Community & Government

Building a Strong Team

George W. Bush

Lesson time 17:44 min

Building a productive team that encourages disparate viewpoints is essential to successful leadership. That requires knowing your own weaknesses and strengths, listening to those around you, and recognizing when it’s time to make a change.

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Topics include: The alchemy of building a productive team that encourages disparate viewpoints is essential to successful leadership. That requires knowing your own weaknesses and strengths, listening to those who surround you, and knowing when it’s time to make a change.


[MUSIC PLAYING] - Good afternoon. I'm pleased to announce my nomination of Dr. Condoleezza Rice to be America's secretary of state. I'm submitting the name of Donald Rumsfeld to be secretary of defense. I'm proud to announce that Dick Cheney, a man of great integrity, sound judgment, and experience is my choice to be the next vise president of the United States. The chief executive is the tone-setter. You can't expect your vise president, if you're running a company, to set the tone for the company. It's the chief executive who goes to stock brokers and the public. It's the chief executive who sends signals throughout an organization, same with the president. When you set up a team, you want to make sure that there is a general agreement about the philosophy of the policies that you intend to implement. In other words, step one of the screening process is you campaign. You went on a set of issues. People have pretty much understand your philosophy. And if you don't agree with that general philosophy, then you really shouldn't be on the team. That's the first screen, and that makes sense. Secondly though, that once the direction of the policy is understood, you expect diverse opinions. And I got a lot of opinions on some of these difficult subjects. And so there's always, what kind of temperament are you looking for? Is that person willing to endure the long hours? Is their life balance enough to be able to have a healthy home life? I was always looking for balance amongst gender and race and religion. It was important to me that people from all walks of life were included in my administration. The selection of Vise President Dick Cheney, it's the first presidential decision. It's the first chance. The people get to see what kind of decision maker you'll be. Is the process thorough? Have you consulted other people? Have you thought of all options? And looking for the vise president, I wanted the following. I wanted someone who would not be running for president immediately upon being sworn in because that creates enormous difficulties inside the White House. I wanted someone who knew Washington because I didn't know Washington. I thought it sent a signal that I'm self aware. I wanted to send a message that I took the pick seriously and understood what the pick needed to address. I think it reflected well. But the main thing is he could be president. As much as presidential nominees don't want to admit it, that person may be needed. And so he passed the first test easily because he could have been president. I knew what my shortcomings were. And I think we did a good job of finding people that could address those shortcomings. For example, in foreign policy, my only foreign policy experience was as governor of Texas dealing with border governors from Mexico. So therefore, Condi Rice became an integral part of my campaign, but more importantly, my administration's. She knew a lot about foreign po...

About the Instructor

Step inside the Oval Office with the newest instructor in our White House series, President George W. Bush. With insight from former First Lady Laura Bush, the former commander in chief opens up about the tough calls and life lessons that shaped his career. Develop and own a leadership style that’s true to you and learn to lead by connecting personally with everyone in the room.

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George W. Bush

Learn to listen and inspire a culture of teamwork. The 43rd U.S. president teaches leadership skills from his career and opens up about painting.

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