Presidental ‘Executive Time’ Is Time Well Spent

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Recent news reports, commentators and senators have criticized President Trump for blocking off a number of hours on his calendar for “Executive Time.” The implication is that blocking this time is not really executive behavior. Certainly not presidential. Some are arguing that his Executive Time is a waste of time.

Is this fair?

In fact, blocked-off Executive Time may be the most important time of the day for the manager. 

Journalists, consultants and academia are often confused about the differences between the way an individual contributor and the manager spend their time.  The staffer, who does the work assigned by his supervisor, gets graded on his efficiency — getting more work done in fewer hours and a lower cost. 

But the manager, from the first-line supervisor, to CEO, to President of the United States should not get graded on “efficiency.” The manager should get graded on effectiveness.

Effectiveness is the accomplishment of organizational goals. Here is the, yes, genius, of President Trump. He is steadily and effectively advancing his agenda. He is working toward increased employment, a stronger stock market, a more conservative judiciary, and greater national security. 

Read the entire article here => https://stream.org/president-trumps-executive-time-is-time-well-spent/

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22 Responses

  1. Jack Yoest says:

    This article is required reading for my students at The Catholic University of America

    • Archer Rymiszewski says:

      This article was very interesting and gave me a better understanding of the so called “Executive Time.” When looking at the presidency of Donald Trump he had time blocked throughout the day to make smart decisions. Being the president of the United States, you are always moving from one task to the next so having this time during the day really helped when important decisions had to be made. Having a time throughout the day dedicated to decision making really gave President Trump to focus on those decisions and also anticipate future decisions he may have had to make. I think it was also really interesting to learn about General Newman and his idea on having a time of pure thought. Thinking on issues really gives a person the time to reflect on what has been done as well as anticipating on the future. Executive Time is so important for a leader to make decisions and always think ahead on situations at hand.

  2. Amanda Johnson says:

    The concept of setting aside “executive time” was really interesting. It is not something that many people think about or take seriously, which was clear in this article. Although, it could be a game changer in making great decisions. So often, managers just simply don’t have enough time to put their best foot forward in important decisions. If they establish time to just think about the situation from the beginning, they are enabling themselves to make the best decision. President Trump did just that with his executive time. He created slots of his days where he was able to focus on what was important.

    To add on to the importance of this executive time, I would also like to discuss the point made about making great decisions. The article states, “Effective executives do not make a great many decisions”. This goes back to the importance of taking your time to make decisions. Good, effective managers only have to make few great decisions because that means they took the time to make them great. If they spent their time making many, unimportant decisions, they will leave much less of a positive impact on their organization. Time is arguably one of the most important things to a manager.

  3. Dominic Decker says:

    After reading the article, I have a much better understanding of the importance for managers to have “Executive Time”. President Trump had been scheduling “Executive Time” as part of his daily responsibilities. By scheduling this executive time, President Trump is executing part of Completed Staff Work. As the article states, the manager’s job is to plan, lead, organize, and control. This “Executive Time” is allowing the president to plan his decision making. It is giving him the time to sit down and just think. Thinking is a crucial role for any person in a leadership role. In order for that leader to make a decision, they need the time to truly think about which decision is best. With that comes how all outcomes and consequences will affect others. This is enacting the virtue of practical wisdom. Allowing this time of thought and contemplation gives managers the ability to practice this virtue. Therefore, they will be able to make virtuous decisions which are crucial for managers. Combining virtue with completed staff work optimizes the company’s value and decision making abilities. Scheduling “Executive Time” is actually very beneficial and provided the President with the ability to put completed staff work and virtue in action.

  4. Emily Lynn says:

    It is very important that the boss has time to think and make decisions. After all, that is the main task of the boss. For somebody like the President of the United States, having this time is extremely crucial and valuable. The President is making some of the most important decisions that impact a whole country, all while meeting with other politicians and staff. Among these meetings and hearing people’s concerns, taking the time to sit back and solely think about what needs to be done is necessary. In President Trump’s case, his daily planned “Executive Time” was a chance to make decisions, without other distractions. This is a great tactic for managers to employ, because sometimes it is can be hard to have undistracted time throughout the day to just think.
    This article also gets at another important management strategy: managers should be effective. They do not need to be constantly busy and actively working, but they can actually do nothing. At least it would look like they’re doing nothing because they will be thinking. It is the job of the individual contributors to be working and being efficient, because with their diligent work the manager can make and implement decisions effectively.
    By scheduling time to strictly think and make decisions, managers will be more effective in their work.

