Wednesday Aug 26, 2009

Emanuel as a Project Manager

Interesting article in the NYT about Rahm Emanuel and his management style -- Emanuel Wields Power Freely, and Faces the Risks. I`m not interested in any of the political propaganda and myth making in the article (although I do find that stuff entertaining at times), but instead I`m much more drawn to how Emanuel manages a president. That`s a difficult task in general and especially these days, but that`s what Chiefs of Staff do for the most part. And there are some simple project management lessons here that are obvious because the position is so high profile and this Chief of Staff plays that card to the max. The constant emailing and phone calling to extend presence. The requiring of and then responding to weekly written reports from staff members to keep people focused. The carrying around of note cards and to-do lists to not forget anything. The maintenance of a personal database of contacts running into the thousands of names to demonstrate influence. The mandating of deliverables so achievements can be measured and quantified. And the assertion of power as pervasively as possible in an effort to leverage and create even more power (or in Rahm`s case, intimidation). All of that is basic stuff to a good project manager. The difference is only scale.

So, I wonder how Emanuel would deal with some of the projects I am working on?

Tuesday Jun 23, 2009

Extraction

Communicating is all about building relationships, and that`s always a two way street (or if you are in the community business, a multi-way street). Every wonder what a rapid fire relationship with Rahm is like. Check out Ring, ring, it's Rahm:
NBC’s Chuck Todd calls the Emanuel relationship “no-nonsense.”

“He’s always trying to extract as much information as he’s trying to give,” Todd says.

But the conversations with Emanuel “can be as little as 30 seconds,” Paul Begala, the CNN commentator and longtime Emanuel friend says. “He calls, drops a few F-bombs, makes his point and hangs up.”
The shock value of his delivery is interesting (he can do that because he`s powerful), but even more important is the bit about the information extraction. Information has to flow both ways to demonstrate the value of the relationship.

Thursday Mar 05, 2009

The Chief of Staff

I have always been interested in the role of Chief of Staff. Presidents have these guys around, and so does the military. And now a lot of companies have them as well. It seems like an odd role at times, though. Good chiefs have massive power in their own right, but they also have to reflect the boss almost perfectly so their own opinions vaporize. Seems like an interesting dance. Here is a very interesting and long piece on Obama`s chief of staff -- Rahm Emanuel: The Gatekeeper.
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