Could executive time management improve? Yes

A survey on executive time management found that most business leaders say they do not spend enough time on the right things. The study, involving 500 executives from across the globe, was carried out by Strategy&, part of PwC.

Only 18% of respondents claimed to allocate their time “very well”. In twenty-nine percent of companies, executives thought that the way management spent its time was not linked closely enough to the companies’ strategies.

Just 38% of executives said the initiatives and key projects they were personally working on were closely associated with the company’s overall strategy.

Vinay Couto, Senior Partner at Strategy&, co-author of Fit for Growth Index profiler and study said:

“What this means is that a majority of companies are distracted – mostly by activities, initiatives, operations and opportunities that aren’t central to their strategies. We see this as a significant problem: Record-setting stock market performance may be masking the fact that a huge number of companies are out of shape: they are not prioritizing their initiatives, investments, and priorities based on their strategies. This misalignment leaves them unfit for steeper competition and the potentiality of leaner market conditions.”

Deviating from strategy

The Fit for Growth Index profiler findings suggest that companies are lax in the way they align what really goes on in the firm with their declared aims:

  • Just 24% of executives believe their firms’ strategy is solidly converted into specific operational initiatives, objectives and measures.
  • Sixty-six percent of respondents said there are significant services, products and businesses in their firms’ portfolios that do not contribute properly to the strategy of the company.
  • Two-thirds of executives say areas or initiatives deemed as “low-priority” get too much funding.
  • Just 24% of executives believe their company’s “power base” is well aligned with the growth components of the business.

Executive time management issues

(Data source: PwC Strategy& Inc.)

How to make more effective use of time

Mr. Couto and co-author John Plansky suggest executives should consider the following steps in order to make their efforts more effective:

  • Ensure that you and your team identify the critical capabilities within your organization in order to optimize your strategy.
  • Clearly identify what your role is in the realization of your company’s strategy. How do you and your team make sure the company becomes great at things that really matter?
  • Carefully determine whether each project you are about to invest in is a vital and key part of the the company’s strategy. Only invest in those that boost its distinctive strengths.
  • Be clear about what does not matter, and define exactly what it means to be “good enough”.
  • Develop the ability to say “no”. Every time you take on an additional task, be clear about what you are giving up if you say “yes”.