A view from the top
A view from Cheryl Giovannoni

A view from the top

I'm just past the magic 100 days into my new job, and each one still threatens to leave me either frustrated with how little I've...

My week starts with a 6.30am pick-up for my first client trip abroad. My chief creative officer briefs me on the way to work about Christmas 2014, which seems like an out-of-body experience as the remnants of summer are still present this autumn morning. The mince pies I bring, spotted in Marks & Spencer the previous day, help set the right tone and go down well.

It’s one of the calmest days I’ve had since starting – time to read the newspaper on the flight, concentrate on the ops plan I’m writing and catch up on Winning Without Losing, a book by a Danish internet entrepreneur about creating "sane, humane and sustainable" workplaces. He suggests that walking, running or cycling to meetings are far more productive. I’m not sure how well this will go down with my management team, but they are interesting ideas – especially as we prepare to create an inspiring workplace at our future South Bank home.

However, the calm doesn’t last as the week progresses, with the next day’s breakfast meeting with the global brand manager from our biggest client setting the tone for a day of briefings. Taxis feature heavily as I dash to lunch in town with a client, before heading back to HQ.

Traffic is heavy, so I’m late to update the team on the morning general business meeting (the office move to a location within walking distance of central London is looking increasingly attractive). The team are very excited about territory they’ve uncovered for an upcoming pitch, and we make preparations to brief the creative teams. Then another dash – to a parents’ welcome evening at my daughter’s school. I bump into my husband on arrival. I thought he was out of town, so it’s a pleasant surprise.

The pitch catch-ups are broken up by meetings on the ops plan presentation, aimed at refining ideas on the agreed direction for the business and reviewing our strategy to build skills. An estate agent needs attention next, telling me that we need to exchange contracts on a new property within the next two weeks, or else. The stress seeps in, but I try to remain philosophical.

Later in the week, I miss my yoga class after back-to-back meetings – all seemingly urgent and important.

Instead, I go to a drinks party in the Ogilvy bar to see promising new music artists, which is far more fun.

The end of the week dawns with a run on the common with my labradoodle, Cody. Big achievements include agreeing the agenda for the new-business summit we are planning, reviewing the progress of our creative work for an upcoming pitch, getting the last few charts in for the ops plan and starting on the presentation.

I also sign up for the Women on Boards Initiative that WPP is involved with, and agree to sit on an advisory board for a centre for social action, which makes me feel better for fitting in an altruistic activity.

I wonder whether the first 100 days have been a success, before being interrupted by the kids who want to know what we have planned for the weekend – a cheerful reminder to focus on the moment.

Cheryl Giovannoni is the chief executive of Ogilvy & Mather London

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