How Executives Waste Time Together

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Thumbing through my "moth-eaten" (I use the phrase in jest) September 2004 issue of the Harvard Business Review, I stumbled across an article which made me raise my eyebrows.

The article makes the case that companies routinely squander their most valuable resource - the time of their top executives.

What was interesting about the article was the actual breakdown of how top management spends its time together in meetings.

The data was collected across 187 countries in a joint study by The Economist Intelligence Unit and a consulting company. Here's what they found: out of the total time available for senior management meetings - 250 hours per year - managers spend on average:

62 hours on operating performance reviews
27 hours on crises of the moment
22 hours on administrative issues and policy
22 hours on workforce issues
18 hours on corporate governance
14 hours on financial policy
12 hours on investor communications and guidance
11 hours on team building
10 hours on succession planning
6 hours on litigation
6 hours on community service and social responsibility
3 hours on "other"

The total "nonstrategic" time per year is 213 (out of 250). Which means that in any given year, only 15% of meeting time is available for strategic issues. That's 3 hours a month left for critical activities like strategy development and approval - at best.

And worst of all, they didn't even mention golf!

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This page contains a single entry by Christian Sarkar published on December 27, 2005 12:20 AM.

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