The Presidential Appointee's Handbook

The Presidential Appointee's Handbook

G. Edward DeSeve
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 123
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  • Book Info
    The Presidential Appointee's Handbook
    Book Description:

    With every new presidential administration, thousands of highly accomplished individuals face one of the greatest challenges of their lives: learning to become an effective presidential appointee. This handbook will help ease that task. In clear, crisp language, punctuated by numerous examples, Edward DeSeve explains the ten core competencies that distinguish successful presidential appointees. These skills and abilities range from personal dedication to public service and the ability to manage change to global awareness. In illustrating these concepts, DeSeve draws on ideas developed by scholars of public and business management, as well as his many years of government service. Equally important, he presents a guide to the key terms, laws, and regulations that new appointees will have to deal with once in office. Not surprisingly, presidential appointees have typically been successful in their professional lives. These are people accustomed to getting things done. But for many of them, the federal government constitutes a brave new world, full of daunting challenges and potential pitfalls. The Presidential Appointee's Handbook will help them find their footing and effectively formulate, implement, and enforce the policies of the president at whose pleasure they serve. It will also help political observers grasp more fully the enormity of installing and operating a new government.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-0171-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-x)
    David M. Walker

    As a presidential appointee of former presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton and a past head of three federal agencies spanning both the executive and legislative branches of government, I can assure you that, as a new presidential appointee, you are embarking on one of the most challenging and fulfilling jobs you will ever have. This handbook is designed to help you get off to a faster start and to enhance your ability to make a difference by benefiting from lessons learned by others who have preceded you. I encourage you to do your homework and...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Part I. Competencies of a Presidential Appointee

    • ONE Leading for Results
      (pp. 7-19)

      As a presidential appointee you have come to Washington to get results—results that the president has promised the American people, results that the American people expect. Your job in achieving these results is, above all, leadership. You must inspire others. You must also help others set goals, track their progress toward meeting those goals, and measure their achievement.

      To help you accomplish these tasks, a framework for management is essential. This framework will allow you to relate goals to measurable results. The process of measuring specific results has been refined and developed by many departments and agencies. The purpose...

    • TWO Managing Change
      (pp. 20-31)

      Every four or eight years, a wave of new people, new ideas, and new policies arrive in the nation’s capital. Changes occur at the highest level but also at the agency and subagency levels. Managing such change requires a knowledge of how to lead change or how to advise others who are leading it. Often this change comes in the form of innovation in policy or operations that require outside-of-the-box thinking, which is often hard to sell.

      This chapter presents a framework for implementing change as well as a discussion of how to focus on innovation, including intuition and optimism—...

    • THREE Providing Technical Ability
      (pp. 32-42)

      All presidential appointees coming into a new administration have their own specific skill sets. Some may be accountants, others policy specialists, and others political or communications specialists. Technical knowledge and the ability to apply it are central to an appointee’s role in the administration. Each agency and office is seeking to attract talented individuals who can contribute to the mission of the organization. To make this task easier, databases are created by the Office of Presidential Personnel that highlight the technical skills needed and those available. While political and policy considerations are always important, technical competence is often the key...

    • FOUR Leading Others
      (pp. 43-61)

      One standard management text defines leadership as follows: ”Leadership is the process by which one individual influences others to accomplish desired goals.”¹ This definition has been countered by others. James MacGregor Burns says that there are two potential sets of goals: transactional and transformational; Daniel Goleman says that leadership is primal; Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus say that leadership is about trust.² They are all right. Cataloging the aspects of leadership is a complex study in itself.

      The Jepson School of Leadership at the University of Richmond, a major center for leadership studies, defines the method of teaching this discipline...

    • FIVE Leading Yourself
      (pp. 62-75)

      ”Know thyself” is an adage as old as Greek mythology. It is variously attributed to Socrates, Thales, and Pythagoras, among others. Often when we see it, we tend to move on and think, ”Right. Got that one.” But do we? The nine attributes discussed below can serve as a checklist for these questions with regard to yourself as a presidential appointee. What is your motivation for public service? Do you have self-awareness, honesty, integrity, courage? Are you a life-long learner? Are you skilled at trusting and at gaining trust? Are you confident, decisive, and resilient? Are you empathetic, a good...

    • SIX Maintaining Global Awareness
      (pp. 76-82)

      ”Think globally. Act locally.” This adage is used by many groups to advise their members how to behave. The same is true for presidential appointees. First, they must exhibit external awareness at home. Then they must look around the world at the trends that will affect them and seek opportunities to use these trends, positive and negative, in carrying out their assignments. Beyond that, they must reach out and connect appropriate global partners and customers with the federal government. While not every agency will have programs with global impacts, all agencies are certain to be impacted by global trends.


  6. Part II. The Federal Government

    • SEVEN Summary of the U.S. Constitution
      (pp. 85-89)

      The United States Constitution is one of history’s great documents. It serves today as a model for governments around the world, though its original passage came only after rigorous debate and compromise. Thomas Jefferson famously called it ”the result of the collected wisdom of our country.” The men who wrote and signed it at the 1787 Constitutional Convention—lawyers, merchants, farmers—were students of the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment who learned about the social compact from John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau and wove those principles into the American experiment. Henry Clay, the nineteenth-century American statesman who represented Kentucky...

    • EIGHT The Legislative Branch
      (pp. 90-97)

      From time to time presidential appointees will be involved in the legislative process, so it is helpful to understand how Congress functions in considering and enacting legislation and how its committee system works.

      Legislation can be introduced in either the House or the Senate, except for tax bills, which must come from the House. After a bill is proposed by a member it is referred to the appropriate committee, which will hold hearings if necessary and eventually mark up the bill (see figure 8-1).¹ Marking up is essentially an editing process, by which members can suggest changes to the bill’s...

    • NINE The Executive Branch
      (pp. 98-106)

      Formal guidance for the conduct of presidential appointees and of their work can be found in various sources, including the Code of Ethics for U.S. Government Service and Presidential Executive Orders and Directives. A well-informed appointee will also be thoroughly familiar with the budget process—its preparation, submission, defense, and execution—and will have a working knowledge of theFinancial Report of the United States Government.

      According to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, the following standards of ethical conduct for employees of the executive branch are to ensure that every citizen can have complete confidence in the integrity of...

  7. Notes
    (pp. 107-114)
  8. Index
    (pp. 115-124)