Appreciating President Trump . . .

I have been catching a bit of flak from some folks over my appreciation of the President. I couldn’t care less about the negative feedback, but do think I ought to identify some of the things that I appreciate the President has been doing, so here is a partial list:

  1. He has been pretty effective in changing the direction of the Washington system from liberal to conservative . . . and that has been huge. Perhaps that has been the key to President Trump’s remarkably successful first year;
  2. He has been effective in changing the speed of government from the routine, slow, change-avoiding pace of bureaucracy to the high-tempo, innovative, constantly accelerating pace he has moved at . . . and it has been impressive. Continued improvement and adjustment to the fast-pace of technology will be the key to success in the next three years. This directional shift will unquestionably be an on-going challenge;
  3. He appointed and placed a conservative justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, seated a record number of appellate-court judges in his first year;
  4. He achieved an all-time record for repealing regulations. At the National Space Council meeting on Wednesday, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Director Neomi Rao said the Trump Administration has cut 22 regulations for each one it created;
  5. He worked with Republicans to deliver a dramatically pro-growth tax cut, which generated immediate proof of its power through the reaction of the business community: and
  6. Again and again, President Trump has managed to make gains in moving the Washington system away from a liberal direction and more toward a conservative direction. There is still a far distance to go, but the movement is in motion. An engineering principal is applicable here . . . that being that it requires greater stress and energy to set a stationary object into motion than it requires to maintain said motion once established.

Now comes the real test – changing the deeply entrenched traditional system of bureaucratic processes and procedures into one that is entrepreneurial, dynamic, adaptive, and flexible. Over the past 40 years, I have been amazed to see how lazy and unproductive career government employees can be.

Early into the Obama Administration, my group was awarded a large training contract by HUD (which was forced by the Inspector General’s office and problems revealed in the Agency audit). Our mission was to train the HUD staff (12,000 plus) over a 12-month period. Our training group was amazed at the resistance we encountered as we went into the HUD offices. We were reminded that the current vast system of government is inherently bureaucratic, change-resistant, and closed to new ideas. We were reminded that entrenched bureaucracies get used to what they are doing and the routine habits and rhythms at which they operate. They are process- rather than product-oriented. They are activity- rather than achievement-oriented. They measure inputs (although never enough) and rejects the concept of measuring outputs. They regard metrics as arbitrary measures that prove they are busy, rather than benchmarks that demonstrate their progress. Simply stated, the system is self-serving and hates change. Turning the tide will be a huge challenge . . . but Trump is a very successful businessman and his appointees are as well. They have run businesses that had to compete in the marketplace and perform at a high level, and continually cut dead wood out of the organizations.

One example of this struggle I have taken particular interest in has been Rex Tillerson, the former hard-driving, brilliant CEO of Exxon Mobile as he took over at the State Department. That huge Agency had been under John Kerry and Hilary Clinton for eight years. Here is a guy who successfully operated one of the largest, most successful businesses in the history of the world taking over a giant agency that has been under the direction of a couple of career politicians, neither of which have ever had a minute of success in the business world. Mr. Tillerson has set off a shockwave through the State Department . . . and some folks have been jumping ship. I am looking forward to seeing the talent he brings in to replace them with.

Change is in the air . . . and I am liking it!


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