that has instilled in me a strong desire for differentiation and pushing boundaries. I spend a lot of time thinking about how our client’s loyalty programs can be structured in ways which give them a strategic advantage by using approaches which haven’t been tried before in their industry.

I love writing blog articles as a form of expression. It provides me with an opportunity to weave in everything I know about loyalty programs, psychology, technology, common sense, trends and rewards in a way which readers can relate to. I generally write two articles a month.

I’ve developed a natural suspicion of writer interpretation. If I read an article which refers to a research paper or experiment, I find the original research paper and read it myself. Sometimes interpretations are made incorrectly, which are then picked up and repeated by other writers, amplifying the error.

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

My favourite thing to read is consumer psychology studies which relate specifically to loyalty programs. Try:

  • Nunes, J. & Drèze, X., “The Endowed Progress Effect: How Artificial Advancement increases Effort”, Journal of Consumer Research, 2006, Vol 32, Issue 4, page 504-512.
  • Bhattacharya, C.B. and Sen, S., “Consumer-Company Identification: A Framework for Understanding Consumers’ Relationships with Companies”, 2003, Vol 67, page 76-88.
  • Kivetz, R., Urminsky, O., & Zheng, Y., “The Goal-Gradient Hypothesis Resurrected: Purchase Acceleration, Illusionary Goal Progress, and Customer Retention”, Journal of Marketing Research, 2006, Vol 43, page 39-58.

7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

I make a list and prioritise. This gets everything out of my head and onto paper. It also helps me keep track of my progress through the day, and helps me delegate ownership of work to my staff. I’ve very task-orientated.

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

Elon Musk. He has no work-life balance at all. I think it would really challenge him.

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

I’m a terrible example of work-life balance. I recommend using others as a role model.

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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.