In a recent meeting of Chief
Executive Boards International, a member said he was realizing that
his accessibility in the office (open door policy -- supposed to be a good
thing, right?) had evolved into his getting continuously interrupted and
dragged into day-to-day operations. His senior managers found it easy to
consult him on decisions they should have been making themselves.
(Employees love this -- it exonerates them from accountability for their
own decisions if they get the boss's agreement. Or, worse yet, get the
boss to make the decision -- total absolution. See: http://www.chiefexecutiveblog.com/2008/02/want-your-employees-to-be-independent.html)
If it wasn't others interrupting him, it was
his overhearing conversations in the hallway, and jumping into them
himself. Again, a compulsive behavior for many CEOs who realize that they
can, in many cases "do it better" than any given employee any
given day. In most cases it's a fact. And in most cases, not the best and
highest use of the CEO's time.
Then he said something stunning. He said
"I actually looked at how I'm spending my time, and discovered that
it's on doing a lot of things a CEO shouldn't be doing. In fact, I
discovered that my company doesn't have a CEO 80% of the time."
WOW! -- You could have heard
a pin drop in that room. It was like he'd taken a 2x4 and whacked most of
the other members up the sides of their heads. Members' heads cocked
sideways, and I could see the wheels turning as they did their own math.
And then the frowns as they didn't like the result. And the pens and
pencils scribbling that observation into their meeting notes. In fact, 50%
of the members at the meeting listed that one epiphany as something they
took away from the meeting.
Be honest. How much of your time is actually
logged doing real "CEO stuff"? So, what percentage of the
time is your company without a CEO?
you're a CEBI member, you're at spending at least eight days a YEAR on
"CEO stuff". That's more than a lot of midsize business owners,
in my experience. If you're not a CEBI member, give a listen to what
member Harry Loyle has to say about that question, among other things: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aKoYfbiSos
I know Harry's company is not without a CEO 80% of the
If you've discovered your company is without a
CEO for more than 25% of the time, click "Comments" below and
let us know what you were doing with the other 75%. And how you're going
to change those habits so your company has the CEO it deserves -- the
majority of the time.