Ever wondered what successful CEO's do all day?
Researchersexamined the schedules of 1,000 CEOs from across the world and used a machine learning algorithm to try to figure out how the most successful CEOs spent their time. Here's what they found.
- The average CEO works 50 hours a week: 25% of the day working alone, 10% on personal matters, 8% in transit, and 56% working with others (often in meetings).
- CEOs spend more than half their days in meetings. But not all meetings are created equal. Researchers found a simple difference between successful CEOs and their less successful counterparts.
- Successful CEOs have more high-level meetings than less successful CEOs.
Great CEOs Fly High
Researchers broke down the CEOs they studied into two broad categories: general managers and operating managers.
The quintessential general managerleads from 20,000 feet. General managers meet mostly with multiple executives at a time, delegate day-to-day tasks to others, and focus on promoting good communication at the highest level of the organization.
Operating managers, in contrast, spend a lot of their time in on-on-one meetings and put more focus on perfecting the individual pieces rather than focusing on the company atlarge. These are the CEOs who get into the weeds.
No one management style will ever be perfect for every firm. But this study's conclusions are clear: on average, big-picture CEOs are more likely to have big success.
A good CEO is a lot like a symphony conductor. They don't spend their time tuning individual instruments; they delegate these operational tasks so that they can focus to the ebb and flow of the company's concerto as a whole.
As a result, a successful CEO is one who can keep everyone playing to the same beat—even if they can't play all the instruments.