Help For The President

The President has some, admittedly, significant and difficult management and leadership issues magnified by a lack of experience.  Looking through the White House roster it’s hard to identify who the President would actually turn to for leadership and management support.    

So, Mr. President, in the absence of executive experience in the White House here are some suggestions that you may find helpful.

Leadership is a consistent, passionate, optimistic illumination of vision.  Management is an exercise in task completion.  Don’t confuse the two.

Unintended consequences are minimized by pressing and leading the evaluation of the worse case scenario and its implications.  The worse case scenario is typically where the unintended consequences live.  The drilling moratorium would be a fair example.

The 80/20 rule says that 80% of any solution lies in effective analysis and addressment of 20% of the issues that impact the solution. This rule, when applied, results in focus and directed action. 

Tell the truth, tell them you don’t know or tell them you can’t tell them.  Pick one of the three, never vary.

Cconsistency is important; take care not to blame others as you tell students to step up and take responsibility.  You see, sir, that absent certain points of consistency all comments and commitments come into question.  It is also true that saying you take responsibility and taking it are two different situations. 

If you say it, you have to do it; credibility depends on it, even for politicians.

Control is an illusion!  This is especially the case in a crisis.  You must make up for the lack of control with a focus on engagement, proactive motivation and competence. 

Accountability is important, but it’s not everything.  Counting bad results instead of trying to change bad results doesn’t work.  Assigning accountability to folks who have already accepted it does not create a cooperative environment.  The “so, do you still beat your wife” question is essentially unproductive.

Delegation beyond the scope of capabilities is the death knell of crisis management.  In a crisis, formal organization must be replaced by a commitment to get the best talent in place no matter what the organizational chart says. 

Spending and investing is not the same thing.

The pursuit of an “ass” to kick(someone to blame)  guarantees that more critical issues and opportunities will go screaming by unnoticed. 

The right answers, typically, have a short shelf life.  The pursuit of the next right answer is an inescapable mantle of leadership that begins immediately following the acceptance of the current right answer.

Hope this helps, Mr. President.