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How do CEO’s get their information?

04.12.2013
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Information is arguably the lifeblood of any senior executive.  It’s the basis upon which their decisions are made.  Understanding how executives gather information is therefore incredibly important to understanding their effectiveness.  New research has set-out to uncover just how leading executives hunt for information.

CEO.com and Domo surveyed over 35o CEOs to find out just how and where executives get their information.  Their findings provide some interesting insights into the habits and behaviours of executives, although there was a frustrating omission from their findings (more of which later).

The main trend from the report was that most executives are consuming information digitally.  75% of executives under the age of 50 revealed that they consume most of their information online.  The over 50′s were similar, but came in at just under 65%.

This information was primarily in text based formats.  57% of respondents said they preferred reading online over other forms of content, although a sizeable chunk (22%) were information agnostics, suggesting that the quality was more important than the format.

What kind of content do they look for?

News was by far the most popular type of topic hunted for by executives.  80% said that most of the information they consumed was business news, although for executives of large companies, market and industry trends also scored very highly.

The Social CEO

The report also highlighted the growing, albeit still relatively limited, interest in social media by executives.  Interestingly, nearly 75% of executives under 50 found LinkedIn a useful social network, but the figure was more like 50% for those over 50.  The site was the most popular social network amongst executives of either age group though.

A social business omission

Sadly no mention was made in the report about internal social networks and whether executives made use of them in their hunt for information.  Indeed, no mention was made of internal information at all, which given the rise of both internal social networks and big data seems a strange omission. The survey instead focuses purely on the external information executives consume rather than looking at how they receive and gather information internally.

Whilst external information is undoubtedly important to the behaviours of an executive, it’s arguably more important to understand how they get information internally.  So whilst the report is interesting to an extent, I feel it missed a real trick in ignoring the full gambit of our leaders information gathering habits.