“How I Work” is one of my favorite recurring features in Inc Magazine as well as via Lifehacker’s This Is How I Work Series, and recently several sales experts (including Anthony Iannarino, Dave Brock and Trish Bertuzzi) participated as well.
Periodically moving forward we will feature a new B2B sales, marketing or business leader here answering what have become the standard “How I Work” questions. You can catch up on everyone we’ve featured thus far in the “How I Work” series here.
This week I’m excited to feature Tamara Schenk, Research Director at MHI Research Institute. A special thank you to Jonathan Farrington, CEO of Top Sales World who nominated Tamara and graciously provided the following introduction: “Tamara Schenk is a breath of fresh air: She possesses a complete view of the sales process – in abstract, conceptual and pragmatic terms. Her marriage with MHI Global is the ideal combination; a world-class organization that has coupled with a genuinely global thinker, to create a perfect union. The sales space is in desperate need of more Tamara Schenks.” Suffice it to say, Tamara gets stuff done. Here, in her own words, is how she works.
Location: Wiesbaden, Germany. One of the most beautiful cities to live in. Frankfurt airport is just half an hour away, which is very important for me – I need to be close to an international hub. Wiesbaden has various famous buildings and great architecture to offer, because luckily the city was not destroyed during WWII. I’ve lived here for eight years now, and I’m still happy to come home from my various trips around the world.
Current computer: There is a ThinkPad and a ThinkPad – not very original, but that’s the way it is. Both are laptops, a little one with the tablet option and a larger one, and they’ve never disappointed me.
Mobile Devices: All my mobile devices belong to the Apple family. I love my iPad for checking emails, social networks, and simple internet transactions. I use an iPhone 4 and an iPhone 5, one is a personal phone and the other is for business. I just love the intuitive user experience – being able to do many things with just one click.
What apps/software/tools can’t I live without? I can survive without any of these apps. Seriously, I still have to make my green smoothies on my own; there is no app to do that for me… But I do highly appreciate the apps and tools that make me more productive.
PowerPoint and Word: Both are essential for my work. Word is for research content and blog posts; PowerPoint for presentations, visualization of frameworks, models and to create stories to tell – my canvas…
LinkedIn: The most important social network for business. I love the way LinkedIn takes business networking to another level.
Hootsuite: The platform for my tweets, my Google+ and my business-related FB posts. I love to have different streams on one screen, to be able to adjust, to schedule and to monitor tweets. It’s a productivity driver.
Twitter: Perfect for everything that stays within twitter, and I don’t need to use Hootsuite.
Skype: I started to use Skype for personal calls. Now, I use it more and more for business purposes. Working in a global organization with many business partners, Skype is often the single common denominator.
Google+: For me, Google+ is the social network with the best conceptual approach. The circle principle and the ability to quickly – I mean really quickly – grow circles cannot be achieved with any other network. And Google+ Hangouts – often better than Skype.
Google Maps: Always with me on all devices to find known places, to add new ones and simply to get guidance in new cities or places.
Zite: Checking quickly who has published new content on topics I’m interested in. Zite makes sure that I’m up-to-date and can learn about new sites I didn’t follow so far.
Feedly: My to-go “newspaper site.” All the blogs and websites I’m following are in one place. That reduces the notification emails I get significantly, because there is no longer a need to receive emails when new posts are published. I have it in Feedly, everywhere, on all devices, and I can share directly from Feedly. Especially in my profession, I need a quick overview day by day on who has written about which topics, where new stories are, and where content from older stories is appearing again. Checking Feedly is also how we create our weekly recommended reading list for our research members.
Evernote: Traveling, taking quick notes, capturing an idea, beginning to write a blog post – Evernote is my app to go.
What’s my workspace like? As an analyst with a global role and a focal point in Europe, I work from home. My home office is the most productive workspace I’ve ever had. I already worked a lot from home in my previous role as VP sales enablement at T-Systems, because my team members were all in different cities – in Germany, Europe and the US. What started as something I enjoyed intermittently is now my main workspace. Before I started my role at MHI Research Institute, I designed my office exactly the way I wanted it to be. I made sure that I have the right paintings with the right energy on the wall in front of me. An effective and well-designed bookshelf and a large desk make my home office really comfortable. And of course, my red couch is a must-have ingredient as well. And I love this one, which is next to my screen – a card from my favorite chocolate company Booja-Booja that says, “Relax – nothing is under control.” I’m always reminded of this wise statement when something happens as a result of a complex environment with very low predictability. Inhale, exhale. Then, keep moving.
What’s my best time-saving shortcut/life hack? I’m a big fan of the Pareto principle. That means I focus on those issues where the specific value I can add is really required. And I try to delegate and to step away from everything else. It’s a process and I’m getting better over time.
What everyday thing am I better at than anyone else? That’s a question my colleagues, clients and business partners should answer. In my own humble opinion and what I received as feedback, I have the ability to work with strong concentration and focus over a long period of time. Additionally, I have a lot of energy to get things done. And I work at a fast pace. Another thing is that I quickly recognize complex situations and can decide how I want to navigate complexity. I’m a system thinker – not always easy for my environment – but that’s the way it is. I love to discover related dimensions and patterns and I quickly create a framework in my head.
What’s your favorite to-do list manager? I don’t have a favorite. Honestly, I hate all of them, because I don’t want any app to tell me what I should do next. But since I need one anyway, I work simply with the outlook task manager.
What do I listen to while I work? No music while I’m working. I love music, but I think great music requires a listener’s full attention. I’m just listening to the birds out there, and most important – my inner voice.
What am I currently reading? I’m always reading a few books in parallel, as not everything makes sense in every reading moment.
- Michio Kaku: Mind: The future of the mind
- Osho: Courage
What’s my sleep routine like? I’m usually up until about 11 pm. My most creative time is the afternoon and the evening hours. I often have to force myself to go to bed, because seven hours sleep is what I should get. I get up between 6:00 and 6:30 a.m., most of the time before the alarm clock rings. My day begins with a yoga session to align my body, mind and soul, a fresh shower and a home-made green smoothie. Then I take care of my plants and flowers and I’m at my desk at around 8 a.m.
What’s the best advice I’ve ever received? You are the master of your own journey – trust in your courage and strength and enjoy the freedom of creativity.
Fill in the Blank: I’d love to see Richard Young, Managing Director, Pipeliner Sales, answer these questions.
And … hopefully you enjoyed the inside scoop on how I really work.