Mike Petrook, head of communications at the Chartered Management Institute talks us through his day

As there is never a shortage of bad management stories, Mike Petrook, head of communications at the Chartered Management Institute, is often in demand for his professional opinion

My day

6.30am: Wake up to the sound of Nicky Campbell introducing a snapshot of the morning’s news on BBC Radio 5 Live before flicking the preset button on my alarm clock to get the in-depth approach of The Today Programme.

6.45am: Grab my phone to check email alerts and newswire feeds for an early indication of breaking stories on poor management and leadership. There have been too many examples of bad management harming UK organisations recently and at CMI we’re often asked to comment on the impact leaders’ decisions have on staff, business prospects and the economy as a whole. I like to know what’s happening early on so that I’m ready to respond and brief spokespeople as appropriate.

7.30am: Leave the house, having swallowed a bowl of Fruit and Fibre and sugary tea (isn’t that what they call a balanced diet?!) and chatted to my kids about last night’s football and what they’ve got coming up in school today.

7.45am: Catch up with friends joining me on the tiresome journey into town. The delays may be more predictable than the train arrival times, but at least they also give me the chance to read Metro and check the news (again) on various websites.

9.00am: Chat to the team at our PR agency, Kindred, about the day’s news, identifying stories worth responding to. Today the phone seemed to be ringing off the hook before my first coffee had even kicked in (a much better energiser, anyway!) with calls from one national paper for CMI’s advice on handling redundancy, a couple of regional radio stations wanting live interviews on the gender pay gap and state of the economy and a journalist from one of our core target e-zines wanting a last minute by-lined column on the importance of management qualifications.

10.00am: Having briefed the team at Kindred so they can develop interview notes, I set about drafting quotes and the article for the incoming opportunities. Both have deadlines before 12.30. Pressure? No – just a good way to focus the mind. I also hear that one of my spokespeople can’t do their interview, so ...

11.40am: Lock the meeting room door to one of our meeting rooms and plug myself into the ISDN kit to do the interview. Delighted that a three-minute chat turns into 20-minute debate with a few callers, giving me the chance to drive home CMI’s message that professional qualifications can make a difference to career prospects, employability and business performance. Good result for CMI and my Mum will be very proud too!

12.00 noon: I’m also responsible for the delivery of Professional Manager, the UK’s second largest management magazine which goes to 86,000 of our members. I’m currently overseeing a relaunch and after months of planning, the redesign, changing editorial direction and commercial aspect of the mag are taking shape. Putting the phone down after one particularly satisfying conversation I let out a cheer. A colleague asks why and I’m delighted to say I’ve secured regular contributions from a well-known commentator in our sector. I also spend some time with my publishing assistant, going through proofs and, together, deciding which stories we want to expand and cut back. It’s a juggling act because with so many internal stakeholders to please I have to ensure everyone is represented whilst making sure the magazine is still captivating. A couple of calls to people within the contract publishing agency, Think, and my next task beckons.

2.00pm: Lunch. Well, more accurately, a brisk walk to Tesco and whilst queueing, a chance to check emails. The breeze on the way back to the office is welcome and refreshing but that sunshine can be so deceptive. It may be bright, but it’s still not summer!

2.20pm: CMI is about to launch a massive project that is set to answer employers’ criticisms about school leavers not being “work ready”. We’ve got some big names on board, such as Centrica, Waitrose and the National Grid and we’re launching our initiative in a few weeks at the Archbishop Tenison’s school in Croydon. Time to meet up with some of the team at Kindred, head to Croydon for a recce around the school and discuss the plans with its head of sixth form and the head teacher.

3.00pm: Arrive at the school and get sent to the headmaster’s office (it’s a long time since that’s happened to me!). Really productive meeting, in one go we agree who will do and say what, how we can enlist the support of the pupils who’ve gone through the pilot programme and we’ve also identified local businesses to invite to the launch. We’ve also chosen locations for a photo shoot.

4.30pm: Flick open the laptop on the train and deal with more emails. I also start jotting down some thoughts re the launch of our new iPhone/Android app which I plan to share with Kindred tomorrow. CMI Management Essentials will give answers to common management problems, a self–assessment test to identify leadership strengths and many other resources. It’s a really exciting next step in CMI’s digital communications.

5.30pm: Finish a few things from my desk at home (as the school is on route to my house there’s little point heading back to the office!). Tomorrow I want to share feedback about a number of other projects and I want to take some time to consider our next move. I won’t email my colleagues tonight, though, as it’s much better to discuss things in person.

6.30pm: It’s been a busy day with the sort of variety I love, but the chance to finish things off at home is great. Now I catch up with the kids. Time to find out about their day before helping with their homework (being back at school today must have had a positive effect). After they go to bed, my wife and I have a quick dinner, watch some drivel on TV and call a couple of friends to make plans for the weekend.


Creative Moment Awards 2020