  5. After reading the article it was interesting to learn about the concept of “executive time.” The article mentions how president trump would set aside in advance “executive time” in his agenda and for that he was heavily criticized. Something interesting that the article mentions is how we should not judge on “efficiency” but the effectiveness. If the boss is completing his job ahead of time that is where he succeeds. That is something President Trump did he was completing his organizational goals effectively and in advance thus completing his agenda. By setting aside time for “executive time” allows the boss to think about his decision and plan his next move. By planning ahead the manager is able to do his job effectively.

  6. Abby Jackson says:

    “Executive Time” is time that is set aside by an executive in order to focus on decision-making that is effective, but not necessarily efficient. The value of this stems from the practice of CSW by the executive’s employees, as the executive is given time to make decisions if they are not working on finalizing, correcting, or answering questions about a project. If CSW is applied correctly, the boss has the freedom to dedicate plenty of time to put towards considering the decisions they make, which ensures that they can put significant thought and reflection into making sure that their decisions are the correct ones. In this context, it makes sense for a president to ensure that they have time to think and to avoid wasting time on work that could be completed by trusted employees. In this way, instead of taking time out of the day of the manager to collect data, schedule other workers, or do other tasks that don’t carry the weight of the individual’s responsibilities, the manager can focus on making sure that they make the best choices with the information and completed work that they are provided.

  7. Mohammad alajmi says:

    Different people have different gracious gifts or virtues. Every individual works and achieves goals on the basis of those qualities and characteristics which they are blessed with. Different individuals come together for a common vision or mission and contribute in this vision from diverse perspectives. It is the ability of the whole team to achieve shared goals which matters for achieving dominance and superiority in a particular field or area of work.
    Donald Trump, in this example, should be given the freedom to have “Executive Hours” to himself because he needs time to contemplate and reflect on his duties, strategy, and goals. While consultation with other team members is one of the key features of a successful endeavour, individuals can achieve their highest potential of productivity and efficiency by prioritizing themselves over every other person. However, Donald Trump is accountable for his actions. His success is not necessarily measured by how he spends his time but it is better to measure his success on the basis of accomplishments and completion of tasks. For example, as long as Donald Trump is able to achieve his goals of security, improved employment for public, and establishment of a fair conservative judiciary are achieved, how he spends his “Executive Hours” must not be problem for other people.

  8. Luca Mamula says:

    I feel as though there is this notion that every boss, CEO, or person in high power should be working 24/7. After reading this article, it stressed the idea that those in power should have “executive time” to think about everything that is going on. Something that I really liked that was mentioned at the bottom of the article is to “stop and look out the window now and then, and let your mind stand away from problems to see them in perspective.” This stood out to me because, with any problem, it is helpful to take a step back and look at it from an outside perspective. This will allow someone to widen their focus and maybe even notice something that they didn’t before. Another thing that I thought was important to mention is that staff members are graded on efficiency, while a manager is graded on their effectiveness. Staff members should be efficient in solving problems and coming up with solutions, while managers should be effective in implementing these solutions and generating positive changes within the company.

  9. Liam Dearing says:

    Following reading the article, I have a much better grasp of the value of Executive Time for managers. As part of his normal routines, President Trump has set aside “Executive Time.” President Trump is carrying out part of Completed Staff Work by arranging this executive time. The manager’s role, as stated in the article, is to plan, lead, organize, and control. The president can use this “Executive Time” to plan his decisions. It allows him to have some time to sit and contemplate. Any individual in a leadership position must be able to think critically. That leader will need time to thoroughly consider which option is the best before making a choice. Then there’s the question of how all of the results and repercussions will effect others. This is an example of the virtue of practical knowledge in action. Managers may practice this virtue by allowing this time for reflection and contemplation. As a result, they will be capable of making moral judgements, which are critical for managers. When virtue is combined with finished employee work, the company’s worth and decision-making abilities are enhanced. Scheduling “Executive Time” has proven to be quite effective, allowing the President to put finished staff work and virtue into action.

  10. Bailey Reilly says:

    The key takeaway from the article “President Trump’s ‘Executive Time’ is Well Spent” is that a manager is not judged on efficiency, but rather effectiveness in his work. Former President Trump, during his presidency, was placed under fire for understanding this important concept. Trump reserved time blocks in his calendar, called Executive Time, to ensure that his strategies were progressing. It is also important for managers to not confuse action with progress. A manager can be extremely busy all of the time with meetings and various other items on their agenda, but actions are only rewarded if there is steady progress. Because President Trump ensured that there was progress throughout his presidency, his routine of having Executive Time proved to be effective.

    It is also of note that the staffers of the manager are graded for efficiency instead of effectiveness. An effective manager understands that he cannot handle all aspects of an organization by themselves. It is a necessity that the manager understands how to assign tasks to his staff who can then handle any situation by themselves and report back to their manager when a decision needs to be made. It is the manager’s job to ensure that the organization is progressing steadily and they use their staff to ensure that this is the case.

