Second Terms are for Second Chances

By Dana Grinshpan

November 27, 2012

Presidential second terms are for second chances. They provide the least awkward chance for presidents to redirect their mission, update their goals, and rearrange key advisors and positions. Second terms also solidify agendas and the way forward, giving Congress assurances about where the next four years are going—thereby making compromise more tenable.

Of course, new political issues and catfights will emerge. Martha Kumar, professor in the department of political science at Towson University and director of the White House Transition Project told the Government Business Council (GBC), “Presidents end up with issues that are often the leftovers that didn’t get enacted in the first term. A couple of issues that come up in most administrations are immigration and social security. They come up because they are so hard to get through”. Importantly, she notes, second term presidents are more experienced and wise to the ways of Washington .

In a recent study seasoned political appointees were surveyed about their relationships with career executives. Eighty-nine percent of appointees reported that working with career executives is either important or very important. When asked to list three things they would recommend to their successor, the appointees recommended listening, trust, and communication as the key things that are important for any transition process. Appointees undoubtedly have an appreciation for the necessity of working with career federal employees; however times of change can make the process more complicated. The Government Business Council (GBC) has combed through its archives of case studies, reports, focus groups, and surveys to identify important tips that will help federal managers through any presidential transition. In concert with expert interviews and secondary research, the following areas were identified:

This is just a preview of an upcoming report from the Government Business Council on How to Manage through a Presidential Transition. Look for a preview in the print edition of the December issue of Government Executive and the full report online in the beginning of December.

What advice do you have for getting through a transition?


By Dana Grinshpan

November 27, 2012

http://www.govexec.com/excellence/promising-practices/2012/11/second-terms-are-second-chances/59741/