Ernst & Young LLP book on political appointees cites examples from Obama's first term

Study of 32 top political appointees provides insight into selection and preparation process and management challenges of political leadership

Jan 09, 2013, 09:00 ET from Ernst & Young LLP

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Anticipation around changes to the second Obama administration, particularly at the agency level, is growing as the new term approaches. In the newly-released second edition of Paths to Making a Difference: Leading in Government, Ernst & Young LLP's Government and Public Sector practice provides insights on selecting the right appointees, the management challenges of the political executive and how these top executives can succeed in accomplishing an administration's objectives.

The book, published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, is based on a three-year study focused on 32 top political appointees in the 2008 – 2012 Obama administration. Featuring interviews and case studies, the book examines how deputy secretaries and agency heads achieved the mission of their respective organizations and addresses specific management challenges.  It also tracks the learning curve of the executives throughout their tenure in the administration.

"Effective political appointees are key to a successful government. A new group of political appointees soon to join the Obama administration can learn about making the transition from their previous positions into a leadership role in government, a transition that without guidance and understanding can be quite daunting," said Paul Lawrence, leader of the Federal Government Consulting Practice, Ernst & Young LLP, and author of Paths to Making a Difference: Leading in Government.  "This book provides a framework organized around the types of management challenges awaiting those who accept these positions to help them design and follow a path that will lead to achieving the agencies' goals and priorities."

The profiles and case histories included in Paths to Making a Difference: Leading in Government are divided into six categories – Deputy Secretaries, Producers, Infrastructors, Regulators, Scientists and Collaborators, each differentiated by job specifications and management challenges. The book also examines three distinct roles of the political executive:  builders, managers and innovators. Each of the 32 executives featured builds organizational capacity, strong processes, relationships, credibility and visibility. Political executives face three major management tasks: assessing the organization, achieving mission alignment and tracking the agencies progress. The third role of the political executive is that of innovator, with two distinctions: innovation from inside government and innovation in engaging the private sector in problem solving.

The book is available in paperback and e-book formats at, as well as major retailers.

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