C-level span of control diagnostic tool

What is your target number of direct reports?

We invite you to use this real-time learning tool to help you assess your target span of control looking forward for the next two years. There are 13 questions in five categories. After each set of questions, the tool resets the target span on the display bar.

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Question 1:Please answer this question to get a valid result.

Question 2:Please answer this question to get a valid result.

Question 3:Please answer this question to get a valid result.

Question 4:Please answer this question to get a valid result.

Question 5:Please answer this question to get a valid result.

Question 6:Please answer this question to get a valid result.

Question 7:Please answer this question to get a valid result.

Question 8:Please answer this question to get a valid result.

Question 9:Please answer this question to get a valid result.

Your position in the executive lifecycle (Questions 1-3)

  1. How long have you been in your role?
     
  2. How many direct reports do you expect to change?
     
  3. What is the status of the strategy?
     

Degree of cross-collaboration (Questions 4-7)

  1. How much time do you spend on collaboration across units?
     
  2. How related are your businesses?
     
  3. How global are your operations?
     
  4. How adept at collaboration is your team?
     

Activities beyond your direct span (Questions 8-9)

  1. How much time do you spend with others besides your direct reports (e.g., customers, regulators, field operations)?
     
  2. Are these "outside" activities aligned to advancing strategic priorities?
     

For CEOs only (Question 10)

  1. Are you playing dual roles?
     

Current span and situation

  1. How many direct reports do you have now?
     
  2. What is your level in the organization?
     
  3. What is your role/function?
     

Results and readings

Results: You currently have X direct reports and your target span of control is Y to Z direct reports based on your responses.
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This article by Strategy&’s Gary Neilson and Harvard Business School Associate Professor Julie Wulf, published in the April 2012 issue of the Harvard Business Review, looks at the logical evolution of a CEO’s span of control and offers advice for managers as they progress in their careers.
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For any incoming C-level senior executive, your number of direct reports can drag you down — unless you can identify and build a structure that is fit for purpose.
Management spans and layers
If you look closely at the management ranks of many Fortune 500 corporations, you'll see: excessive layers and narrow spans of control, particularly among mid-level directors and managers. The result is often bureaucratic buildup, bottle-necked decision-making, and a general lack of innovation.

 

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