Welcome to The 6 a.m. CFO, where finance chiefs share how they jump-start their days and engage with the tasks that are in front of them.
Today, CFO Centre’s Benjamin Joseph shares his advice on his passion for the true peaks in life, his favorite music to work to, and his connection to infinity.
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Weekday wake-up time: 6 a.m.
Coffee, tea, or other morning beverage choice? Coffee. Black. No sugar.
Workday start time: 7:30 a.m.
Time I send out my first email: Usually 7:30 a.m., but there are days when I start at 6:30 a.m. as well.
How I usually spend the first hour of my day: Get through all emails.
I have different teams working in India, and they send a ton of emails while I am asleep. So, I respond to all those emails first thing in the morning.
Best advice for writing an effective email: I always try a persuasive and action-oriented writing style.
For example, instead of writing, “Can you please complete this task and let me know?” I write, “Please complete this task and notify me right away.”
The former leaves the power to act in the hands of the subject; but the latter, in yours.
The first dashboard I review: My calendar and the reminders App page on my phone.
How I structure my morning meetings: Usually on Mondays, I have my weekly meetings starting at 9 a.m. and work through all prior action items and discuss what needs to get done through the week.
Mid-morning snack of choice: A mandarin and some nuts.
Favorite leadership lesson: Inspire. Be humble. Be Transparent.
Favorite quote or mantra: Think big. If that doesn’t work, think BIGGER!
Something important to know about me that you wouldn’t know from my business bio: I speak 7 languages.
Also, I am an avid trekker. I have trekked up Kilimanjaro and Machu Picchu.
Next up? Everest Base Camp!
What was the last job you did at your company that fell outside your traditional scope of work? I had to drive around like a courier guy to different parts of Metro Vancouver getting signatures from stakeholders to meet a critical deadline with bank financing.
In normal times, it would have been documented being couriered back and forth among four to five individuals but, in the case of a technologically advanced bank, it would have been a simple DocuSign that could have avoided all that!
Can you share one way in which you have learned to manage work-induced stress? I generally compartmentalize well and do not suffer from crossed wires!
Also, I have learned over time to park problems or challenges that have no immediate solution instead of pushing unnecessarily and stressing out.
And of course, I listen to my music all the time! My preferred music is a combination of compositions and concertos by Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Chopin. It is calming when working on those deadlines and stressful projects!
Favorite number: 8. The symbol of infinity AND my birth number, and therefore, it defines me!
Most noteworthy items in my workspace: Pictures of my parents and in-laws, my ultra-wide monitors, plant, and water fountain.
Do you have a pet, and is it sitting in your office right now? Not at the moment, but I had Copper, my Rhodesian Ridgeback, up until a few years ago.
Favorite app on my phone that is not related to business: Elevate. I love to challenge myself with all kinds of puzzles, quizzes, mental math, etc.
When do you take time for learning/reading? Later in the day. I try to do 20 mins a day consistently. I prefer to read paperbacks or hardcovers vs. Kindle.