Whenever I meet a CEO, especially of a large company, the question I invariably ask is, “How do you manage your time?” That’s the most important question a CEO can ever ask of themselves. It’s our most precious asset, and I don’t think you can be successful in this role without being very thoughtful and deliberate about it.
One of the things I do on a quarterly basis is to review the standing meetings on my calendar, and every one of them ought to be able defend itself. The point is not to keep going to that meeting just because you always have to go. I think it’s a great practice to say, “OK, we meet every Thursday on this. Does it have to be these people every Thursday? Why?” I ask myself that question, and I encourage my managers to question their calendars, too.
(1) This applies to all managers, not just CEOs.
(2) Cf. Brad Smith’s two key indicators of what we view as important.