When experts from Harvard Business school set out to study the habits of CEOs over a 12 year period, they came back with a series of statistics that many people in the business world found shocking. Headline writers focused on the fact that many of them spend around 70% of their time in meetings and seemed to have understandably packed schedules. Recently, a group of tech and legal industry insiders have taken a closer look at this data and started to identify areas they feel could benefit from some big changes.
Most seem to agree that business executives who don’t spend much time with their company’s clients should take the opportunity to get to know them a bit better. According to the Harvard study, executives were usually only able to spend around three percent of their time directly working with their clients. Today’s dynamic online environment is offering new opportunities for CEOs to act as corporate ambassadors.
Representing Your Firm at Large
Executive officers are more or less the public face of a company, so calling them business ambassadors isn’t far-fetched to begin with. Clients might want to get to know the individuals who run the firms they work with, especially if the deals they’re involved with tend to be worth a substantial amount of money.
It’s unreasonable to suggest that busy CEOs should take time out of their schedules to travel to every single office they do business with, but online shopping industry director Ari Leeds might have the answer. He’s said that tools such as Zoom and Slack give CEOs a chance to be more reachable in situations they wouldn’t otherwise ever get to meet clients.
Creativity and enthusiasm might not always shine through digital methods of communication, but they’re still better than simply relying on the sales or marketing department to be the only source of communication with clients. They also provide a rather unique opportunity for CEOs to get closer to their own teams.
Forging Closer Relationships with the Crew
In theory, a CEO is technically the boss of many individuals who trust them to make workplace decisions that impact every department equally. Unfortunately, they normally have to delegate a great deal of that authority to individuals who operate on their behalf.
This is normally a good thing, since the managers of organizations with more than 50-100 employees couldn’t be asked to make every decision personally. Staffers have a tendency to trust those who make the time to see what’s really going on in their organizations.
According to the often-quoted Harvard study, CEOs can spend up to 61% of their time making face-to-face interactions. Managers who are struggling to put that many hours in may want to invest in technical products like a cloud-based digital planner or employee monitoring software that will give them an overhead view of their entire organization at all times.
Cutting down on face-to-face interactions is often a bad idea, but deploying this sort of solution can help to save a substantial amount of time. Those who surround themselves with skilled professionals who earn the trust of the rest of the organization shouldn’t be afraid of delegating certain duties to them, either.
While it might sound paradoxical, CEOs who attempt to stretch themselves too thin often can’t successfully address any of the issues they’re trying to juggle. If you receive a large volume of emails or other messages that need your attention, then set aside specific blocks of time to respond to them.
Cutting Down on Distractions
Managerial positions are perhaps more associated with getting distracted than any other kind. Nevertheless, CEOs can use the same time management techniques to handle this problem that those in technical and creative positions would.
Put together a to-do list, learn to politely decline tasks that you currently can’t address and make sure that you’re not working on more than one thing at the same time.
Productivity expert David Allen has long promoted the so-called “Getting Things Done” method of time management, which recognizes that divvying up your time between multiple tasks can actually slow you down. Instead of doing this, it asks you to put everything you have to do into one of three categories.
Tasks can then flow from a to-do bucket into a doing category before passing over to finished. At times, it might seem like a CEO’s work is never done, but managing chores in this way can help to dramatically increase your work rate while cutting down on stress.