Most companies have elaborate procedures for managing capital. They require a compelling business case for any new investment. They set hurdle rates. They delegate authority carefully, prescribing spending limits for each level.
An organization’s time, in contrast, goes largely unmanaged. Although phone calls, e-mails, instant messages, meetings, and teleconferences eat up hours in every executive’s day, few rules govern those interactions. In fact, most companies have no clear understanding of how their leaders and employees are spending their collective time. Not surprisingly, that time is often squandered on long e-mail chains, needless conference calls, and countless unproductive meetings. This takes a heavy toll. Time devoted to internal meetings detracts from time spent with customers. Organizations become bloated, bureaucratic, and slow, and their financial performance suffers. Employees spend an ever-increasing number of hours away from their families and friends, with little to show for it.
The leaders of forward-thinking companies have had different ways to solute this issue. They consider time as a scarce resource so apply much disciplines and principles for their time and capital budgets. One of these disciplines is removing and improving unproductive working times of employees and executives to increase profitable growth.