Boss It Like...

How To Boss It Like… Tracy De Groose, UK CEO of Dentsu Aegis

By Oliver Smith 11 August 2016

These leaders are changing our world for the better. We find out how they get the job done.

There are a handful of business leaders and industry figures in Britain who are changing the world. From Anil Stocker to Gadi Amit and Jeff Lynn, these smart people seem to get an incredible amount done, in an impossibly short space of time.

This morning we’re talking to Tracy De Groose, the boss of Dentsu Aegis UK, who is undoubtedly a productivity guru.

A lifelong marketing guru, De Groose has risen up the ranks having spent time as CEO of Dentsu agency Carat UK, managing director of Naked Communications and communications director at Starcom.

Most recently she helped establish Fortysix, an innovative new creative agency staffed by and focused on marketing to millennials.

A busy woman, with big ideas, The Memo asked De Groose how she gets it all done.

What time do you get up, and what part of your morning routine sets you up for the day?

During the week I am usually awake for 6.30am. Exercise generally helps with energy levels, so a swim, dog walk or yoga at the start of the day works for me.

Before I leave the house though, I have two boys who give the best cuddles; it’s a prerequisite and seeing them before I head to the office or an external meeting really sets me up for the day.

Read more: Fantastic Fortysix – Dentsu discards its educated white male past

As I walk out the door it’s app time and that is usually Citymapper or Bus Times to see which will get me to Brixton tube station quicker.

When I’m in the office, and wherever possible, I keep my first hour free for anything of importance I need to review.

What apps do you use to be more productive?

Apps like Wunderlist make tasks easier. My husband and I used it whilst renovating our house – we could see who’d done what and it meant we didn’t have to moan at each other.

And Lewie [Allen], our resident digital native and fortysix MD, is trying to get me into using Trello to help manage workflow.

The most productive thing for me right now though is Greg McKeown’s book, Essentialism. I love his philosophy on how to do less in order to focus on the things that really matter better.

I’m not a fan of email as most people in my team will vouch for. It has a huge impact on productivity – I try to minimise email to get more done. I do think it’s a terrible way for us to do business and I’m hoping it will disappear soon!

What smartphone do you have?

An iPhone 6 Plus, Space Grey with 64GB of memory. I love the larger screen – I spend a lot of time away from my laptop so it is very much like my office in my pocket.

How many people, outside of family, do you meet in a day?

Our industry is all about people and, for me, the best way to interact with people is face-to-face.

On a quiet day in the office it will be at least a dozen [people] through meetings. If I’m speaking at or attending an event, or meeting industry and business leaders, it could be in the 100’s!

What book have you read, either recently or in the past, that has inspired you?

Greg McKeown’s Essentialism is helping me to focus on the things that really matter at the moment.

One of those things is making the time to read for pleasure – the book in my bag right now is Kazuo Ishiguro’s Buried Giant.

It’s a mythical story about memory, love and living in harmony; filled with fantasy ideas and creatures, but touches on very human and very real concerns. It goes to a few strange places.

But, overall I have found it a magical, haunting, thought provoking book and a beautiful escape from modern day living.

When do you work until? Are you still sending emails in the night? Or do you have a wind down routine?

Sometimes I’ll have client and industry engagements which I need to be present at, but when I’m not – especially after one of those 100-people days –  I try to keep it to sensible hours in the evening and keep weekends free.

It is precious time to focus on the family.

During this time, I also try to avoid (you guessed it) email if I can help it.

Come back next Thursday for our next #BossItLike interview, and get in touch if you know a leader who’s also a productivity guru for us to talk to.