Lesson for 2012: The President is the Leader of a Team
We’re seeing the impact of the lack of leadership and management experience — and it isn’t good!
All through the 2008 Presidential Campaign, there were articles in the conservative press and blogs questioning the leadership and management experience of Senator Obama. Many felt that his relatively light experience in actually performing the executive tasks — forming an organization, formulating decision making processes, recruiting a capable team — was sufficient cause for not electing him.
Turns out there was a whole lot of truth to that position. Richard Pollock’s article focuses on the President’s economic team and the long list of departures of his ‘first team’ players, due to “exhaustion” according to Robert Gibbs. So now we’re months deeper into the problem and we have no one to serve at the top of the President’s staff: bringing him accurate information and alternatives to act on.
This should be a cause for concern for everyone, and it is rapidly becoming more than just a political talking point — the country is in serious trouble and there is little being done to resolve the issue.
Pollock’s article paints a dire picture about how the President is going about replacing those who have left the administration (Romer, Orzag, Summers and a number of others):
No one is being sought who has any experience running a 21st century corporation and who actually knows how to produce jobs. This is what happens when you declare war on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and your closest business ally, the Business Roundtable, excoriates you as they did this summer, saying you have created an “increasingly hostile environment for investment and job creation.”
Time will tell if the White House is finally able to find some dedicated people to fill the void and serve the President and the nation.
We must learn from this experience if we hope to begin the long struggle back to freedom and prosperity through this election cycle and the next, and the next: the individual that becomes the President is first and foremost an executive. The President must be able to recruit, place and sustain a capable team that will have to work hard to bring the government back under control. The White House is a place that demands our best and brightest (see Keith Hennessy, for example), and they have to have the endurance to see the job through. The President must be able to lead and inspire the staff to do that.
As we look at candidates in the upcoming election for President in 2012, we must put emphasis on leadership and executive ability. Elections are all about making the best possible choice out of the candidates that arise — there are no perfect candidates, but some may be more ideal or optimum than others. Previous experience counts for a lot; what they have accomplished in previous offices or in the private sector is very important. What matters most though is character and ability — and the ability must be grounded in the ways and means to lead groups of people to successfully accomplish long term goals.