Being the boss isn’t always easy – once you’ve moved away from working in the business to working on the business, what’s the best way spending your time?
A study I came across by the excellent Harvard Business School provides some interesting pointers. The survey, of 94 Italian chief executives, tracked their activities and the study came up with some useful conclusions.
- the average Italian boss works a 48 hour week, with 60% of that time being spent in meetings.
- CEOs working longer days spend more time meeting with company employees and less time
- the longer a CEO works, the better the company performs
- most interestingly of all, time spent in meetings with employees is better spent than with outsiders – there is a clear correlation of time spent with insiders and increased profits. Surprisingly, there appears to be no such correlation in time spent with outsiders.
Furthermore, commenting on the study, Rajesh Chandy, a London Business School professor, observed that bosses spend only 3 – 4% of their working day thinking about long-term strategy. He concluded therefore that bosses should spend more time thinking about the future and less time networking with clients and contacts.
However, it’s not really news. Here’s a quote from Aldous Huxley backing that research up;
“They intoxicate themselves with work so they won’t see how they really are”
This point of view certainly chimes with my experience.
Around 7 or 8 years ago I gave up running any legal cases. In short I no longer brought in fees directly. There was obviously a price to that, but it did give me time to work “on the business” rather than “in the business”.
I would say that freeing my time up in this way, giving me thinking time to consider future strategy was perhaps one of most important factor in the significant growth in revenue and profits Bonallack and Bishop as seen in the last few years.
We now have around 65 staff and represent clients locally, regionally and nationally.
And in the last few years I have certainly spent way more than 3– 4% of my time thinking about strategy. And that has led to some really interesting developments including the creation of some highly successful new niche areas of work – such as the expert 5 strong team we created 12 months ago to advise and represent property investors.
I agree with the research. Perhaps bosses should consider spending less time networking and more time exercising the old grey matter in planning for the future
Tim Bishop, Senior Partner