Wednesday, January 04, 2006

josh - cost of wasting exec time

How Executives Stay Informed
LTI Newsline
q A new research report, "How Executives Stay Informed: A Study of Resources Used and Time Spent Locating Critical Business Information," by Bersin & Associates, finds that most senior-level executives spend hours each week searching the Internet in frustration for business-related information that will help them stay informed and current.

The largest group of respondents, 37%, reported spending four or more hours each week searching for information; 36% spent two to four hours each week on information searches.

"The most surprising finding in this survey is the large amount of time executives spend searching for information," said Josh Bersin, president and founder of Bersin & Associates. "At today's executive salary levels, four hours of search time can cost companies $1,000 or more per week -- not including the cost of lost opportunities, delayed decisions, or other work not completed. If you apply this estimated figure to Fortune 500 companies, the money spent adds up to $60M each year."

Other study findings include:

* 91% of executives routinely use the Internet when searching for business-related information. Respondents relied on the Internet more than any other source, including trade journals, books, newspapers, and webinars.

* 47% indicate that unproductive searches and the need to sift through "too much information" are primary challenges associated with using the Internet.

* A majority of executives spend four or more hours reading each week to stay informed and current. More time is spent reading at home or while traveling than in the office.

* 67.5% of respondents said they don't read books or articles in entirety but read summaries, skim, or read specific sections.

* 14.4% read seven to ten business books a year, 21.4% read four to six books, and 45.8% read one to three books. 74.9% of respondents said they'd like to read more, but are limited because of time.

"The highest, most mature level of corporate learning is learning on demand," said Bersin. "While executives would never use this phrase, that's exactly the way they learn. They want the ability to obtain highly specific, relevant information whenever and wherever it's needed. Companies should factor this need into the learning resources made available to their senior executives."

A copy of the full report can be downloaded at Of the study's 202 respondents, 43% were over age 50 and 40% were between 36 and 50 in age. The vast majority, 84%, were male. 49% of respondents had C-level or vice president titles; 51% had director-level titles.

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