  11. Luke Fahy says:

    ‘Executive time” is crucial to managers in the decision making process. Taking personal “executive time” is an extremely intriguing concept to me. It is a really overlooked and undervalued concept. Not many people consider it and it is clearly very important, the article puts this on full display for the reader to see. It is very common that managers do not posses enough time to put their best foot forward in order to make competent decisions for important problems. This could all be changed if the manager was allowed to take some “executive time” to think and fully unpack all the options on the table. A good example of someone who utilized executive time was President Trump.

    President Donald Trump added special time slots in his days where he was able to hone in on important tasks at hand. This greatly improved his ability to make great decisions and find solutions. Speaking of great decisions, most managers only make a few great decisions rather than many. This is due to the fact that decisions take time, especially those on a bigger scale. The article sheds light on the fact that all great decisions should take up a grave amount of time and thought. This all leads back to time being one of the most important assets to a manager. A manager with the proper amount of “executive time” should be virtually unstoppable as long as they are knowledgeable in what they are doing.

  12. Mark Cheffers says:

    As a manager your one and only job is to make decisions. The manager can not be expected to have all these answers if he does not also have time to think about them. The must take clear uninterrupted time to prioritize, organize and ponder the issues at hand. If the manager does not do this his decisions will lead to no vision and a conclude in a lackluster performance.
    If we look at the office of the president he can be considered the ultimate manger. As the POTUS there are many very difficult decisions to be made. He is the manager of the executive branch leading the government of the US. This is an incredible busy position in itself, but the job of the POTUS is not to be busy, it is to be clear decisive and adept to face challenges. There are hundreds of delegates he can use, their job is to be busy. That is why time to think is not wasted time at all, in fact it prepares the president to do his job more than most activities he is obliged to attend.

  13. Will Turgeon says:

    After reading this article on President Trump’s “executive time,” it made me realize the importance of trust and patience within a workplace. Most people see this “executive time” as a waste of time, but Donald Trump was displaying a level of trust with his staffers that they will steadily improve his agenda. It has been made clear in our discussion of Completed Staff Work that the staffers’ role is to finish the assigned work given by the supervisor, they then complete these tasks as quickly as possible, knowing they are being graded on efficiency. My biggest takeaway from this article was when describing a manager and how they should be graded. They should be graded not by efficiency, but by effectiveness. It does not matter if he takes some rest days in between reaching his agenda. The President is surrounded by trusted staffers that ensure that his agendas are met, even if he is on “executive time.”

  14. Marie Fitzpatrick says:

    President Trump’s idea of executive time exemplifies the role of a manager. Managers are not there to do as many tasks they can that day and anticipate every other move like the followers are but instead they are there to lead and be as effective as possible. This article highlights the importance of true leadership and shows the balance between leadership and followership through the idea of effectiveness compared to efficiency. Leaders are judged on their effectiveness and how well and timely their decisions are while followers are judged on their efficiency and how well they can anticipate their leaders. Trump’s idea of executive time allows leaders to act rationally and execute their goals. While President Trump had executive time, he could clear his mind and actually think. Although having time to think seems simple many leaders do not do this which suffocates their ability to act and think rationally. Having time to just think and reflect as a leader will not only benefit himself to achieve his goals but enable his followers to also contribute to the goals perfectly enabling Completed Staff Work. Additionally, President Trump was acting efficiently through executive time as he was getting things done through others. He was able to fulfill his role as a leader by being the decision-maker and allowing others to take responsibility and act efficiently. Through executive time, managers can make decisions and followers can handle responsibilities and anticipate what needs to be done.

  15. Catalina DeMassi says:

    Personal time for managers is a very important concept. Everyday people should have at least a short break where they can simply think about decisions they made or will make in the future. This time, however, especially when you are busy, can be very hard to block off. I have found in my own schedule that even during the small breaks I have, I am constantly thinking or doing work or homework. Sometimes, people just need to schedule a period of time (even if it is short) everyday to just do nothing. This gives people time to think and clear their heads. This downtime can make people even more productive. If you are constantly working all day every day, then you are likely to get burnt out, but if you have periodic breaks throughout the day, then you are able to accomplish tasks more effectively when you are working. Constantly working does not mean you get more done, however, if you take breaks and section off things in your calendar, you may be even more productive when you are “on the clock.” When you act efficiently, you can accomplish more organizational goals in a timely manner, which will help not only you, but others.

