Our How I Work series finds out how leading figures from tech, commerce, industry, the public sector and not-for-profit groups get things done so you can be inspired, too.
Nick Rappolt is CEO of Beyond, an experience design agency that creates digital products and services for the likes of Virgin, Google and Facebook. Nick co-founded Beyond in London in 2010, and now works between its three offices in London, San Francisco and New York. He also has two kids under 5.
Nick Rappolt Fact File
- Occupation: CEO at Beyond, an experience design agency
- Location: Between London, San Francisco and New York
- One word that best describes how you work: Collaboratively
- Current mobile devices: MotoX 2014 with JellyBean, and 2x iPhone 5s (one UK and one US)
- Current computer: MacBook Air
How does Nick work smarter? We asked him to give us his top productivity tips:
Hire the perfect team
Working with a brilliant team is the biggest productivity boost of all. They’re not easy to find, but the best teams are made up of people that you’ll work hard for, and that will work hard for you. Recruit for people that complement you, and can work autonomously – this will save you time, allowing you to achieve much more.
Beyond has three offices, in New York, London and San Francisco. Because of this, it’s crucial to spend time speaking to colleagues by video, phone and even IM each day. This allows you to build your relationships, which are key to making the entire company more productive. Of course, improved communication is sometimes less about being more efficient as a business and more about interpersonal relationships – being part of a team and a family.
Keep things simple
Focus on keeping things simple in the business. As a leader, don’t try to micro-manage your company’s productivity, but instead, concentrate on a handful of simple metrics (no more than six) that allow you to understand your business and measure how it is performing. Communicate these clearly, but don’t choose metrics that are too restrictive – allow room for your team to work between them to boost creativity.
Get on Gmail
Gmail has brought huge efficiencies to our company. We collaborate on documents from office to office in real time, have regular hangouts with team members, and benefit greatly from the impressive searchable functionality in our inboxes. Google is a client of ours, and to me, their products have been the biggest time savers and best productivity tools of all.
Take time to reassess
Every week, I take time out from the office to reassess what I am doing, how I am working, and recalibrate. It really frees up my mind to think about the business as a whole, reassess the decisions I’ve made, and plan how I want to move forward. It’s very hard to do this in the office as you always gravitate to what’s in front of you, so I prefer to block out time to spend outside.
Don’t be afraid to change your mind
Make firm decisions, but don’t be afraid to be wrong and change your mind. It’s not a sign of weakness in a rapidly changing world – it just means you’re considering the evolving situation as well as your team.