Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A lesson in Management

"I assembled this team because I am a strong believer in strong personalities and strong opinions. I believe that's how the best decisions are made," Obama said. "One of the dangers in a White House, based on my reading of history, is that you get wrapped up in group-think and everybody agrees with everything and there's no discussion and there are no dissenting views. So I am going to be welcoming a vigorous debate inside the White House.

"But understand, I will be setting policy as president. I will be responsible for the vision that this team carries out, and I will expect them to implement that vision once decisions are made . . . The buck will stop with me."...

The caution: "Obama's favored approach as a senator -- bringing as many smart people as possible into the room and letting them hash out issues -- could prove less workable when urgent executive decisions must be made."

But they quote James P. Pfiffner, a George Mason University professor and author of "The Strategic Presidency," saying Obama might manage such a team more skillfully than Bush would have because he is a better listener. "It's important for the president to have a broad range of alternative perspectives, but he has to be strong enough not to be threatened by people that he doesn't agree with," Pfiffner said.

-The Return of Debate?

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