I have the pleasure of working with several very talented CEOs (that should help the order book), as I help them scale their businesses. I preach the mantra – where you spend your time is an investment decision.

So the question is, as a CEO, where do you spend your time? I’ve conducted this test on my clients on a regular basis, over the last 12 months with some revealing conclusions.

Here’s how to do the test, what it means, and what to do with the results.

Take all of your inbox items you are currently working on. Some might take you a few hours to complete, some might be three month long projects. Take the last three weeks using your calendar, journal, and emails, and list all of these items in a long list.

Now create a little spreadsheet using these headings and place each item under the appropriate header. Here is a list of 57 items I did last week with a client and their allocation:


It was quite a revelation for this $70m plus group CEO. He lacks a strong operational management team, he can’t or won’t delegate, and he is definitely not spending enough time on the big audacious goals, marketing the business, the balance sheet or developing talent.

These are just symptoms. But it does reveal a bad investment choice regarding time. The solution often involves a mixture of the following:

  1. Key roles are missing from the team. Identify and recruit.
  2. Translation of key strategic objectives, are not being translated into operational actions. Explain what is required and relentlessly follow through or find a chief of staff or COO who can.
  3. Talent development is given a number one priority. Recruitment campaigns are transformed and incentive systems are set up to encourage candidate flow from your network.
  4. When the time is right an aggressive delegation plan needs to be adopted.
  5. Work one day per week from home.
  6. Review which shareholder issues really require your time and which could be delegated.
  7. Prioritize financial ratio analysis and demand the stories behind the numbers from your finance team. Be ready to explain what happened and will happen to your business to a ninth grader.
  8. Demand more accountability from your team. Ensure they own the problem, can articulate a possible solution and are aligned with your strategy.
  9. Develop stronger project management skills for yourself and your team.
  10. Be aware of gravitating towards your comfort zone.

All common sense stuff that needs an awareness, we often lose as we scale our business.

Keep in touch. Ian@TPPBoston.com