Friday, August 25, 2017

The House of Trump - Rise of the Gatekeepers

Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status. - Laurence J Peters

President Trump is in a death battle with one of the most relentless enemies known to mankind, the modern Federal Bureaucracy. In his efforts to tackle this beast, his administration is taking on some of the trappings of this mortal enemy in an effort to defeat it.

Bureaucracy 101

Modern societies require well run bureaucracies to run efficiently. They were a step up from the past methods which were arbitrary and functioned much like mafias.

Unfortunately, bureaucracies are not without their disadvantages, disadvantages which the Federal Government seems to cultivate:
  1. Inefficient in Unusual Cases - Bureaucracies are designed to handle routine events and do not do well when confronted with novel or new situations.
  2. Train Incapacity - Due to blind adherence to rules and procedures that may not be appropriate for a given situation.
  3. Goal Displacement - Office politics and protecting ones job often take precedence over the goals of an organization.
  4. Bureaucratic Enlargement - Bureaucracies tend to grow making full use of any budget and schedule given to them and demanding increases to them every year.
  5. Authoritarian Structure - Communications which should flow up and down through an organization tend to only flow downward with lower levels hiding defects.
  6. Bureaucratic Personality - Rigid rules and procedures stifle creativity. They tend to be ritually followed whether or not they are effective.

Peter Principle

One of the more famous concepts about bureaucratic mismanagement is the Peter Principle:

The Peter principle is a concept in management theory formulated by educator Laurence J. Peter and published in 1969. It states that the selection of a candidate for a position is based on the candidate's performance in their current role, rather than on abilities relevant to the intended role. Thus, employees only stop being promoted once they can no longer perform effectively, and "managers rise to the level of their incompetence."

Parkinson's Law

Another famous concept about bureaucratic mismanagement is known as Parkinson's Law:

Parkinson's law is the adage that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion". It is also sometimes applied to the growth of the bureaucratic apparatus in an organization.

Establishment Gatekeepers

The Chief of Staff is the highest ranking employee at the White House. They typically serve as gatekeeper to the president.

John Kelly recently replaced Reince Priebus. Kelly was brought in to bring more structure to White House Management. His long experience in government and with executive leadership through his command with the US Marines make him well suited for this task.

The Staff Secretary serves as the nerve center of the White House since they control the flow of information to the President.  

He comes from a Mormon family but, seems more connected with the establishment than his Mormon roots. His father served under George Bush. He is a Rhodes scholar and graduate of Harvard Law Schools. He also has worked for several US Senators. 

According to Politico, Kelly is working with Porter to institute typical White House controls on presidential access and decision making. 

decision memo
keystone of process
T policies
input from agencies and councils
advantages and disadvantages of each

will slow down decision making
but hope is that it will lead to victories in long run


kristjen nielson
kelly's deputy will play role

Rick Dearborn

Joe Hagin

T's schedule
deputy chiefs Rick Dearborn and Joe Hagin tasked
with ordering schedule
further in advance
one public facing event each day
one travel event each week
meeting will have list of attendees to limit people

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