Guidelines for A Smooth Transition

Ever since both Secretary Clinton and President-Elect-Trump accepted the Presidential nominations from their respective parties over the summer, dedicated transition teams in each camp have been working tirelessly towards a seamless transition of power. While the majority of this work has taken place behind the scenes during the campaign, Trump’s transition team is now in the spotlight.

For this week’s DorobekINSIDER, GovLoop’s Christopher Dorobek sat down with The Partnership for Public Service’s, Tom Fox, to discuss what the sprint between election day and the inauguration looks like.

There are only 73 days between the day after the election and the actual inauguration and it is critical that Trump’s team optimizes every one of those days. Fox explained, “the new Administration is essentially responsible for a 4-million-person organization, an annual budget of nearly $4 trillion, and more than 4,000 critical leadership positions to fill so there is a lot of work that needs to be done within that timeframe.”

In order to maximize their efforts, Fox recommended the transition teams prioritize how they spend their time. “The Trump campaign will have to go into agencies and meet with folks so they can establish landing teams to gather the information they need so that the incoming leaders can be prepared and ready to lead effectively and as soon as possible,” Fox said. “When the transition teams establish these landing teams, they need to prepare other executives and career leaders to help onboard and orient both the landing teams and eventually senate confirmed appointees.”

This process will be especially critical with the Trump Administration, as much of the prospective incoming leadership have not worked in government before. Fox emphasized, “the learning curve is steep under any circumstance, even with experienced federal leaders, but the learning curve is more steep if you have not previously had political or government experience before.”

Fox continued to explain that a good transition will make sure current processes are clear and understandable, establish clear avenues to success for the new team, and ensure that any problematic polices are flagged as soon as possible. “The last thing a career employee wants to do want to do is embarrass the new leadership when they come in,” Fox said. Making sure that everything is set up and ready to go for the new leadership can help mitigate this.

Moving forward with the transition, change is a key theme and the transition is an opportunity to raise processes and suggest changes to make programs more effective. Fox underscored that every president is focused on these programs and policies, however, “there’s no policy that can occur without good management behind it and that’s been a key theme that we’ve tried to communicate to both campaigns, and that we’re optimistic will be part of the upcoming transition.”

Both the incoming political leadership and the career leaders will be welcoming and onboarding new leaders, so it is critical to move past traditionally stereotypes. “Our hope is that the new incoming political leadership will understand that relationship with career executives and employees can actually be an accelerator to implementation,” Fox concluded.

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