Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 12th 2015 Contents It comes as a surprise to family-
owned companies: external, non-
family CEOs are more productive
than their related counterparts,
according to recent research. A
CEO s time is precious, as shown by
Oriana Bandiera, and her colleagues
at the London School of Economics
executive time use project. They recently con-
cluded research of more than 350 Indian CEOs
and one of their important findings is that
when an Indian CEO increases his/her time
on the job by 1.0 per cent, there is an increase
in sales of 1.08 per cent.
Furthermore, there is a strong correlation
between CEO s schedule and sales revenue:
the more time spent in executing explicitly
planned activities, the better the financial
The early indication is that unplanned hours
at the top lose money for companies.
A CEO s time management skills, therefore,
have an outsized effect on their company s
fortunes. Unfortunately, as important as this
skill may be, most top executives are left to
their own devices.
According to James Haskett of Harvard
Business School, the same is true for their
students. "the philosophy has long been to
eschew formal training in time management,
instead overloading students purposely to force
them to learn for themselves how to prioritise
and become better time managers."
Unfortunately, there s growing evidence
that in our age of tech-driven information
overload, this approach isn t working in either
Cambridge, New Delhi or Port- of-Spain. In
particular, it may be causing a problem for
family CEOs who don t understand the impact
their time management has on company
Family vs professional
Bandiera s research team also discovered
that family CEOs work fewer hours, make
fewer plans, conduct fewer meetings, spend
more time with outsiders, and engage in more
one-on-one meetings. These activities are
important because they are empirical predictors
At first glance, there could be a good reason:
some family CEOs argue that their job requires
more than just generating profit. They have
familial goals, the argument goes, and every
conversation with a family member, at any
hour of the day, doubles as a business meeting
regardless of the topic.
According to research, there is less of a per-
formance gap in industries that face high inter-
national competition, perhaps due to the pres-
sure of higher standards.
To continue the comparison, do these two
types of CEOs respond to the same surprise
events in the same way?
To test the hypotheses, two "exogenous
shocks" were included as a means of comparing
the reaction by each group. They were a sudden
downpour of rain and a big cricket match;
both potentially time-wasting interruptions
that we can relate to here in Trinidad.
Rain and cricket
The contrasts were stark.
Family CEOs responded to sudden rainfall
by reducing the number of hours worked by
5.0 per cent, while their counterparts showed
a positive and significant increase: a 10 per
cent difference overall. (Once again, family
CEOs who face more foreign competitive pres-
sure, were less disrupted.)
The finals of the IPL Cricket League---broad-
casted at 3 pm---in the cities where the research
was performed, generally attract a great deal
of attention in India. On days with important
finals, the data shows that family CEOs reduced
their hours worked by 10 per cent, while their
counterparts were unaffected.
Also, family CEOs didn t make up the time
lost, even though they argued that they do.
Given these findings, the authors rejected
the notion that family CEOs are simply
responding to unique demands. Their reaction
to rainy days and cricket match finals was
unproductive in comparison to their outside
Actions to take
Does this mean that your family-owned
company should immediately replace the
brother, daughter or cousin at the top with
No, but you should look for ways to give
leaders the productivity skills that were never
passed on by the founders. For example, given
the correlation between planned hours and
sales, it s startling to learn that approximately
13 hours per week of an Indian CEO hours are
completely unplanned. I doubt local CEOs are
CEOs aren t much different from the average
professional from any corner of the world.
They rely on self-made productivity techniques
that aren t informed by global standards. They
relax in the belief that being more effective
than others immediately around them is
In other words, family CEO s give them-
selves a "bligh" that needs to be taken away.
From the research, it s clear; it s possible for
them to do much, much better.
Francis Wade is the author of Perfect
Time-Based Productivity and President of
Framework Consulting in the Caribbean.
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt FEBRUARY 2015 • WEEK TWO
Surprising research from India:
Non-family CEOs more productive
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