Sunday, March 8, 2009

Presidents Only: New Employee Orientation

In order for a new employee to get off to a successful start they are usually required to attend "New Employee Orientation." This is necessary for several reasons. It first allows the new employee to understand what their role is and what opportunities are available for them within the company. It also allows for the organization to indoctrinate the new employee into the different cultures and history of the company. The new employee is usually given a handbook, benefit summary and code of conduct material.

Even the National Football League offers a rookie symposium to all newly drafted and free agent employees. The purpose is to make certain that their new crop of millionaire players learn how to make the right choices in business, money, conduct and women. The NFL even requires rookies to tour the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH to learn about the roots of the league and the players that came before them.

Then why does the President of the United States not attend a similar orientation or seminar. Mr. Obama has made several mistakes as the neophyte leader of the country. You would think that the President would have surrounded himself with adequate advisers that would be able to ward off these missteps early into his presidency since he is the "smartest person in the room." His latest flap was the snub of a long time ally, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Big "O" showed little interest in this visit, declined to do a joint press conference and extend the visiting leader a state dinner at the White House. A part of the President's duties include entertaining heads of state and ambassadors. I checked and the Prime Minister of Great Britain is a head of state as well as a longtime ally!

Better to Receive Than to Give!
The Big "O" made another mistake with the Prime Minister by presenting him with a gift of 25 DVD's of classic American movies. This is after Mr. Brown gave the President a pen holder that was crafted out of oak from the HMS Gannet, a naval vessel that served on anti-slavery missions off the coast of Africa. He was also presented with the framed commissioning papers of the HMS Resolute, the sister ship to the Gannet and a ship that was rescued by the U.S. and given to Queen Victoria. Obama also received the seven-volume biography of Winston Churchill. Mrs. Brown presented the First Children with outfits from Topshop, a British chain of clothing stores. She also gave them several books from British authors that have yet to be published in the United States. Mrs. Obama gave the Prime Minister's boys toy replicas of Marine One. Orientation classes on gift giving and reciprocity would have been ideal here. The DVD's may not even play in Great Britain as they were probably in NTSC format not the PAL fortmat for most of Europe. Even the smartest person in the room could gain some insight from new employee orientation.

I'm So Tired
Sources in the White House say that the Big "O" and his staff have been "overwhelmed" by the economic meltdown and that the president is not getting enough rest which is why he did not give Mr. Brown the time a visiting head of state would normally get. This is where that new employee orientation would have been useful. Mr. Obama would have been told that the job is 24/7, the worries are 24/7, the responsibilities are 24/7. He would have had the option to decide if this was a job that he truly wanted to do and would he be up for the challenge. Yet there was no orientation and less than 60 days into the new administration there is a sense that the president is already tired. Well partner you signed on for at least 4 years of this.

Even if his staffers did not know protocol there is always someone the new employee could have called upon for guidance. Mr. Obama has four predecessors that he could have called upon for help. I am sure that Slick Willie(Clinton) or Skippy(Carter) would have been eager to offer advice.

Aging Already!
We all know that when a president enters office he has a optimistic outlook and demeanor about himself. Years later they look ravaged and haggard. Does the new employee look tired already to you? The US News did a piece on the aging of presidents but what should concern most of you are the messianic comments of the readers as to why Big "O" will not age like previous presidents. I think his lifestyle of smoking and the stresses of the job will cause him to age more quickly than even he would have thought. But an orientation that included age enhanced photos of himself as well as pictures of previous Presidents, before and after serving, would have been worthwhile. Maybe he would have just said "this is too much to take and I respectfully tender my resignation. My health is more important than the job." Big "O" would do well to put the Blackberry down and get on the patch. Aging is a process but lifestyle and stress does accelerate it.

Thats my word! Please post yours!