What does a CEO do all day?

Given all the attention CEOs receive for their central perception of the success or failure of their organizations and the salaries and benefits that result, it’s perhaps surprising that we don’t know more about what the trading giants really do. And yet, according to Harvard Business School, research is limited to surveys of small groups of executives or large studies over short periods of time. The study, which forms the basis of The Leader’s Calendar report, aims to go further by claiming the first comprehensive and detailed examination of CEO time use in large, complex companies over a long period of time. Since its launch in 2006, it has tracked the time commitments of 27 CEOs. Their primarily publicly traded companies had average annual sales of $13.1 billion during the study period. To do the job, the researchers worked with assistants to the CEO to divide their bosses’ time into 15-minute blocks, then allocate the time spent on typical CEO activities to each of these blocks – meetings, relationships investors, trips, etc. However, by collecting the data around the clock, the researchers also gained useful insights into how CEOs spend their personal time. Or at least the time they were out of the office, as the study shows that they are also in business 79% of weekend days with an average of 3.9 hours a day and 70% of holidays, with an average of That was 2.4 hours a day. .

Numbers like this reinforce the impression that CEOs work tirelessly. As the researchers point out, running a large global company is extremely complex and thus takes time. “The scope of organizational management work is broad, encompassing functional agendas, business unit agendas, multiple organizational levels and a multitude of external issues. It also includes various stakeholders – shareholders, customers, employees, board of directors, media, government, community organizations and many others. Unlike any other leader, the CEO must manage them all. Furthermore, in good times and bad, the CEO should be the internal and external face of the organization,” Porter and Nohria wrote.

A day in the life of Renae Smith, Founder and Director of The Atticism

I currently live in the UK, and my typical day is different from my business in Australia.

I wake up around 6am (ie 3pm in Sydney) and check my Slack for urgent messages.

When I’m making coffee for myself, I accept anything urgent.

Consider “theming” your days

Theme days are a relatively new practice, pioneered by Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, the social media giant and financial services company Unicorn respectively, making it extremely popular.

As a great example of the CEO of two giant global corporations, there are unlikely to be many CEOs bigger than Dorsey. And since Dorsey is known for taking a day off every week — as well as mentally and physically exercising daily — while successfully running these businesses, there may be a lesson or two to be learned. learn from this.

Model and define the culture, values ​​and behavior of the company

The second duty of the CEO is to build a corporate culture. People do the work, and culture has a big impact on people. A lousy job can scare away the best performers. After all, they have a choice about where they work. And a great place to work can attract and retain the best.

Culture comes in many forms and the CEO sets the tone. Each of their actions – or inactions – sends cultural messages (see “Life under the magnifying glass”). Clothing sends signals about the formality of the workplace. Who she talks to, she tells who is important and who is not. How she handles failure (feedback or failure?) signals risk-taking. Who she shoots, what she lives on, and what she says have a lasting impact on culture.

My daily goal list

There are a few things I like to do/check when I decide each morning. I write a list of things I need to do that day (like take out the trash) and post my daily list as well.

It reminds me of my values ​​and goals – who I am, who I want to be and where I want to be.

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