Chapter 11

Brilliance in Brief


In This Chapter

  • Introduction of the importance of brief interactions.
  • Observations of leaders’ effective time use.
  • Suggestions for maximizing brief interactions.

In 1973 Henry Mintzberg published a landmark book entitled The Nature of Managerial Work. In it he described how managers whom he had observed engaged in extremely brief interactions. The average CEO interaction lasted nine minutes or less, with the average one-on-one meeting being only twelve minutes long. Their phone calls averaged six minutes.

The foremen that he observed had interactions that lasted on average forty-eight seconds. “Management,” he concluded, “was simply one damn thing after another.” Mintzberg then noted that the big ...

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