A day in the life with Chris Phillips

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As Head of Sales for Sport Intelligence, Chris speaks to facility operators and other industry bodies about how using the data they collect can help them make strategic decisions, driving their businesses forward and adding to the sector initiative called the DataHub.  With over 25 years’ experience in the industry, both as an operator and on the service delivery side, the wide range of skills gained across the sector gives him a good understanding of the business needs; (what tools can help and where) when looking at intelligence to drive decision making. 

What does a typical day look like for you right now? 

In this period of social isolation, I would have to say as far as work is concerned, I feel more connected than ever.  Our three and five year old boys tend to start my day as they try to creep around like tiny elephants whispering loudly to each other as to whether 6am is too early to wake up mummy and daddy – needless to say a lie in is a distant memory.  Then it’s time for a shower, breakfast for all and a quick catch up on the novel interpretations the US president has given to life.  This then leads to the first web call of the day.  An 08:45 team catch up that over the last few weeks has evolved into something we all enjoy, look forward to, as well as share the responsibility for. Then a 09:30 call ….. a 10:00 call and so on until you realise that you haven’t eaten but lunch has past and your headphones are starting to make your ears sweat.  A quick interruption to home schooling and a bite to eat then back to figuring out what we can do as a business to help the sector through this tricky time we find ourselves in.  Evening dinner as a family usually leaves me with many of the things that were on my to do list at the start of the day, still on it. But there is still time.  Next a full body workout or put another way, getting two little ones bathed and ready for bed.  A bedtime story and finally, some peace to finish a couple more bits before sharing a glass of wine or a hot choc with my wife and then sleep.  Groundhog days starts again until the weekend when I win the US Masters in the garden and play international Rugby Tots with the boys. 

How have you adapted to remote working? 

The last ten+ years of my career have been spent home working and having the privilege to travel across the UK meeting the great people that work in our industry. It’s great seeing the fantastic facilities and activities the Physical Activity sector deliver to the communities they work in.  So, for me, this is not too much of a change.  The only disadvantage is that every day is like an admin day and I do not get out to see our valued customers and partners.  Social media has become my new window into the happening of the sector and webchats and conference calls have dramatically reduced my mileage and my carbon footprint. Luckily, I have a home office space I can lock myself away in.  It is refreshing to not be sat on the M3, the M1, or in an airport lounge and amazing how much more you can cram into a day not being in the car. I miss Podcasts though. Whether it is inspirational things like 13 minutes to the moon or total escapism humour like the Peter Crouch Podcast.  One thing I do know is that we will be “Back Stronger” 

What has been your biggest learning moment of the C-19 era to date? 

I think communication has been the biggest learning point, we all spend so much time tearing around getting from meeting to meeting and on calls and emails but, are we really connecting or just going through the motions because ‘that is what we have always done’.  As mentioned, social isolation has forced us into a digital environment but I actually feel I have been able to connect deeper with more people through this time, as we are all focused on each other and not distracted by our environments. I love meeting people and there is certainly nothing better than catching up in person. I used to love traveling as well but if I have learnt anything, it is there is more than one way to be effective.  As our industry gets ready to re-open, I think that is a sentiment everyone needs to take on to allow us all to evolve into something better. 

What is the lasting Impact that C-19 will have on the industry? 

For a long time, we have been trying to change as an industry, to serve those who are not serving themselves, to prove that we are a sector that can add significant value to health, both physical and mental. The sector has been a little stuck in a rut and change has always been difficult to force for many reasons. C-19 has been the instigator of change.  From driving the digital delivery model to our members, to the Government finally advocating physical wellbeing directly to the nation at 5pm on many nationally broadcast Covid briefings (Thank you Chris Whitty).  I think if one good thing can come out of this for our sector, it is the ability to change. From the top down across the globe we have all had to rethink what we do and how we do it, not just for our members but how we service and support each other as well.  I hope the sector adopts this continuous change and evolution and we never return to what is now history and the shackles of “that’s the way we have always done it”.