Research, that is probably no of surprise to the CEO-watchers among us, reveals that most of their time, up to 85% in fact, is spent in meetings with other people. Aspiring CEOs therefore need to be aware that talking the talk is probably more important that walking the walk.
Our data reveals that, as expected, CEOs spend the majority of their time with other people (85%). Of these most are employees of the same firm, but many are not. On average, CEOs spend 42% of their time with insiders only, 25% with both insiders and outsiders and 16% with outsiders alone. More interestingly, these averages hide a great deal of heterogeneity, both in terms of number of hours worked and time allocation. A majority of CEOs spend very little time (less than 5 hours per week) alone with outsiders, but over 10% of them spend over 10 hours a week.
While the role of a CEO can be outlined with just a handful of words, the brevity of the job description somewhat belies the task that confronts incumbents of the position.
A CEO does only three things. Sets the overall vision and strategy of the company and communicates it to all stakeholders. Recruits, hires, and retains the very best talent for the company. Makes sure there is always enough cash in the bank.
The typical CEO may not be quite the mover and shaker many people perceive them to be, if the collective results from the personality colour test are anything to go by.
The color test shows that the typical CEO is more sensitive and private than the typical person and is less likely to be a perfectionist or to be dominant and more likely to be emotionally unstable. CEOs, it turns out, are not as self-assured as the public at large, and they are more cooperative and less forceful than the typical person, says Dewey Sadka, who has spent the last 15 years refining the color test completed by the 877 current and retired CEOs and chairmen.
Usability guru Jakob Nielsen doesn’t think CEOs and Twitter make for a good mix.
Posting on the Web is the modern PR, and the CEO’s job is to articulate the company’s vision and direction, which requires more than 140 characters. Being perceived as a wise guy or a shallow thinker is not going to do your stock price much good. We have just completed a usability study of investor relations info on corporate Web sites, and one of the big reasons individual investors turn to companies’ Web sites is to find the CEO’s vision and take on the company’s and industry’s direction.
Surely not every word uttered, or tweeted, by a CEO is going be construed as visionary though?
It is often said that staying in the same job, with the same company, for more than two to three years becomes detrimental to your long term career prospects.
However those who do stay put, often assume the top job in a company far sooner than those who chop and change employers.
Ms Hamori’s research (with Peter Cappelli of the Wharton School in Philadelphia) looked at companies in the S&P 500 and the FTSEurofirst 300. She finds that “lifers” get to the top in 22 years (in America) and 24 years in Europe. “Hoppers” who jump between four or more companies, by contrast, take at least 26 years on average to become chief executives. Insiders get promotions that reflect their potential, because their bosses have enough information to be reasonably confident about their ability.
I can see the logic here, so what’s with the talk that sitting still is a bad idea career wise?