Where Do Leaders Spend Their Time?

Look at your typical day:
Are you a Blackberry or iPhone addict? Constantly in meetings?  Hours of emails and PPTs? Spending too much time on Twitter? Or on the golf course talking to clients?
Bottom line: Where do you spend most of your time? 

That question was asked of CEOS in a fascinating study appearing in Harvard’s Working Knowledge. The researchers asked that question of close to 100 CEOs in Italy, and you might be very surprised by some of the results:
  • Most of the CEOs spent 42% of their time with employees (insiders). 
  • CEOs gave 16% of their time talking in one-on-ones with outsiders.
  • Internally, the finance department got the most time, (average 8.6 hours per week). HR got the least CEO face time: 5.5 hours per week.
  • Among outsiders, consultants sucked up a lot of CEO time, on average, 4.7 hours per week. 
  • Suppliers get the least attention, or only 1.3 hours per week.
  • As CEOs worked more hours, those extra hours went to meetings with employees.
The big take-away is that for these leaders, almost half of their time is spent interacting with internal folks and that resulted in increased productivity: a 1% increase in hours spent with internal people increased productivity by 2.12%.
So, the bottom line for all business leaders might be this: think of your office and desk as distractors. Put down the ipad, read less spreadsheets, stroll the halls and get out there and spend time with your staff. Ask them questions, find out about their challenges and solutions. Talk more and Twitter less!
You and your company will be better off for it!