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Paul R. Lawrence

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How To Be Successful in the Trump Administration: Four Lessons From Previous Political Appointees

December 16, 2016 The first round of the Trump Administration Cabinet nominations is nearly complete. In the weeks ahead, subcabinet positions will be announced. Nominees face a difficult period between nomination and confirmation and they must proceed carefully. There is, however, much they can do to prepare for the responsibilities to come. Based...

What the State Department Can Teach Agencies About Preparing New Appointees for the Job

December 14, 2016 We recently called for the new administration to revisit how political appointees are prepared for their new positions. We recommended that each cabinet department assume responsibility for onboarding their new appointees, and that agencies step up the activities undertaken between the nomination and confirmation as well as increase in the...

Needed: A New Approach for Onboarding Political Appointees

December 2, 2016 Change is the new keyword of 2016. A new administration was elected in November on the promise of bringing change to Washington. To make this happen, the new team needs to carefully evaluate how Washington currently does business and what it should do differently in the future. An immediate first...

Your Guide to a Presidential Appointment in the Next Administration

June 28, 2016 In a recent article (“Thousands of Federal Jobs Are About to Come Open, but You’re Probably Not Going to Get One”), we pointed out that the number of political appointees can be misleading. You often hear 3,000, 6,000, and even 8,000 positions on occasion. For those seeking a presidential appointment,...

Avoiding a Government of Lawyers and Former Congressional Staffers

May 26, 2016 The two presumptive presidential candidates are now vetting vice presidential candidates. Putting together an entire administration is not too far off. Based on our experience over the last seven years in interviewing 65 top level political executives in the Obama Administration, we gained insights about the professional experiences of those...

Do You Have What It Takes To Be a Political Appointee?

May 2, 2016 The start of a new Administration is still months away, but planning for 2017 has already begun. The New York Times recently presented an in-depth article on the forthcoming transition, highlighting a recent transition planning meeting held in New York. Vetting for the first personnel decision is already underway—both the...

Leon Panetta’s Hard Lessons in Leadership

October 24, 2014 A host of memoirs by former Obama administration Cabinet chiefs have been arriving in bookstores, offering valuable management lessons for political appointees and career civil servants. This is the last in a series on the experiences of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (Stress Test), Defense Secretary Robert Gates (Duty), Secretary of...

Hillary Clinton's Lessons in Executive Diplomacy

July 21, 2014 A host of memoirs by former Obama administration Cabinet chiefs have been arriving in bookstores, offering valuable management lessons for political appointees and career civil servants. This is the third in a series on the experiences of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (Stress Test), Defense Secretary Robert Gates (Duty), Secretary of...

Robert Gates on How to Survive–and Thrive–Despite Bureaucracy

June 19, 2014 A host of memoirs by former Obama administration Cabinet chiefs have been arriving in bookstores, offering valuable management lessons for political appointees and career civil servants. This is the second in a series on the experiences of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (Stress Test), Defense Secretary Robert Gates (Duty), Secretary of...

What Agency Executives Can Learn From Robert Gates

June 19, 2014 A host of memoirs by former Obama administration Cabinet chiefs have been arriving in bookstores, offering valuable management lessons for political appointees and career civil servants. This is the second in a series on the experiences of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (Stress Test), Defense Secretary Robert Gates (Duty), Secretary of...