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I am Philip Shields, and This is How I Work

Today, I am interviewing Dr. Philip Shields. Dr. Shields is a scholar-practitioner in the field of Executive Leadership. He currently works as a manager for a General Electric Company and as an Adjunct Professor at two universities. His undergraduate degree was in Chemistry and he holds a Master’s degree in Management with a focus in Integrated Logistics. His passions include faith, family, flying, friends, and bridging the gap between public and private organizations so that both may benefit through strategic alliances.

Current Job: Manager at FieldCore, a General Electric Company. Adjunct Faculty at the University of Charleston and at Liberty University
Current Location: Unites States and Virtual
Current mobile device: iphones
Current computer: Dell PC and MacBook Pro

Can you briefly explain your current situation and research to us?
My research focuses on Executive Leader perceptions of their involvement with forming and sustaining Cross-Sector Strategic Alliances. Public-Private Partnerships are a type of Cross-Sector Strategic Alliances. I am exploring avenues for continuing the research that I started while in my doctorate program. I am also looking for other publication opportunities for excerpts from my dissertation research.

What tools, apps and software are essential to your workflow?
I do not work in an office with my teammates and other managers of FieldCore and so I depend heavily on my virtual communication tools. I use WebEx and Skype for Business daily. My iphone is the link that keeps me connected to my team and direct reports. During my research I found Skype Recorder to be a very good tool for recording virtual interviews and it was compatible with TranscribeMe, the transcription service that I use for qualitative research. In research I use Nvivo as a tool for analyzing multiple (hundreds) of articles for themes. It proves itself to be worth the cost each time that I use it.

What does your workspace setup look like?

I use two desks for my home office. One desk is a large table with a two monitor VariDesk setup on it, and the other desk is a vintage wood desk with my macbook and an extra monitor. I use my VeriDesk for my full-time work computer or for long writing sessions on papers (I found during my doctorate work that using the standing desk reduced my total completion time for a 18-20 page paper by four hours. I do go to work in the home office sometimes and when I travel to our Tampa, FL home office I take my work laptop and an ASUS usb monitor (game changer for those who travel a lot…you gotta have 2 monitors).

What is your best advice for productive academic work?
Get buy-in from those close to you. Your significant other needs to be supportive, because this gives you the opportunity to write without/with less guilt. Don’t try to separate your work from your family…face the challenges together so that you grow together (or you will grow apart…50% of doctorate students get divorced during or immediately following the program).

How do you keep an overview of projects and tasks?
I use a bound planner that I get from Michael Hyatt’s company. It is his Full Focus Planner. I find it to be the best planner that I have ever used (previously I used a Franklin-Covey planner system)

Besides phone and computer, do you use other technological tools in work and daily life?
I also have a nook that has a digital reader function. There are times when listening to a book or an article is the most efficient way for me, like when driving, so I let my nook read the article out loud to me. I then go back and highlight as needed.

Which skill makes you stand out as an academic?
Confidence and Collaboration. I enjoy collaboration and feel that my willing to face rejection (confidence to hear a No) helps me to meet people and partner in research.

What do you listen to when you work?
The genre of music varies but I try to listen to music that I don’t mind being on repeat. I use music that I like and that I don’t have to concentrate on the lyrics. Recently I have been listening to Rend Collective and NeedToBreathe.

What are you currently reading? How do you find time for reading?
Jocko Willink’s “Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual”, and various faith based books and articles. I wake-up each morning at 4:55am and use the time before 8am for self-development. Including exercise in the morning makes me more productive throughout the day.

Are you more of an introvert or extrovert? How does this influence your working habits?
Extrovert. I am not a fan of working alone at my house (when my wife and kids are around I am actually more productive), but I do like the flexibility of working remotely. I enjoy working in environments that I can collaborate with and draw energy from others around me. When I am working alone and see myself becoming distracted I make my phone calls or conference calls that I need to make that day.

What’s your sleep routine like?
This is where I fail most often. My goal is 10:30pm bedtime with a 4:55am wake-up. Most often it is a 11:30pm bedtime.

What’s your work routine like?
First, update my planner by checking my calendar and transferring my to-do list to this day’s page. Next, I check my phone and email inbox for urgent messages. Then I start with my to-do list. During the day when I feel sluggish (mentally or physically) I take a break and step out of my office. As I wrap up my workday I review my progress and plan for my next day or few days.

What’s the best advice you ever received?
Never give in, Never, Never, Never… Winston Churchill’s 1941 speech. Don’t quit, that is the quickest way to fail.

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