100 days to settle in

by wonderfullyrich on February 6, 2009

It dawned on me when I was listening to the Daily Show talk about Obama’s mea culpa on his day 15 of being in the White House, that the first 100 days of any White House is destin to screw up quite a bit.

Most new people in any job take somewhere around 3 months to become a fully productive worker.  This is something I’ve learned from my studies into management, and is pretty well understood by managers across the board.  Obviously there are caveats, as lower skill set workers require less time to get trained up and spend most of that time adapting to the social norms of the environment.  Vice versa is true for high skilled workers with complex job responsibilities in a very new environment.

Yet as long as I’ve been paying attention to politics, which admittedly isn’t long, I’ve seen Presidents lose nominees due to bad vetting.  If you think about it in terms of him settling into a new job, where not just one person has to acclimate, but everyone around you does too, both to the new people and the existing bureaucracy, I’m actually surprised as how well any given President does.  In theory they have some advantages, i.e. their team cohesiveness for Presidential staff should be high due to having run a campaign with similar people, the fact that they are all so new could improve their comradery and spark quickly defining norms, and more then likely they’ve got old pros in for advice and guidance.

It’s not really that simple though, as they still have to deal with a press corp that is a well refined engine, the House and Senate leaders have been around this block before and have more experience at finding dirt, old policies by the previous president generally hinder the new president (even if it was a like minded president) as the new president has his own adgenda and style, the expectation level of everyone is extremely high which translates into high stress and anxiety for those at the top (studies showing both affect decision making), etc. etc.

My point is that leadership at the presidental level, although hopefully full of well organized, smart, and effective managers, is likely to have quite a few bumps in the road from a purely logistical stand point, let alone within the current system. You can only prepare so much for a new job as leader of the free world, without actually being the leader of the free world.

Does that excuse the current snafu with Obama?  No, but I know the Republicans will try and make a point out of it, just like any opposition party has done with every previous President.  It’s still poltics as normal, but hopefully you along with me have a better perspective with the challenge of the job and how a double standard sometimes is applied to elected officials.

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