The following is a guest piece by Sally Blount, Dean of the Kellogg School of Management, and Sophie Leroy, assistant professor at University of Washington’s Bothell’s School.
CEO tenure in the Fortune 500 has fallen from an average of 11 years in 2002 to six years today. The average life span of a company in the Fortune 500 has shrunk from 25 years in 1980 to just 15 today. The end result is a pervasive sense of anxiety and time famine, as both companies and the executives within them struggle to keep up.
But speed and urgency, although necessary attributes of leadership, are not sufficient. In fact, our research suggests that the leaders who can tether an obsession with deadlines and time to an ability to sense the work and energy flow of their colleagues will have the most success.
Cultural anthropologists were the first to recognize that people tend to track time in two ways: clock time and social time. Under clock time, punctuality and predictability are highly valued. People adhere strictly to deadlines and appointment times.
Under social time, by contrast, conversational and relational smoothness and the ability to complete a thought or interaction without abruptness are valued. A fluid sense of natural rhythm in conversations and interactions over time enhances relationship building.
Research found that, traditionally, southern European and Latin cultures placed more emphasis on social time and Anglo-Saxon cultures placed more emphasis on clock time. But these cultural differences are beginning to wane as more of the world moves to a global business culture driven by clock time. Still, within the same culture, research has long found significant differences in how people experience time. Click here to continue reading »”Timing Leadership For Today’s Faster-Paced World”