Boss it like

How To Boss It Like… George Brasher, Managing Director of HP UK & Ireland

By Oliver Smith 20 October 2016
George Brasher, Managing Director of HP in the UK and Ireland.

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 Annette King to Federico Bolza and Tracy De Groose, these smart people seem to get an incredible amount done, in an impossibly short space of time.

This morning we’re talking to George Brasher, the Managing Director of computer giant HP in the UK and Ireland, who is undoubtedly a productivity guru.

Last year when Hewlett-Packard announced plans to split its business – separating its enterprise arm (Hewlett Packard Enterprise) from its more traditional PCs and printers business (HP Inc) – it was Brasher who was appointed a Vice President of this new HP Inc, now a Fortune 100 company.

An HP veteran of some 26 years, Brasher has worked his way up from the group’s American printer division to become the head of all HP Inc’s sales across the UK and Ireland.

A busy man, with big ideas, The Memo asked Brasher how he gets it all done.

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

Monday to Friday I’m an early riser, up at 6am and check my emails and the news first thing so I can hit the day running.

Working for a global company, I could be traveling, working late with international colleagues, or spending the day in customer meetings, so it’s important I use this time to set myself up for the day.

What apps do you use to be more productive?

I’m a keen user of news and sports apps.

In the last 2 years I have had two major life changes, relocating with my family from the US to London and becoming MD [managing director] for HP in the UK and Ireland.

Since becoming MD, I find myself looking at things slightly differently and a big part of my job now is to reinforce and reiterate what the new HP does to the outside world.

My Microsoft news app helps me keep on top of the latest trends and stories as well as keeping up with my partners and customers. And now I support a UK football team, sports apps like the BBC are a must-have.

Like everyone in business, there is always more to do than I have the time for so I am constantly re-prioritising but I tend to focus on customers, partners and employees.

What smartphone do you have?

I am loving my new HP Elite X3 [Black / Chrome, 64GB].

It’s a truly three-in-one device; phablet, pc and tablet. It has the power, performance and security that means you can properly work on the move, whilst looking great and lightweight to carry. It’s making a massive difference to my productivity, especially when I’m travelling.

I’m also very proud of it; it represents the new HP and how we’re not just bringing out new products but re-inventing whole new categories.


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

Many! Not only my team but most days I am out visiting our customers or partners. We can all fall victim to conference call overload but nothing is as effective as face to face meetings.

One piece of advice I give to our new interns each year at HP is never underestimate the impact of networking and meeting people. People give you advice and open doors for you.

I try to learn and get better every day. Invariably in every customer or partner meeting I want to know what we can do to satisfy their needs better and add more value to them.

I want to spend 10% of the time on what we do well and 90% on how we can be better for them.

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

Every time I get a new job I use The First 90 Days [by Michael Watkins] like a workbook to create a successful job transition.

It reinforces the importance of situational diagnosis, building the right team, matching strategy to situation and accelerating a new leader’s positive impact on the business.

A second book I return to is Execution [by Larry Bossidy] which reinforces the importance of our team, priorities and how to execute a strategic plan.

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

Later than I should! I’m a strong believer in work-life balance and need to lead more by example.

It’s easy to get caught up on emails till late at night especially when you work for a big international company but it’s important that we spend time with our families and friends and take time out.

I am a big movie and TV fan and that helps me unwind and shut off – I just binge watched Stranger Things!  

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.