Advice for President Obama on developing talent
Max’s advice for February 8, 2009
Dear President Obama,
Max grew up as the son of a man who knew ‘ALL’ the answers to the problems of the world. Max’s father said so! Many times, his father let everyone know that anyone who didn’t know that he had the answers was a turkey or a knucklehead.
The famous Ma Bell, the second most powerful force in the world (next to God of course), thought so much of Max’s father’s opinions, that she made him ‘Supervisor of Troubles’. This is true!
The advice Max promised you, President Obama.
Bring in young and untested people to build tomorrow’s leaders.
Max’s head is spinning with all the brilliant names that you have listed to fill the chairs that lead the people. You have pulled together many of the stars of the past decade to lead us into the next decade.
During the immediate crisis this is most definitely what you need to do. The people who are taking posts in your cabinet and top positions have shown that they are reliable, intelligent and capable through years of experience and completed projects.
Yet the best managers plan for sucession from the first day. It is possible that you are doing this, though it is equally possible that you are not. If you are planning succession within the cabinets, you should communicate this. If you are not, you may want to get started on this.
Even if you have people in mind, it is important that these people build credentials that will convince Congress that they are not lightweights. With a past star like George Mitchell leading the way on some negotiations, it is important that someone working with him gets very visible billing. This will make it possible to complete anything he starts.
If your administration is a truly 21st century organization; you need to be able to respond to events without missing a beat. The failure of Mr. Daschle to make the cut has left you without a realistic Plan B. Several people should have been vetted and ready to go.
The organization model that is in opposition to the model of a Republic is a model where leaders exist that can be promoted on the demise of any leader. We have not yet tested if the loss of the top leader will make a difference.
Our government is by its very design intended to be slow and deliberate. This design tends to protect liberty and to reduce the risk of tryanny. At the same time there is no reason that the positions that make up this shouldn’t have a long waiting line of available candidates ready to step in as needed.
The other models of governments may be more agile than ours. Many have a simpler succession plan where the next person in a simple heirarchy takes the reins. This limits the depth that any person can be prepared to assume any single position. Each position is by necessity clouded in secrecy.
In our form of government, only a few positions are truly shrouded in secrecy (by necessity) while most can function quite well with a high degree of transparency.
Building a succession plan with multiple candidates who are coming up from the following generations is a good way of assuring a long and strong future for the country.
Max wishes you well in all your efforts to build transparency in government.
Max writes about greenways, rare diseases, timely topics, places to eat, travel and other issues of interest. He encourages you to add your comments.
Link one leads to Obama supported Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006.
Link three is the Office of Management and Budget public watch website.
Link two is ombgov.org a watchdog group formed around spending transparency.