This was originally published in Fortune.
The board room and the Oval Office are more alike than you think.
Corporate takeovers are high-wire acts requiring detailed preparation, an understanding of company cultures and organization, first-rate leaders and a mandate to create added value for stakeholders. Even in the best of circumstances, mergers and acquisitions frequently fail or fall short of expectations.
The same dynamics apply to the transfer of power from one presidential administration to the next - the largest, most complex and consequential takeover of any organization on the planet that will formally take place when a new U.S. president is sworn in on Jan. 20, 2017.
Just think about it. A candidate campaigns day and night for the presidency for more than a year, wins the big prize, and two and a half months later walks into the Oval Office as the CEO of a government that spends almost $4 trillion a year and has a workforce of 2.1 million civilian employees and more than 2 million active-duty military and reserve members. Now that is a test for even the most fearless or experienced leader.
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