- Damola Adamolekun is CEO of PF Chang’s and based in Scottsdale, Arizona.
- He spends an hour working from home each day before heading to the office for in-person meetings.
- Here’s how he plans his morning routine, as told to writer Robin Madell.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Damola AdamolekunCEO of P.F. Chang’sabout his morning work routine. It has been edited for length and clarity.
I begin my workday each morning at 6 am in my home office
First, I review our daily flash reports, which detail restaurant operating performance from the previous day and period to date. I make notes of any interesting observations, questions, or oddities from my review to discuss with our COO Art Kilmer later in the morning.
Next, I check my inbox. I generally try to respond to low-intensity requests immediately, which are that can be handled quickly, such as an email asking for final approval on a marketing design where I’ve been involved in the design process from the beginning. In this case, I’m familiar with all elements of the design relatively and can conduct a final review quickly, allowing the team to move forward with execution while clearing an item on my own to-do list.
In this way, I’m extremely responsive to my team on issues that don’t require much time on my end, which them to move forward with their own work more efficiently after my sign-off.
When I’m through the low-intensity items, my next priority is to deal with tasks that require more time and attention, such as projects related to strategic objectives and financial performance. For example, when we decided to expand our self-delivery program, we took a few weeks to thoroughly evaluate the program. It’s important not to rush these big decisions that can impact business, and instead to take time to analyze and get it right.
I arrive at our corporate headquarters in Scottsdale around 7:30 am
I read the Wall Street Journal each morning to get caught up on any key business, industry, and broader economic news.
Our COO Art also arrives at the office around 7:30 am, and we spend a few minutes discussing operating the previous day’s results. Then I sit down with our CFO Brad Hill to discuss any relevant corporate planning or financial issues.
These early morning meetings are informal in nature and reflect a very comfortable “open-door” ethos that exists within our senior executive team, which I love. It allows for clarity and open lines of communication, eliminates potential misunderstandings, and lets us spot potential issues early since we’re in constant contact.
I use a simple Word document to track my priorities and measure progress on the year’s action plan
Besides my own to-do list, this document also has our company vision statement, core strategies, and yearly action plan to help keep me centered and focused.
I work with my executive assistant to make sure my calendar is always up to date so I can easily do a quick check to see what the day, where I’m needed, and when I may have availability.
I have a rule with my executive assistant not to schedule any meetings before 8 am
Starting at 8 am, the meetings begin and tend to come fast and furious for the remainder of the day. These can cover issues that impact any of our operating departments, as well as other key groups like board members, investors, lenders, franchise partners, and landlords.