President Obama is not the only one leaving office next January 20th. The spotlight will certainly be on him and his family as they depart the White House, but joining them through the exit door will be about 4,000 political appointees, all heading for new challenges.
Such a wholesale change has its advantages—it affords the new president the opportunity of a fresh start and new ideas, for example—but there are also some significant drawbacks. The federal government, the largest organization in the world, is left without key leaders in position should an economic, health, or military crisis hit. No wonder building a new team quickly and effectively has always been an important determinant of success for a new president.
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Recruiting a diverse group, matching the talent pool to specific jobs, and working with the Senate to seek confirmation for nominees are just a few of the hurdles that explain why most modern presidents have fewer than 300 of their top appointees in place nine months after their inauguration. So, what can be done to accelerate this process?