By Erin White | The Wall Street Journal
With so many demands on their time, chief executives worry about striking the right balance between setting long-term strategy and responding to short-term problems.
Over the past few years, The Wall Street Journal’s Lessons in Leadership video series has asked CEOs of big companies, including Microsoft Corp.’s Steve Ballmer and American Express Co.’s Kenneth Chenault, how they manage their time. Some bosses map out their year on a spreadsheet. Others carve out time just to think about managing their schedule. Here are tips culled from those interviews over the years:
Jeff Weiner, the CEO of Professional Network LinkedIn tells The Wall Street Journal how he carves out time to think, instead of just reacting to challenges.
“Part of the key to time management is carving out time to think, as opposed to constantly reacting. And during that thinking time, you’re not only thinking strategically, thinking proactively, thinking longer-term, but you’re literally thinking about what is urgent versus important, and trying to strike that right balance.”
Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, on the secret to work-life harmony: Don’t do stuff you don’t like. “The secret to work-life integration is to never back down and not to compromise and don’t do stuff that you know you don’t like. And that sounds very easy and it sounds like, ‘Well you can say that because you’re the CEO,’ but I’ve been like that ever since I was seven.”
Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO creates a spreadsheet to budget time for the year, allocating time for meetings, travel and exploring new ideas. “I’ve got a spreadsheet, it’s got a budget—my time for the year … I give the budget allocation to my administrative assistants, they lay it all out and then anybody who asks for time, they say, ‘Steve, this is in budget, it’s not in budget, how do you want us to handle it?’”
Kenneth Chenault, American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault says he allots time for developing talent, managing business priorities and meeting customers. “You need to spend a good percentage of your time with customers and clients because that keeps you externally focused.”