In this episode of the Managing Uncertainty Podcast, Bryghtpath Principal & Chief Executive Bryan Strawser discusses a typical week at Bryghtpath. Bryan provides a detailed look into his day-to-day and how he leads our team at Bryghtpath by delivering value to our clients every single day.
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- Product: Resiliency Diagnosis
Hello and Welcome to the Managing Uncertainty Podcast. This is Bryan Strawser, Principal and Chief Executive here at Bryghtpath. In this week’s episode of our podcast, I’m going to describe to you a typical week here at Bryghtpath. I’m often asked, “It must be really cool running your own company. I mean, you can do whatever you want and set your own agenda and do all of those things as you wish.” And my answer always is, “Yes, there is some freedom here that I didn’t have when I worked for an organization. And I do get to set the strategy with my team and set the focus that we’re following. At the same time, it’s not that radically different from what I did day-to-day when I worked full-time for a Fortune 30 organization. I still have meetings and administrative responsibilities and things like that.”
But let’s talk through the week. It’s definitely, probably different than what we might have had before. And I’ve just randomly chosen a week from the past month to walk-through. What does this really look like for me? So I’ll start with Monday. I work Monday through Friday from a workday, although I do do some work on the weekends which I’ll talk about here briefly, but I’m looking at a Monday morning from two weeks ago. And the way I approach Mondays is, I generally block from eight to noon every day for what I think of as strategy administration and writing time. And I do do one meeting during this time, but what I generally do for these four hours is I work on the administrative stuff I have to do here at Bryghtpath and I write. I work on content that is relevant to our website or our business. This particular Monday that I’m looking at, I spent most of this morning writing out a new product description for our resiliency diagnosis product.
So I wrote and revised the sales sheet and the web page that will go along with this product offering. And then I sent them off to our graphic designer and that was the second full day. Second half day rather that I had spent working on this particular four or five pages of content. I started that morning though at 7:00 AM in my home office with a cup of coffee, having had breakfast and done the normal morning thing. And I did my weekly review, meaning I use Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner system, and I filled out what the previous week had looked like and what my big goals were for this coming week. And I found that the Full Focus Planner is something that just keeps me on track for what I need to get done and what I have going on.
And then following that, before I came to the office, I had a brief call with one of my colleagues at King’s College in London. I am finishing my master’s degree there in International relations. And I serve as the editor-in-chief of the department’s journal and blog. And I had a call with my managing editor for the journal who manages that publication as a part of our team. He is based in Istanbul and we had a call that morning about the upcoming issue and just the publication as a whole. And then I came to the office for that strategy admin and writing time that I talked about. At 9:30 that morning, I had my weekly one-on-one with my, Executive Assistant Anisha. Anisha is based in Paterson, New Jersey, and obviously works remotely. We use her through a service called BELAY, and Anisha and I walked-through our typical weekly discussion which revolves around projects that she’s working on, my calendar for the next two weeks and any adjustments we need to make and other work or demands on my time that Anisha is managing for us.
So always a good way to start my week. Later that morning around lunchtime, I had a call with a prospective client, a marketing firm that needs some help from a business continuity and crisis management standpoint. So we had a good 30 minute discussion to understand their needs and see if there was a good fit. They were just doing some initial discovery. So it was a relatively short call. It didn’t result in a sales proposal or anything like that. From there, I went into an hour-long meeting with one of our clients, with their new chief operating officer, where we did an overview of the work that we’ve done for them over the past 18 months, we’ve been building out their business continuity and crisis management program. He’s new to the organization, so we spent that hour reviewing where they’ve been, what we’ve done, some of the challenges ahead and what the next few months look like with them.
And then from there, I went to our weekly staff meeting for Bryghtpath and we follow the entrepreneurial operating system or EOS Model here at Bryghtpath. So we had what you would think of, if you know that system, this is the level 10 meeting, so we went through a review of metrics, a look at our Quarterly Ranks, headlines from each individual, brief updates from each part of the organization. And then we dived into a couple of issues that we had slated for resolution. So these are obstacles we see in the path of our success. In this particular case, we were discussing some places where we’re inconsistent in some of our execution and really dove into how do we fix that? And we left with some action items to take away for that. I then had an hour of time to do other work that I needed to do, so mostly on Mondays I focus on administrative work and then it was off to take the kids back and forth to their dance practice.
And that was Monday. Tuesdays, have a theme. Tuesdays I focus on one-on-one meetings with my direct reports. So I have four direct reports other than Anisha. So we spend… That Tuesday, I spend an hour with each of them, we follow a pretty straightforward agenda. So a lot of it has… It has less to do… One-on-ones for me, have much less to do with, what is the status for the work that they’re working on? And more about how I can help them. What are we working on together from a developmental standpoint? How is the company doing? And what’s their role within that? Otherwise, those discussions are really about what’s on their mind where I can help them. What problems do we need to talk through? What are the next couple of weeks look like for us in terms of working together?
I also on this day had a couple of client meetings. One where we were in an organization for the first time doing some work and this was our first meeting with their information technology team about how business continuity and IT, availability DR infrastructure would work together. So we had that conversation and then we went into a software, business continuity software implementation, kick-off meeting with our vendor and one of our clients. And then lastly in the day, I had… I’m a chairman of a nonprofit board and I had a call with a potential contractor who would take on managing some fundraising meetings and banquets. And so we had a brief call to talk about their capabilities and what the board was looking for and had a good productive conversation. And that was really my Tuesday. A lot of one-on-one meetings, a couple of client meetings that were in there as well.
