James Keyes’ daily routine: The schedule of the former 7-Eleven CEO who flew his own plane for business trips – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

James Keyes’ daily routine: The schedule of the former 7-Eleven CEO who flew his own plane for business trips

James Keyes, former CEO of 7-Eleven, is skilled pilot who often flew cross-country for business trips.

Fortier Public Relations

James Keyes spent over two decades at 7-Eleven and served as CEO from 2000 to 2005. As CEO, Keyes would start his days around 5:30 a.m. and go to bed around midnight. Here’s a look at his daily schedule as head of one the country’s largest convenience store chains.

7-Eleven is one of the largest convenience store chains in the country — and helming it as CEO isn’t an easy job.

James Keyes, who spent over two decades at 7-Eleven, served as CEO from 2000 to 2005.

As CEO, Keyes told Business Insider he had long workdays and slept around five hours a night. His days at 7-Eleven’s metro Dallas headquarters were packed with meetings that touched everything from new product innovation to investor relations to community development initiatives. Additionally, he was making monthly trips to 7-Eleven convenience stores worldwide — often flying his own aircraft for trips within the country.

And Keyes said he largely managed his busy schedule with the help of just one “very busy” assistant.

Keyes is also the author of the book “Education is Freedom,” which came out last month.

Here is a closer look at Keyes’ daily routine based on an interview with Business Insider.

Keyes said he would usually wake up around 5:30 a.m.

He admitted that he’s not “naturally a morning person,” but the demands of the role required him to become one. “Every day is a new adventure,” he said, adding that he was often anxious to wake up.

By 6 a.m., he’d typically be onto his morning workout, usually a combination of cardio and weights in his home gym. He’d have breakfast before or after his workout and opt for Eggo waffles or scrambled egg whites with fresh jalapeños.

By 7:30 a.m. he’d begin sorting through his inbox.

Keyes said he liked to filter through his inbox himself. “We didn’t have emails when I first started my career,” he said, “people were corresponding by the telephone or even letters.” Keyes said that since emails are exchanged at a comparatively faster rate he still sees them as an “important communications device” for sensitive or pressing matters.

During this time, he’d also scan through major new outlets to keep abreast of the day’s major headlines.

From 9 a.m. to noon he be in regular standing meetings.

Keyes said the first half of his day usually revolved around more structured tasks in which he and his senior staff focused on establishing weekly priorities. He’d also outline communications with the company’s board, vendors, and field operations teams nationwide.

“Basically, a big portion of the CEO’s job is communications,” Keyes said. “I found that the communications piece was critically important, especially in times of change, when fear sets in, and the organization lacks the confidence to continue.”

At the same time, when you’re heading a massive organization, supported by several layers of management, communication can often feel like a game of telephone, he said. Keyes’ tactic was to take a page from Walmart founder Sam Walton’s playbook and maintain a direct communication channel with the broader company. For example, Keyes said he’d communicate three priorities with 7-Eleven’s convenience stores nationwide through a weekly video conference to ensure “everyone was on the same page.”

Another important component of Keyes’ morning routine would be fresh food sampling.

“We were constantly searching around the globe for new food trends, new trends in convenience that might excite our customers and find those, bring them in, either rebrand them in our own brand, or roll them out, and test them in the stores,” Keyes said.

Once a week, a new item would usually be introduced in-store once a week, so Keyes and his team felt it was important to sample it and provide feedback. “It was tough on the diet,” he said laughing.

Lunch might be a Slurpee, a sampling of fresh food, or salad on the go.

Keyes said he usually didn’t have time for a lunch break. So, if it wasn’t a sampling day, he’d usually have a salad brought in, and eat it between meetings. At one point, Keyes said he had a Slurpee machine installed in his office. Slurpees are frozen, carbonated drinks that have practically become synonymous with the 7-Eleven brand.

“I had thought, wouldn’t it be fun to have a Slurpee machine in my office? Sounds like a great idea, and that way I can sample a Slurpee every day, different flavors,” he said, noting that it seemed like a great way to entertain guests. “I hadn’t thought about the calorie content, but that sparked the initiative to say, ‘let’s try to come up with a low calorie or zero calorie frozen, carbonated beverage.'” General Foods created a low-calorie “Crystal Light” Slurpee.

Then he was back in meetings until 7 p.m.

Keyes said he spent the latter half of his day in meetings discussing big-picture goals and new opportunities.

“It could be a crisis, it could be the financial markets collapsing, and you’ve got to communicate with investors, or it could be a potential breakthrough deal with a tech partner that will transform the business going forward,” he said. “So that opportunistic part of the day is prioritized based on the reality of where you are at any given time.”

After work, he’d spend time with family, or pursuing his hobbies.

If he didn’t have a dinner scheduled after his meetings, or he wasn’t on a business trip, he’d spend time with family or squeeze in time for his hobbies. He’s passionate about aviation and owns multiple aircraft, including a vintage World War II aircraft. Keyes also said he’d use his own vehicles to take business trips within the country.

He’d usually start winding down by 11 p.m., spending the last hour of his day reading materials in preparation for the morning.

“I have been blessed with one thing, and it’s probably because I do run so hard during the day, when I sleep, it takes me about 30 seconds to sleep and I can sleep anywhere, anytime.”

Read the original article on Business Insider
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