Robert Mueller is coming to Stanford to discuss the challenges of leading the FBI (Thursday, October 8 at 6 pm). We’ve all got a lot to learn.
Managing a business is a challenge, but leading in the public sector is like managing in four dimensions. Consider the FBI. It’s budget this year is $7.1 billion, with more than 31,000 employees. In other words, you have roughly the same revenue as Yahoo! ($7.2 billion), but with almost three times as many people on the payroll. You don’t have stock options and large bonuses to keep your people motivated. You comprise only one of a vast, interlocking maze of agencies (DOJ, DOD, CIA, NSA, DEA, ATF, etc.) that make up the U.S. justice system and national security apparatus. To be successful, you must collaborate effectively with these partners, while also recognizing that you are competing for limited resources in a highly political environment. Many of the most important decisions you could make as a leader — who to hire, your organizational structure, major policies — are subject to second-guessing by elected officials who are often guided by what sound bytes will play on television. And on top of all that, you’re running one of the largest legal practices in the world and your business is to identify, pursue and convict the toughest criminals alive.
The Leadership in Context series brings senior-level leaders from government, the military, religious organizations, athletics, and other non-business contexts, to discuss the unique leadership challenges that they face, as well as reflect on the lessons that we can take from their experience. Join us, and you will learn something about what it takes to motivate performance in a challenging environment, how to use non-financial incentives, and how to lead when you’re not fully in control.