Make decisions about the President’s personal security. He can overrule you, but don’t ask him to be the one to counsel caution.
In our system leadership is by consent, not command. To lead a President must persuade. Personal contacts and experiences help shape his thinking. They can be critical to his persuasiveness and thus to his leadership.
Think ahead. Don’t let day-to-day operations drive out planning.
I can’t tell you if the use of force in Iraq today will last five days, five weeks or five months, but it won’t last any longer than that.
If you try to please everybody, somebody’s not going to like it.
The way to do well is to do well.
One of your tasks is to separate the “personal” from the “substantive.” The two can become confused, especially if someone rubs the President wrong.
Don’t speak ill of your predecessors or successors. You didn’t walk in their shoes.
Reduce the number of lawyers. They are like beavers – they get in the middle of the stream and dam it up.
When asked for your views, by the press or others, remember that what they really want to know is the President’s views.
Don’t necessarily avoid sharp edges. Occasionally they are necessary to leadership.
First rule of politics: you can’t win unless you’re on the ballot. Second rule: If you run, you may lose. And, if you tie, you do not win.
Our task, your task… is to try to connect the dots before something happens. People say, ‘Well, where’s the smoking gun?’ Well, we don’t want to see a smoking gun from a weapon of mass destruction.
Don’t blame the boss. He has enough problems.
With the press there is no ‘off the record’.
Work continuously to trim the White House staff from your first day to your last. All the pressures are to the contrary.
You will launch many projects, but have time to finish only a few. So think, plan, develop, launch and tap good people to be responsible. Give them authority and hold them accountable. Trying to do too much yourself creates a bottleneck.
Congress, the press, and the bureaucracy too often focus on how much money or effort is spent, rather than whether the money or effort actually achieves the announced goal.
Your performance depends on your people. Select the best, train them and back them. When errors occur, give sharper guidance. If errors persist or if the fit feels wrong, help them move on. The country cannot afford amateur hour in the White House.
If in doubt, move decisions up to the President.
Remember where you came from.
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