On Wednesdays, I have a weekly leadership meeting with the nonprofit where I’m board chair. So this is again an EOS level 10 meeting with the leadership team. So we keep those to 30 or 45 minutes. And then I had one-on-ones with two of the individuals at that nonprofit who are reporting to me for the time being. That organization doesn’t currently have a leader. So, I’ve temporarily stepped in to assist them working through this leadership transition. From there, I had the rest of the day free. So I spent a good solid six hours without any disruption. And I really used this to dive into some client work that was on my plate to work through. I don’t do a lot of hands on client work. This was mostly around helping divide some strategy and communicate some goals and strategies to senior executives. So I spent a lot of time working through that and then talking with my team to work through some of those issues. And that was my Wednesday. Highly productive day because I didn’t have a lot of meetings and I could really dive into the work at hand.
Then we come to Thursday, and Thursday was very much an on camera day for me. We started the day with a big step and that was, we rolled out crisis management training for a crisis management team at one of our clients, a large specialty retailer. So we had about 40 folks on a training call where one of my employees and I presented a training on how they would manage a crisis inside of their organization, and what the road ahead would look like in terms of building out more specific crisis plans, scenario basis, and then really helping them get their feet under them, before we get to an exercise, a crisis exercise in about a month and a half with them. Really good productive conversation, great company, really well received. I had a little bit of a break and then we headed into a pretty important meeting we do at Bryghtpath every week.
And that’s our weekly consulting standup. It is a super short meeting, 15 to 20 minutes, but what we’re doing is we’re taking a quick look at, where do we stand with all of our current client work? And so the member of my team that owns the engagement with a client, so think of them as the project or program manager, takes us through in a specific format, where we’re at with the work and what we’re about to communicate to the clients that on Thursdays about our progress and what our status agenda for the week would look like. We meet with our clients. One client on Thursday afternoon, and the others on Friday morning for status, weekly status engagement calls. So we send those agendas out on Thursday morning, along with any attachments or pre-read material. So this is that gut check before we do that.
Following that, I had a little bit of a break of about 90 minutes where I could focus on some client work and grab some lunch. And then I moved into a meeting with one of our freelance writers who write some content and article for our website and in a 30 minute discussion with herself and my communications team, we were able to talk through the content for two articles that she is working on for us that will be published in March. So about a month, they were slated for a couple weeks to a month after this conversation. And so in 30 minutes, we’re able to really get through in an interview discussion, the kind of inputs that she needs to craft a really effective article. So we spent a good 30, 45 minutes on that. Then I moved into a meeting to talk about volunteer strategy for the nonprofit that I’m board chair of and just… It was a good brainstorming discussion with two staff members there to outline what we needed to do and how they were going to take care of that.
My role here was to facilitate the meeting and take some notes. Then I moved into a weekly engagement call with one of our clients where we worked through, where we were at in the engagement and followed-up on where we were blocked and needed them to do some things and reviewed some draft and Iterable deliverables that we were working on. And then I wrapped up the day with one of my new employee with a brief onboarding call to talk about where she stood on her onboarding process and answer any questions that have come up during the week. With new employees, I do these onboarding statuses once a week outside of them one-on-one conversations so that we have some specific time set aside to talk about how their onboarding’s going, answering questions that they have, making sure that they’re headed in the right direction.
And that takes us to Friday. And Fridays are almost always about client status calls. We had four on this particular Friday, ranging from 30 to 60 minutes in the length. Again, we send the agendas out that on Thursday morning after that brief standup call, but we worked through our client engagement status calls and these are always the same. It’s here’s the status on the current work, here are some deliverables we’d like to review or get your input on that we share the day before. Here are some areas where we might be blocked on some things. So we try to make it a good productive conversation. Of course, these are all a little different. It depends on the work that we’re doing and what stage we’re at with the clients. Sometimes these can be a little more about discovery when we’re still learning about a new organization.
And some times it’s a pretty efficient walk-through of where things are at and here’s what’s coming in the week or two ahead. In the afternoon, I had another onboarding call with a newer employee to check-in on how they were doing and how that was coming across, coming along. And then I had two or three hours to wrap up the week, wrap up any loose ends and administrative work, make sure that my to-do list was set for the coming week. And then to make sure I had wrapped up my weekly routines. One of the things we do at Bryghtpath every Friday, is what we call the weekly pulse check-in. It’s a quick check-in on… You rate your week about how you’re feeling from one to five and you write a little bit about the wins for the week and then where you might need help or where things didn’t go as great.
And we rank those from one to five, but that team metric, the average across the team is one of the metrics we look at and talk about every week to make sure that the team both… We want the team to feel good about the work they’re doing and their culture and the environment that they’re in, but it’s also a chance for us to identify opportunities. Sometimes those opportunities are things that we could do better. Sometimes it’s an opportunity where a client maybe hasn’t been the most positive and we need to apply some attention or give them some feedback. And sometimes, we just have a rough week. Sometimes there’s a lot to do, and it doesn’t feel like we’re always making the progress that we might all put pressure on ourselves about accomplishing as we do that.
But the pulse is… The weekly pulse is a really important routine that we have. And then, by my own personal choice, Saturday mornings are often a time when I do some work because I have a large uninterrupted block of time, from about eight o’clock to about 11:00 AM before I have to start taking the kids to Saturday dance and running other errands. And so, Saturday mornings are a good chance for me to write and work on content and marketing efforts, draft podcast episodes, and do some of those things.
So I do that by choice. It’s not something I expect of the team, but it’s a good productive time for me personally, and I really look forward to taking that time to advance some efforts. So that’s a typical week at Bryghtpath for me. I think it’s going to be somewhere to what you would hear from our team as they talk about their week as well. I hope you found that insightful and gave you some better perspective about what it’s like managing your own business. That’s it for this edition of the Managing Uncertainty Podcast, I’ll be back next week with another new episode. Be well.