How to Prepare for the Upcoming Presidential Transition


I’m peering into my crystal ball and I see your future… I see big changes in the next six months… I see a stranger embarking on a long journey and will ask you to follow that path too… I see many new people and a whole world of new ideas… Oh wait–that’s inauguration.

It’s coming, people. Regardless of what happens at the conventions or with the election, on Friday, January 20, a new boss and a whole new executive team will show up. It is a fact—a fixed point in the future. A future that you know with 100% certainty–which means you can plan for it. People in the private sector would kill for this kind of insider information.

So, what can you do now to position yourself, your co-workers, and the very important work you do for this monumental shift?

  1. Grab some perspective along with your double half-caf soy latte with two pumps of caramel. Change of administration is a process, not a day. It could take months—maybe years—for your full executive team to be in place. Have you prepared yourself, your colleagues, and your projects for a potentially long period of uncertainty and the risk that goes with that? Getting your head wrapped around that will avoid a whole lot of frustration down the road.
  2. After you rake up the leaves, clear the deck. New ideas mean new projects. You want to be part of what’s happening next in your organization? You are going to need time and space to do that. Wrap up as much work as you can and put it to bed. Start booking time in your day now for new ideas and opportunities.
  3. Shop the transition buffet and grab opportunities to participate in the transition. Transition teams will parachute into your agency within days of the election. Are there working groups you can volunteer for now that will give you the opportunity to make a great first impression? Grab them now. Find out who the person is at your agency responsible for transition and shock him or her by volunteering.
  4. Become a cyberstalker—but not the creepy kind. Research the people who are nominated to lead your agency. Understand who they are and what their relationships are. Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook at a minimum.
  5. Take stock of your skills and update your resume. Compare what you bring to the table to your enabling legislation and your strategic plan. Do what you can now to close any gaps. The top three skills that will always serve you well? Leadership, writing, public speaking. Even if you are the most gifted communicator in the world, you can always polish these to a brilliant shine.

What not to do? Sit there imitating an ostrich. Yes, the giant flightless bird that sticks its head into the sand. I’m peering into my crystal ball and I see your future… I see big changes in the next six months…

Want to learn more? Check out the following:

Center for Presidential Transition: http://presidentialtransition.org/

GSA Presidential Transition: http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/26427

Executive Order on Presidential Transition: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/05/06/executive-order-facilitation-presidential-transition

Jeri Buchholz is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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