How To Recapture 5% of Your Time. Start, Stop, Do Something Differently.

Jim Stikeleather

A CIO must constantly evaluate how to allocate her most valuable asset, time. Time is money. According to Gartner’s CIO Survey, high-performing, time-savvy CIOs can realize a 5 percent “time bonus,” which translates to two hours a week or more than 100 hours per year.

What would that change for you? We are adept at valuing money today and in the future – basic investment concepts such as net present value and compound interest can tie numbers in a bow – yet we are ill equipped when it comes to measuring the value of our own time. CIOs must be ahead of the curve and know where investing their time will pay the highest dividends and save time in the future.

Assess the value of where you spend your time

A simple exercise is key. CIOs must ask the following question: “What am I going to start, stop and do differently today?” Every assessment of priorities must first begin with three critical questions:




If your answer is “no” to any of these three questions, then stop in your tracks. Take stock of the initiative’s value, your organizational core competencies and legal requirements, and either shift, stop or remain on track. Adjustments typically focus on four main areas:

  1. relationships and interactions,
  2. resources and allocation,
  3. questions and focus, and
  4. outcomes and activities.


Move toward long-term goals with daily steps and prioritization

Start small with five minutes daily. What’s your top priority? How can you anticipate your company’s needs today that will yield positive dividends in the future? By assessing today and investing wisely, you are saving future time, as Gartner states. Be nimble – don’t be afraid to embrace incremental changes as logical objectives toward long-term goals. Think of what you could accomplish by devoting five minutes per day with your team to ensure they are focused on the things that matter most to your business and key stakeholders.

We have seen through our C-suite research with Forbes, The Economist Intelligence Unit and Harvard Business Review that those CIOs who are effective at doing this with business strategy ideation and development for their companies outperform their peers by a ratio of 2:1.  According to John Dubois, managing director of Global Business Consulting, Dell Digital Business Services, “Without C-suite buy-in, digital transformation projects tend to fail. It’s just too difficult to get the necessary companywide support for and the business process, organizational and technology changes you have to make.” CIOs who aren’t adept in this respect need to stop and do something differently, including acquiring new skills as needed.

In the coming weeks, Dell will be sharing some real-life examples of “Start, Stop, and Do Differently” based on feedback received from top-level CIOs. We will share with you insights from your peers on how they are taking back their time and reinvesting it at much higher returns, both individually and at the organizational level.

In the meantime, begin each day allocating your most important resource – your time. Don’t hesitate to stop based on your daily evaluation. Start fresh. Do something differently. And reap the rewards.

 Jim Stikeleather is Dell’s chief innovation officer. 

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