One of the most challenging questions for a CEO is how to drive your schedule, rather than having your schedule drive you. Too many executives wind up working for what is on their schedule, rather than establishing a clear priority of time guidelines to ensure they are in the right rooms, at the right time, to maximize the achievement of success outcomes.
Some guidelines to consider in allocating your time:
Drive My Agenda. Is this meeting designed to ensure the organization realizes our Success Outcomes? Does it need me in it to achieve the same result? When TransPro worked with one CEO recently, she learned that 80% of the meetings on her calendar were internal and external stakeholders asking her to prioritize time to work on their priorities, rather than her ensuring the organization was poised to produce the results she would be evaluated against.
Who Wants the Meeting? Is it part of your standard cadence to manage the organization, manage the board, and engage with external stakeholders? A senior executive we have worked with for years now allocates 50% of his time to standard cadence meetings (regular check-ins that he prioritizes as critically necessary to manage the organization), 25% of his time to incoming requests, and the remaining 25% to think. Yes, think.
Will I Learn More from Outside? Will the meeting have a different conversation, a different tone, and more informed outcome if you're not in the room? Do you do more than 50% of the talking in the room? If so, it is likely that your team isn't having a conversation they might have if they had a robust debate with less control from your voice and then brought a recommendation and reasons why to you for consideration. Knowing when not to be in the room, even if you scheduled the meeting, is a critical leadership skill.
The key as a senior leader is to get the best information to come to the best answer in order to produce your success outcomes. It doesn't mean you need to be in the room. It means there needs to be a room that is having those key conversations to guarantee success. Ensure that you are driving your schedule, rather than merely transitioning from meeting to endless meeting, which is not the highest and best use of your time. A schedule that is designed to largely prioritize your organizational outcomes will energize you and your team to have the right conversations at the right time.
TransPro has a free Meetings that Matter survey your team can take to ensure your meetings are the right ones, conducted in the right way to produce the right results. Please let us know if your organization would benefit from taking the survey.