"Obama completes cabinet of 'rivals' line-up
CHICAGO (AFP) — President-elect Barack Obama signaled a major shift in trade policy and labor relations as he rounded out a cabinet of 'rivals' tasked with implementing an ambitious US economic recovery plan.
Obama, who takes office on January 20, also named Democratic lawmaker Hilda Solis as labor secretary to stand up for working families, and a former Republican congressman Ray LaHood as transport secretary to rebuild the country's transportation system.
By common consent, Obama has filled his cabinet quickly but also with much thought to ability as he emulates the "team of rivals" assembled by his political hero, Civil War president Abraham Lincoln.
Led by former Democratic nominating rival Hillary Clinton at the State Department, the incoming cabinet has respected technocrat Timothy Geithner at Treasury and two Republicans, including Gates.
While Geithner gets the unenviable task of hauling the US economy out of recession, Gates must exit Iraq and redouble the fight in Afghanistan.
Clinton has no lesser a task of remaking the nation's frayed image abroad, while pursuing Middle East peace, rebuilding a tattered nuclear pact with North Korea and calming a fresh surge in India-Pakistan tensions. "
A team of Rivals!! What a headline! What an audacious attempt to break the mode of 'Only 1 Party Can Work Fast and Effectively' embraced by many Asian autocratic and dictatorial governments!
It is always my belief that the BEST idea can only come from the selection after debating and assessing MANY IDEAS! And MANY IDEAS should come from not just 1 person or 1 party but MANY people and parties so that diverse opinions and input are listened to and evaluated against each others!
This is truly ONE of my main appeals to our very efficient and effective Singapore government thus far! Do pay attention to this bold attempt by President-elect Obama to form a Team of Rivals that will do good for America and the world!
Lessons for me are:
1. truly outstanding leader is one who is willing to break the mode and go the extra mile. Yes, there will be risk of clash of egos, big personalities, and conflict of interests. BUT IF the leader manages it well from the word: 'Go!', it is not impossible to get the Rivals to work together!
Key steps are:
a. ask them WHY they want the jobs? For personal glory and money or for the good of the people they are serving?;
b. make them signed a pledge that say: We take on the job to serve the people and not for self-glorification!';
c. feedback to them regularly on how they are keeping true to their commitment - public commitment!;
d. show them the benefits if the ideals are achieved - a legacy that is Unrivalled in the history of USA! A team of Rivals that produced Outstanding Results for the people and the world!
2. the people who are rivals must understand the enormous responsibilities their jobs bring. It is not about personality and ego. They must take concrete actions to keep the big ego in check. e.g. repeat their pledge each day to bring it from the conscious mind to the subconscious mind! e.g. look themselves in the mirror each day and say: I am here to serve the people and not for my personal glory and legacy!;
3. check and balance mechanism must be set up and implemented without fear or favour! The ultimate leader MUST demonstrated personal integrity and accept critics' input and appoint independent 3rd parties to oversee and assess the progress of the team of rivals towards SMART goals set regularly! SMART means: Specific, Measurable, Actions Oriented, Relevant to doing good, and Time-bound!
I am really full of hope for President-elect Obama and his cabinet line-up. I sincerely wish that these highly intelligent and capable people selected to help him achieve one of the greatest transformation of USA came in to do just that without fear or favour and without any personal biases!
In the process, as they succeed, I sincerely hope that our own Government can appreciate perpetuating the 'Only 1 Party Rule' is good for Singapore is not really that great a sustainable strategy!