In honour of Fathers Day we did a quick fire interview featuring:

  • Alex Brown – Father, CEO, Tessiant Senior Industry Advisor, Ex Morrisons, Tesco & Asda.
  • Stuart Smith – Father, Ex COO Tesco & Morrisons, Tessiant Managing Partner & Senior Industry Advisor.

What’s it like being a working father with this modern day / current climate?

Alex Brown – The last couple of years have definitely been very different than anything I had experienced before. I got to spend alot of time with my wife and kids through lockdown. As the restrictions have eased and the new hybrid way of working has developed it has allowed me to be at home more and be more involved in day to day life.

Stuart Smith – The last few years have meant significant review of ways of completing the necessary work, which has meant employers and employees have had to find alternative solutions. With those changes there is more ability to have a flexible approach for both parties which has meant more remote working, cutting down on time travelling and better timings to meet virtually resulting in more family time which I have been able to use more thoughtfully.

What’s your top tip for keeping the balance between delivering high value to clients and your team, whilst spending time with your children, keeping the family happy and the house in line?

Alex Brown – For me it is all about being organised. I work with clients in the UK and across numerous time zones so my diary has to be flexible. The flip side of that flexible working is that I get to spend time with my kids on a daily basis even if it is just a quick dinner or dog walk.

Stuart Smith – My top tips would be flexibility in your approach, whilst being clear on the goals and outcomes. Good people and teams will take ownership and make it work for clients and keep a balance for themselves. Organisation is another, organising your business and family time by scheduling in both helps with finding the right balance.

What’s the biggest challenge you have faced balancing a professional career with parenting?

Alex Brown – The most difficult time for me was working in a long hours environment. Leaving before they got up for school and coming back late in the evening, meant I didn’t spend enough time with the kids during the week. I think businesses going forward need to be more thoughtful on how much time they ‘require’ people to be present in the office. I think the best employers in the future will allow a sensible level of flexibility to ensure their teams can balance properly. In my experience the output of people who have a balanced approach is much higher.

Stuart Smith – If I look back there have been times when my work / family balance has been compromised. Some down to the demands of the business, some down to my approach. As time has progressed I have become more aware of that compromise and more adept at priorities and balance. Moving and working at points abroad / relocating back was probably the most challenging and both the company support and prioritising a stable environment meant the best outcomes for both the business I was leading, and the family happiness and security.