The Chief of Staff

A close friend recommended the TV show “The West Wing” to us. We’re twelve episodes in and are loving it. The show is incredibly well written (thanks Aaron sorkin) and keeps you entertained on story, screenplay and dialog alone.

An incredible scene at the end of a recent episode has the President in conversation with the Agricultural Secretary as he’s leaving for “The State of the Union” address. The Agricultural Secretary is the person who is chosen to take charge in case there’s a disaster. The President gives him two minutes of advice of what he should do in case the worst happens. Then, he asks –

“Have you got a best friend?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Is he smarter than you?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Would you trust him with your life?”
“Yes, sir”
“That’s your Chief of Staff.”

It is an incredible scene because you see a wonderfully deep relationship between the President and his Chief of Staff. And, this dialog brings it all together.

The Godfather made the adage – “It’s not personal, it’s just business” popular. I think that is a sad way to approach the work we do. We often spend more time with folks we work than we do with our own families. And, many of my closest friends have come from the teams I’ve worked on.

In reality, it is business AND it is personal.

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