  16. Hisham Alqasoumi says:

    Cutting off executive time is a viable decision as the effectiveness of job at a higher level is nor based on the hours it devote to the workplace, but it is based on making good decisions and making things to be done on time. Therefore, it is essential to first assure that the work is not being affected by the blocking off of executive time and if the outcome is feasible and generate good response then it is all acceptable to continue the decision. The executive manager profiles are not time bounded but they hold the responsibility of making the things done on time and with better usage of resources, for this he needs to make good decisions that add value to the entire process. The cutting off of executive hours provide ample time for the managers and the senior profile persons to think and to accumulate the responses towards betterment of the actions that lead to progress and development. Therefore in my views this decision is completely valid and will resulted in better responses as we have seen his tenure is accompanied with increased employment levels, stronger stock markets, and greater national security which provide positive outcome to the nation.

  17. Pat Buckley says:

    After reading this article, it is clear to me the importance of “Executive Time” in a President’s schedule and the relevance it plays in the President’s day-to-day life. As mentioned in the article, the President is not graded necessarily on his efficiency, but rather the effectiveness of the decisions they make and the implications of those decisions. That is why having “Executive Time” is important, although it may be judged, as managers are supposed to make important decisions. Having “Executive Time” is important for the President to review recommendations made by his staff, as they often anticipate the solutions to problems that arise with being the President. As mentioned in the article, the President does not focus on making a ton of decisions. He just focuses on important decisions and implementing his solutions both efficiently and effectively. If the President focused on every problem they have, they wouldn’t have the same effectiveness as focusing only on the major problems. This is where the staff comes to play, anticipating problems and offering recommendations for solutions. “Executive Time” is not only important for the President to review situations and things sent in by his staff, it is also a time to decompress and focus on making decisions that is best for the country.

  18. Luke N. says:

    Trump often planned out his days with “executive time” taking what many people found to be far to significant chunks of time. But many misunderstand that the amount of time a manager or in this case the president is not an educator of how well they are doing. A manager ought to be judged based on how effective he is, not on how long he works. Some might even argue that a manager who works too much is in fact ineffective. Regardless of one’s feelings regardings Trump’s politics, Trump had a busy four years. His method of running his administration allowed him to at least begin much of what he sought to accomplish. As a manager he would not have been as effective if he simply tried to commit more time to his work. To be an effective leader sometimes one must use their time to simply do nothing. This allows for one to make more balanced decisions and think over previous ones made. Many executives often say they wish they had more time to think about a problem, not that they wish they had taken on more problems. Understanding this makes the schedule Trump opted for perhaps more understandable.

  19. Michael Velasquez says:

    I agree with the argument of working hard does not equate to working efficiently and effectively. Through reading the article and better understanding completed staff work, I understand that in order for work to be done efficiently, there must be delegation and anticipation. In other words, one should not carry out all the work, especially if their primary role is to manage or lead, instead, one should delegate the tasks and allow their staff to carry on the work. In this manner, the manager or leader would be able to do their job more effectively and efficiently, which is to manage and lead. Although in the articles it is stated that effective and efficient may be distinct, they may also be related. If one is able to delegate the tasks and they are done effectively, then they would be able to complete more tasks efficiently as well through their staff. As stated in the article, “executive time” is like the game plan, in order to get things done effectively, there must be a plan in which work can be done efficiently through the staff. It is interesting to see how former president Trump had used “executive time” to be able to work effectively even though from an outside perspective it seems as if it is wasting time. This may be the reason why it is often not implemented in many situations. If more people understood how effective “executive time” is, then it may be implemented into many more situations.

  20. Meg Higgins says:

    This is a very interesting article and brings to light how the mainstream media can create titles for articles to make people seem like they are doing something wrong when they really are not. As professor Yoest highlights in the article that a manager’s job is to get things done through other people. I think that this is something really important to point out, especially in the context of the president. It is not always them making the decisions and I think that is something that the public does not realize. So President Trump blocking off this time may look bad to the media and to the public but he could have been doing some good work during that time to delegate to the other people that work for him. Downtime is important for a manager to have so that they can work on things that they need to delegate to the rest of the team.

  21. Matthew DiSanto says:

    I find this article quite interesting on the different takes of executive time from media to the President of the United States. It is important to highlight the difference from efficiency and effectiveness. To be a great manager, they must be effective. Effectiveness is the accomplishment of organizational goals. Even though it is not as efficient to attain these goals, they are milestones in organizations. It may seem like the manager is doing nothing, but this blocked-off executive time may be the most important time of the day for the manager. Peter Drucker highlights effective executives concentrate on what is important and try to make the few important decisions on the highest level of conceptual thinking. In this case, for President Trump his effective agenda was to work towards increasing employment, maintain a stronger stock market, have a more conservative judiciary, and have greater national security. All of this wouldn’t be achieved through efficiency, but through effectiveness, and that takes time. To be an effective leader, sometimes the best use of executive time is to simply do nothing and just reflect and think. With this time, an executive must have active support from his staff as well.

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