Learning the Ropes: Insights for Political Appointees

Learning the Ropes: Insights for Political Appointees is geared to providing helpful advice to new political appointees on a variety of topics related to the challenge of managing in government. Chapter two by Judith Michaels presents key lessons learned from two surveys of previous political appointees, as well as personal interviews with nearly 50 former political executives from both Democratic and Republican administrations. Chapter three by Joseph Ferrara and Lynn Ross dispel common myths held by political appointees about careerists and by careerists about political appointees and sets forth constructive 'rules of engagement' that political and career executives can use to form partnerships in achieving the administration's program and policy objectives. Chapter four by John Trattner presents advice for working with Congress, including an overview of how Congress functions, how decisions on money and programs are made, appropriators and authorizers, legislators and their constituencies, oversight, and how to get things done. Chapter five by John Trattner describes how political appointees can work with the media, including advice on how to minimize the impact of bad news, offensive and defensive strategies, and how to survive in the government/media culture. Chapter six by Mark Abramson and Paul Lawrence presents useful advice on eight lessons involved in transforming organizations. Chapter seven by Dana Michael Harsell presents advice for political appointees on working with career executives to 'manage for results.' The final chapter by Chris Wye describes how political executives can overcome common problems in the design, alignment, use, and communication of performance measures and information.

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