The CEO is the primary decision-maker and focal point of any company, with responsibilities ranging from long-term strategy to crisis management. Success or failure of the entire enterprise depends on the CEO’s leadership. While many leading executives have an abundance of support to complete a number of their tasks, one important resource remains a scarcity: time.
In a new Harvard Business Review article, Michael E. Porter – the world’s leading authority on business strategy – and co-author Nitin Nohria, dean of the Harvard Business School, reveal the results of the first ever, decade-long analysis of how 27 CEOs spend their time inside and outside the office. Using this valuable data, the authors have developed a practical toolkit for maximizing productivity within a turbulent schedule.
As Porter and Nohria write, “Being a CEO has gotten harder as the size and scope of the job continue to grow, organizational complexity rises, technology advances, competition increases and CEO accountability intensifies.” “How CEOs Manage Time” (update: Winner of the 2018 HBR McKinsey Award) is the culmination of the most important research done to date focusing specifically on CEOs. By looking at how CEOs spend their time – from meeting-filled days to delegating assignments – Porter and Nohria offer a prescriptive method for how leaders should plan their routines. “In our debriefings the CEOs all acknowledged that there were important areas where they could be using their time better,” the authors write. “On the basis of these discussions and those with the hundreds of other CEOs in our workshops, we are convinced that every leader can improve his or her time management.”
Porter and Nohria’s groundbreaking research will undoubtedly help current and future leaders master the difficult task of commanding a complex and unpredictable organization. With the weight of the world on their shoulders, CEOs need to learn when to lift, when to rest and when to share the burden.