The Art of Managing (The White House)
by Scott Sechser (February 6, 2013)
Can you imagine having 300 people counting on you to keep daily operations running smoothly? Now imagine one of those people is the newly inaugurated President of the United States, and the rest are his closest advisors and staff.
If this isn’t enough to think about, remember the country and world are watching.
Here are 10 strategies I learned during my five years serving as the Operations Manager for the White House, Executive Office of the President.
1. When the Oval Office or anyone in the West Wing calls, you make things happen, quickly.
2. Treat all who need your help as if they too work in the West Wing.
3. Get to know your customers and act as their liaison. Be the bridge between your customers and the experts who will help you solve their problems.
4. View each challenge as an opportunity to showcase your skills and learn new ones. With each challenge comes risk for great success and equal failure. Commend others who helped you be successful, and own your failures.
5. Always have a back-up plan so that any failures are quickly fixed.
6. It can be prudent to ask questions such as, “Why are we doing it this way?” If the answer is, “I can’t remember,” or, “This is just the way it has always been done,” it could be time to rethink your solution.
7. Change is constant – be able to adapt and improvise. There may be times when the best plans go south, this is when you must think on your feet, move fast or get run over.
8. There is a solution for every problem; use your imagination and creativity to find those solutions.
9. Mentor and train others – this is both challenging and rewarding. Showing someone the ropes and training them will ensure their success, while also ensuring your team’s legacy will continue.
10. Lastly, one of my favorite sayings I used while working in the White House – “The impossible is possible, it just takes a little longer.”
The photo above was taken by Tina Hager (former White House photographer).