The presidential transition is a complex process of critical national importance. You need to assemble a formidable team to navigate the inevitable and, for some, unenviable work of the presidential transition.
Choose the right people for your team, and you’ll run a smooth presidential transition that sets a positive tone at your agency for the next four years. Choose the wrong people, and you may make the transition more exhausting and stressful for everyone involved, which can damage team morale and erode people’s confidence in your leadership.
It’s not a choice to take lightly. What types of people should you choose for your presidential team?
1. People who thrive in uncertainty
A presidential transition is all about dramatic change. It’s more than just a new president. Election Day will kick off changes in agency leadership, priorities, policy, staffing, resources, and more.
You need people on your presidential transition team who can think through all the likely scenarios of what the transition could bring. They’ll know how to suss out what matters and what doesn’t. They’ll devise a nimble course of action and be able to adjust the plan as the future unfolds. They’ll adapt quickly to turn unexpected disruptions into surprising wins.
2. People who are unflappable
The presidential transition is guaranteed to be a stress-inducing process. Some types of people get sucked in by stress, allowing it to consume their positivity and inhibit their productivity. You don’t want those people on your presidential transition team.
You need people who practice self-care strategies and know how to squash stress. People who know that it’s important to stay clear-headed no matter how far things stray from the best-case scenario. People whose calm composure can diffuse a stressful situation.
3. People who are great communicators
In the coming months, your agency will need to connect with partners, community organizations, constituents, stakeholders, and the community at large to help everyone understand what the presidential transition means to them. But, you’re not just looking for people who can be trusted to speak from a podium or write your newsletter. You also need people who can communicate tactfully and clearly with coworkers.
These great communicators will have a natural talent for forming connections with others. They’ll listen more than they talk. They’ll know how to be persuasive without resorting to coercion, credible without slipping into condescension, and authentic without losing their professionalism.
4. People who ask questions
The presidential transition will be a new experience for many people on your team. It’s unlikely that anyone will know everything they need to in order to get the job done.
You need people who are comfortable asking questions when the path ahead isn’t clear. People who know when to request help, and how to focus their questions in ways that create solutions instead of merely expressing doubt. Cultivate this confidence by creating a team culture that actively supports curiosity, inquiry, and creativity.
5. People who work collaboratively
A successful transition requires a lot of people with a variety of skills and backgrounds to work together. Many will also need to overcome their personal feelings about the president-elect.
You need people on your team who will show respect for their coworkers, even if and especially when they disagree. They’ll never hold back information or hoard resources, and they’ll be generous with ideas and advice. They’ll appreciate how much they can learn from others, particularly those different from themselves.
6. People who get stuff done
There’s so much to do to get ready for the presidential transition, and not a lot of time to do it.
You need people who know how to prioritize when everything seems equally important and urgent. Who will hold themselves accountable for their share of the work, and still be willing to pitch to help teammates meet their deadlines. People who will be as valuable and productive today as they will 100 days into the new presidency.
What other types of people do you know you need on your presidential transition dream team? Share your ideas in a comment.
Lauren Girardin is a marketing and communications consultant, writer, and speaker based in San Francisco. She helps organizations engage their communities and tell their stories. Her website is laurengirardin.com and you can connect with her on Twitter at @girardinl.