CIO Questionnaire Richard Wilson, director of IT operations at C&W Worldwide

Where were you born?

What was your first personal computer?
Acorn Electron

Who has been the most influential people in your career?
I've always tried to learn from the best points from all the people I have worked with in my career, but I would struggle to pick out a single strong influence.

What is your best tip for learning about the business?
There is no substitute for taking time to listen. I like to do shadowing days where I take a day out to sit with a colleague in another part of the business and really get an understanding of what life is like for them.

Do you have an MBA?
No, although I have spent five years as a strategy consultant

What did you study before joining the workforce?
I did a degree in Mathematics at Christ's College, Cambridge

What company and role do you believe you learnt most from?
I've had a few of different roles in and each one has been a learning experience. In general my career has been about facilitating change to enhance organisational performance, from large scale mergers and acquisitions and strategy through to helping the individual and making sure that they have the tools that they need in order to do their job.

Which tools or tactics have given you most success in communicating up, down and across?
There is huge power in having clear objectives and a clear plan to achieve them. I use this communicating up, down and across. My current plan and objectives are printed out in A0 and put up on the wall next to my desk. This allows my team to understand where they fit in and how they can contribute, allows my boss, my customers and peers to know what they can expect my team to deliver.

What is your favourite business trip location?
The best business trip I ever had in a previous role was to do a strategic review of a business in Bermuda. It's a lovely place to visit and my wife did a strategic review of the beaches at the same time.

And your greatest success?
Whilst I've had some point successes in previous roles, such as closing M&A deals, I actually believe my greatest success has been the work I've done in the last two years, working with my team to turn around the performance of our IT service.

How do you keep up to date with the march of technology?
It's not necessarily the technology that I feel the need to keep up with, but how people are applying it in their businesses. I find the most effective way to do this is to attend a peer group networking event around once a month.

How do you deal with stress?
In the last year, I've taken up playing guitar. It does wonders for my stress level, but I fear it has the opposite effect on my family!

What profession would you most like to attempt?
I'd love to be a builder or property developer. I'm a very practical person, so the idea that I could build something really big and tangible definitely appeals.

What profession would you least like to attempt?
I'd hate to be a philosopher — I get quickly frustrated by theoretical discussions that don't lead to practical action

Which word or phrase do you most use/overuse?
I find myself using the word ultimately a lot, but I think that's because I like to cut through to the end of the conversation and get to the conclusion, so we can get on with execution.

Which business books have been influential in your career?
I read very few business books, but one of the few that has really struck home with me is Simply Better: Winning and Keeping Customers by Delivering What Matters Most by Patrick Barwise and Sean Meehan. It reminds us to stay focussed on what really matters to our customers, rather than trying to come up with a USP that nobody really cares about.

Do you have a sport you practice or sport that you follow?
Portsmouth Football Club, which has certainly had its ups and downs in recent years

What else do you do outside of work?
As well as trying to keep pace with my two young children, I am also treasurer of my local Baptist church.

If you were given Gardening Leave for a year, what would you do with it?
Easy, I'd build my own house.

iPad, book, newspaper or magazine for a long journey or commute?
iPad, but with the Times app.