Who’s Next?

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The Daily Observer has reliably learned of an impending reshuffle in government. Welcome news – some things needed to change. Underperformance has been an understatement to be frank. Should this be the case, perhaps NOW the President is serious. Perhaps now she is ready to change course, heading due north.

The question, however, becomes: Who’s next? We hope that this will not be just another dos si dos. How does the President now plan to vet candidates for such all-important positions? This is a great opportunity for a fresh start, even at this late hour in the game.

To be fair, some of the seemingly best candidates for these high-level positions have been woefully disappointing. Highly credentialed and experienced candidates have turned out to be either corrupt, ineffective, or both. The leadership and integrity components have been sorely missing in this country.

Some of these people walked by line in places such as the United States and other Western countries where they worked for many years because they knew that one false move, and they were gone. Those nations have systems in which engineers and such come a dime a dozen, and in which people of color are often underdogs anyway. So our people adhered to the highest standards of ethics and professionalism. Upon returning home, however, to such high positions, they become arrogant and their true colors come out.

Others are what we call ‘techies’. They can crunch numbers all day long. But leadership ability is nowhere to be found in their DNA. It is simply too overwhelming to ask them to lead an entire ministry. They are good followers, but not leaders. Others still are good managers, but still not leaders; and there is a difference.

Managers serve under leaders. They maintain the status quo and follow orders. They do as they are told. They may suggest changes to leadership, but must be authorized to implement them.

Leaders, on the other hand, are free to create new systems where old ones become ineffective and obsolete. They think outside of the box. That requires courage and confidence to make the changes necessary without fear or favor. They are not afraid to hurt feelings or step on a few toes, although that may not always be necessary, and battles must be carefully chosen. Leaders are not beholden to old buddies or family. They are patriots who put country first. Leaders do not drop the ball or pass the buck. They relish the opportunity to take the ball and RUN with it to the finish.

The difference here in terms of cabinet positions is that cabinet ministers must be able to juggle both leadership and management. One the one hand, they serve at the will and pleasure of the President. They are managers under her administration. On the other hand, however, they sit at the helm of entire ministries. That makes them leaders. As such, good management is a sub-set of leadership.

So these are some of the intricacies that need to be decoded in vetting candidates for positions of trust and leadership.

Insanity has often been defined as doing the same thing over and over the same way and expecting different results. It is now time to reexamine the metrics we use to vet candidates for positions of trust in government. It is even possible that the vetters are part of the problem. Are people paying top dollar to be shortlisted as possible replacements? Are those who have the President’s ear taking undue advantage of her trust?

Even if the news turns out not to be accurate, the rumor will have been worth having this conversation.

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