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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

Romney in the Bureaucratic Weeds

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Just how detail-oriented is Mitt Romney? Conisder this anecdote that leads a New York Times exploration of his management style:

As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney could not resist burrowing into the bureaucratic weeds: He once took the statewide math and reading test for 10th graders, then startled his education commissioner by calling to say, “I like No. 14” and rattling off the answer.

Still, the Times' reports, Romney "is not so much a micromanager as a microprocessor, wading deeply into the raw data usually left to junior aides. He entrusts advisers with responsibility, but keeps them on a short leash, monitoring them through a flurry of progress reports and review sessions."

Other highlights of the profile:

  • Romney has a talent for recruiting disparate teams, molding a workplace culture and establishing priorities.
  • Former colleagues in the public and private sectors say he "loathes pushing out people with whom he works closely and will do just about anything to avoid it." But he did force out several people during his tenure as Massachusetts governor when he thought their actions reflected badly on his administration.
  • Romney's big on small gestures. "At Bain Capital, he instituted a rule that every meeting begin with a joke."
  • After he was named chief executive of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 1999, he played Romeo in an office production of Romeo and Juliet, opposite a male colleague in drag.

Want to read further about Romney's management approach in both the public and private sectors? Read Kellie Lunney's profile in the September issue of Government Executive.

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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