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CEOs Must Manage Their Time Well



Question: How should a chief executive officer spend his or her time?


Answer:

As the world’s largest membership of chief executives, with more than 10,000 members worldwide, we often hear that CEOs are frustrated by how much time they spend working in their business, rather than on the company’s strategy and direction. Many successful CEOs break their work time up as follows:

Customer interaction , About 30 percent to 40 percent of a small-business CEO’s time is spent on client interaction. This includes business development and marketing for new clients, maintaining relationships with happy customers and problem-solving for unhappy clients.

Employee interaction , All of the happy customers in the world are worthless without a team to provide the product or service they want. About 30 percent of a CEO’s time should be focused on interacting with employees, handling people issues and building and maintaining the company’s culture.

Operations , Once a CEO knows that customers and employees are happy, the work still must be done. The remaining 30 percent of the CEO’s workweek should focus on the operation of the business, from planning to the financials.

According to Lawrence King, an expert TEC speaker, four easy steps can confirm that a CEO is on track to spend the proper amount of time on various tasks.

Conduct a time audit. Identify the most critical functions you must perform to attain company goals and then compare that list with how time is actually spent each week.

Schedule personal work time. Block time on your calendar and alert your assistant that those hours are sacred. It may even be necessary to leave the office, taking a laptop down to the corner coffee shop to escape business distractions. Bring an agenda and focus on the high-level work that doesn’t get done day to day.

Delegate. The CEO’s role is not chief worker, something many entrepreneurs must keep in mind. The best way to manage the workload and stay on top of strategic CEO duties is to delegate business tactics to direct reports.

Develop a list of required outcomes. You should have a short list of results descriptions to help focus efforts on the results you want to see in the business by year-end.


Written by Richard Carr, the president and vice chairman of the board for San Diego-based TEC International.

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