The Prince of Prioritization
All effective managers know that the secret to success is to control your minutes. After that the hours take care of themselves. When you start the day, you begin with a prioritized list and at the end of the day, you move the unfinished projects to the top of tomorrow’s list. If you don’t believe me, consult the many books by my former neighbor-across-the-lake, the late Stephen Covey, whose approach to goal setting have helped millions become more effective in our lives both personal and public.
In light of all this, and in an economy which teeters on the brink of disaster, it’s not exactly good news to learn that the President of the United States of America has spent a total of 412 hours in economic meetings since he took office and, being the master of prioritization that he is, he’s devoted over 600 hours to golf. Egad. This means that, if you leave out Sundays and Holidays, he has spent approximately 138 minutes per week engaging in the business of restoring this nation’s economic equilibrium. Put another way, it means that Barack Obama has spent fewer than 24 hours in economic meetings since he assumed the mantle of greatness.
A new study by the Government Accountability Institute finds that in his first 1257 days in office, the President didn’t just blow off meetings with his economic advisors, but he also misses his intelligence briefings regularly. In truth, he’s missed over half of the meetings he’s scheduled to attend. (This news gives me comfort. At least people are not feeding him information that he and Tom Donilon can “leak” to the media and put our troops in more danger than they bargained for.)
Lest you imagine that I want the President of these United States to be a slave to his duties, know that I believe that his job is to get things done. It doesn’t matter if HE does the things, what matters is that progress is made. All executives should surround themselves with excellent people to do the heavy lifting so that he or she might devote more time to decision-making. Sadly, though, this administration hasn’t managed to make any progress at all. Yes. Obama took over at a dire time in our history. But the fact remains that things have gotten worse under his regime, not better. Either he hasn’t employed good people or he hasn’t taken his job seriously or…and this is what I suspect …both.
Of course White House Press secretary Jay Carney scoffs at the GAI report, but he can’t scoff too hard. The GAI gets its information from public documents available from the White House which track how POTUS spends his time. Of course, Carney, like Obama, seems to think that by saying a thing aloud that thing automatically becomes fact. (I once had a husband with delusions of grandeur too. He hung around far longer than Barack Obama will – unless, of course, he tells us that we have misinterpreted the constitutional language around presidential term limitations.)