CEO/C-Suite Time Management
The most valuable resource in almost any company is the finite time of the CEO.
The passion and charisma of the Founder(s) and key leaders of small and medium size companies is often the source of the initial creativity and productivity of the organization. But, as growth sets in, the company will require management and structural changes to maintain momentum. It is critical that the leadership team learns how to delegate management responsibilities to avoid getting bogged down in the minutia and detail of day-to-day decision making.
The most valuable resource in almost any company is the finite time of the CEO and it is very easy for those individuals to wake up and realize (or worse, not realize) they are burdened with too many tasks. This is sometimes referred to as “Founder’s Syndrome” and it can lead to obsessive leadership styles, autocratic decision-making, and high levels of micro-management. It is not only a barrier to growth, but also a barrier to a healthy CEO lifestyle outside the office.
CEO time management is a critical, frequently overlooked element in the good-to-great success pyramid.
In my first few weeks of getting to know SME Founder and CEO John Haber, it became clear to me that a) he has a lot of energy, and b) he had way too many tasks even for someone like him. So I conducted a time management evaluation of his typical week. In the first month, we discovered he had over 75 individual weekly tasks touching almost every department.
A Harvard Business Review study of 27 CEOs revealed they:
- Average 9.7 hrs per weekday.
- Conduct business on 79% of weekend days.
- Work on 70% of vacation days.
- Nearly 47% of work is done at their office. The rest is conducted at other company locations, client locations, trade partners, traveling, and at home.
As mentioned, we identified 75 weekly tasks for CEO John Haber.
Our process of discovery revealed that 20 of these tasks could and should be moved to other managers
We also identified Company and CEO trends that were prohibitive to optimizing CEO and employee time
Emails to and from the CEO can create a downward spiral of unnecessary communication and set the wrong “norms” especially when sent in off hours
Consequently, we initiated a new CEO email policy based on the HBR legendary essay “Who’s got the Monkey?”
The above findings and execution of policy changes freed up almost 20% of CEO John Haber’s work time
At the end of year one we performed a new review and discovered CEOs have a propensity for acquiring new responsibilities. Consequently, over the next ten years, we performed annual CEO tasking rerveiws. New time optimization opportunities were always identified.