Ron Cann is the Director of Product Marketing & Sales at Central 1 Credit Union, a wholesale financial services provider which serves credit unions, banks and corporate clients across Canada. Ron also serves as the President of BCAIM and sits on the board of the CMA. Prior to joining Central 1, Ron held positions at Karo Group and the North Shore Credit Union.
Ron, what are the first few things that you do each morning?
I go into work early so I try and be “Stealth Dad” and slip out of the house without waking anyone up. I try and workout every morning at our office gym so usually that’s first on the list. Once I hit the desk I’m scanning my Google Reader, LinkedIn updates and a few news sites online. I then focus on clearing my email and organizing the day.
Email seems to be a problem plaguing all professionals these days, do you have any tips for dealing with email and to make it more productive?
I have been focusing a lot on this, as email can be a real black hole. I interviewed a few colleagues to see what works for them and here is what I’ve developed as my process:
- Do away with folders and rely on your email tool’s search capability. It’s massively improved over the years especially if you use a Mac.
- Create two folders (1) Action (2) Archive. Create a system to prioritize your Action folder.
- Every morning empty your inbox by either (1) deleting (2) archiving or (3) putting in the action file to take care of later. If the email item takes less than 2 minutes to deal with it, deal with it at that moment.
- Commit to checking email at planned intervals. Turn off all notification sounds, alerts, etc. I check email in the morning, just before lunch, mid afternoon and then at the end of the day. Tell your staff/co-workers that if they really need to talk to you then to pick up the phone. Most items in an inbox don’t need 30-second turn-around times.
What time do you usually arrive at the office? And what does your typical day look like?
6:30ish if I’m working out and 7:30 ish if I’m not. My day is a hodgepodge of meetings and project work and can go from extremely strategic to extremely tactical in the blink of an eye as I have a lean team.
What’s the most interesting thing about your job?
I have three key focuses right now and the most exciting part of my job is that no one has ever tried these three things before at our company. I love to be a change agent.
You’re involved with two different marketing associations as both the provincial and national level, what are you seeing as the biggest trends and issues currently affecting marketers in Canada?
To answer that properly would require a white paper or two, but I think a key issue for marketers is (and always has been and will be) to prove that marketing is an investment, not a cost centre. It happened again with the last downturn where marketing budgets where slashed, departments trimmed and agencies closed. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in fiscal responsibility especially in tight times, but marketing tends to be seen as any easy area to cut whereas it has been shown that companies that spend wisely during tough times come out better in the rebound.
How do you approach productivity? What challenges do you have in this area? How are you overcoming them? Any tips for others?
Besides managing email more effectively (and now social media) I have found my best tool for driving my personal productivity is committing to limiting, as much as possible, my work in the evenings and on weekends. It sounds counter-intuitive but I’ve found that if I know I can’t put in three hours after dinner I work twice as hard to get things done by the end of the workday. Coming in early helps too as I know if I haven’t quite hit a deadline at the end of the work day I have an hour in the morning to wrap it up.
Do you have a good work-life balance? If no, why? If yes, how do you achieve it? What are you beliefs around this?
Yes I do. This is mostly due to my commitment mentioned in the last question.
What is your favourite quote of all time?
I had the privilege of interviewing Seth Godin a few years ago. My favourite quote from him – “The product IS the marketing”.
What is one thing that your coworkers, clients or friends may not know about you?
When I was in university I took a semester off and rode my mountain bike from Victoria to St. John’s Newfoundland.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would you be doing?
Probably something to do with architecture and design.