• Future

The Day Decision-Making Becomes Joyful again

  • Future

What is the way to sustain­able corpo­rate lead­er­ship … to Good Gover­nance as defined in the Unit­ed Nations’ goals? We present the answers in our Future series, today: the CEO Day. This US Amer­i­can idea is so compelling that it is a mystery why the word has not spread yet. For what would serve an enter­prise better than have their top exec­u­tives work in all peace in quiet — at least for one day per month — rather than spend their time in video calls and meetings?

The Value of a Day with­out Commitments

In 2017, Michael E. Porter and Nitin Nohria of Harvard Busi­ness School published the results of a long-term study1: top deci­sion-makers are prac­ti­cal­ly always “on duty“. Their work­ing aver­age on a regu­lar week day is approx. 10 hours, approx. 4 hours on week­ends and 2.4 hours even on vaca­tions. Every­body wants to have access to them; the study partic­i­pants spent aorund 72 per cent of their work­ing time in meet­ings. On top of that, there are repre­sen­ta­tive oblig­a­tions, such as appear­ances at asso­ci­a­tions or in the media, or welcom­ing new staff members.

So it seems like a dream come true when their sched­ule has a mini­mum of one work day per month with­out any appoint­ments or commit­ments. But it is a dream with clear bene­fits: as a busi­ness person, you can final­ly do busi­ness, e.g. come up with your own ideas, draft projects and, most of all, be spon­ta­neous. The mid and long-term effects in terms of sustain­abil­i­ty are massive: you will get a much more direct and there­fore better feel­ing for your enter­prise. What is more, a manag­er who dares to break new ground in such a way will also moti­vate their staff.

Escap­ing Routine, Embrac­ing Joy

So what do you do with a day that sudden­ly pops up in your diary all white and clean? For a success­ful CEO Day, busi­ness consel­lours recom­mend you look at concrete topics – with­out the pres­sure of present­ing a result at the end of the work­ing day, mind you. Among the tips are enjoy­ing creativ­i­ty but also reliev­ing your­self of the pres­sure of long procras­ti­nat­ed tasks:

· You could take the time to cross-check corpo­rate figures or study the market. What are recent devel­op­ments and what do they indi­cate? Do KPIs real­ly tell you what you want to know? Where are new oppor­tu­ni­ties evolv­ing and where would it be better to draw the line?
· You could unclut­ter your in-box and use the time to final­ly read through some of those inter­est­ing newslet­ters or magazines.
· You could brush up your knowl­edge – with tech­ni­cal maga­zines, a new book, or by sitting down togeth­er with your inter­nal subject matter experts.
· You could work on your own ideas or draft new strate­gies for your enter­prise. Do not forget your own good in the process, though: What could you do in order to better dele­gate tasks and thus take away some of your work­ing load?
· Speak with co-work­ers that you would other­wise only meet in the corri­dor … and, most of all, listen to them. There may be an other­wise incon­spic­u­ous office clerk with inter­est­ing ideas for your compa­ny under their chest.

How to Make Your CEO Day a Success

In case you are begin­ning to like the idea, here are a few tips for putting it into practice:

· From the very begin­ning, involve your ’inner circle’ by explain­ing the purpose of a CEO Day. This way, you will avoid irri­ta­tions that may occur when you unex­pect­ed­ly remain unavail­able for the entire day.
· There is no need to spend the day at the office; a quiet café or your own patio sure­ly make for good alter­na­tive work­ing loca­tions. Just do make sure that your surround­ings are not keep­ing you from working.
· Keep routine tasks out of this day! For, if you don’t, it will become a repos­i­to­ry for open items on your to-do list and quick­ly degen­er­ate to just anoth­er work­ing day.

And now a final and espe­cial­ly good argu­ment for your CEO Day: it promotes sustain­abil­i­ty and your good lead­er­ship qual­i­ties with­out cost­ing you a single cent!

1 Harvard Busi­ness Review 2018: „How CEOs Manage Time“ – hbr.org/2018/07/how-ceos-manage-time