What is your daily routine as a CEO

Risk of failure CEO

A few questions for the CIO: What does the CEO actually do all day long? Do you often see it yourself or do you hear reports from colleagues about meetings? So what does the CEO do: hard-working or lazing around for the good of the company? And if he does a lot: is he actually doing it for the benefit of the company and its employees? That may sound like an invitation to gossip in the canteen, but it is the subject of a study by the renowned Harvard Business School. The punch line: You can actually read from the answers what a company's prospects of success are like.

The researchers Oriana Bandiera, Luigi Guiso, Andrea Prat and Raffaella Sadun, the latter assistant professor at the strategy chair at the business school, carefully examined the daily routines of 94 CEOs of large Italian companies. On the one hand, they can answer in their study how the bosses divide their time budget - which is exciting, but in itself rather trivial. On the other hand, they derive a small typology from this and show surprising connections to productivity and governance structures in the company.

First of all, it can be stated that - analogous to the Gaussian normal distribution - there are busy and less active top managers. A quarter of CEOs work between 35 and 40 hours a week, a fifth a little more or a little less. But there are also board members who seem to take it easy with only around 20 hours per week, and those who scratch the 60-hour mark. For the sake of fairness, it should be noted that only office hours were counted. In the group that at first glance appears to be less engaged, there may well be managers who do a lot of work after work or on the weekend.

For the researchers, this is ultimately relevant for grouping and as a reference value for further results, which are the real highlight of the study. First, it is about which activities the time budget is used for. On average, CEOs spend 60 percent of their working time in meetings, the rest is split between hours spent alone, business lunches, phone calls and public events.