Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns- the ones we don't know we don't know.
Let your family, staff, and friends know that you're still the same person, despite all the publicity and notoriety that accompanies your position.
You will launch many projects, but have time to finish only a few. So think, plan, develop, launch and tap good people to be responsible. Give them authority and hold them accountable. Trying to do too much yourself creates a bottleneck.
Congress, the press, and the bureaucracy too often focus on how much money or effort is spent, rather than whether the money or effort actually achieves the announced goal.
Politics is human beings; it's addition rather than subtraction.
The Secretary of Defense is not a super General or Admiral. His task is to exercise civilian control over the Department for the Commander-in-Chief and the country.
Look for what's missing. Many advisors can tell a President how to improve what's proposed or what's gone amiss. Few are able to see what isn't there.
Your performance depends on your people. Select the best, train them and back them. When errors occur, give sharper guidance. If errors persist or if the fit feels wrong, help them move on. The country cannot afford amateur hour in the White House.
Amidst all the clutter, beyond all the obstacles, aside from all the static, are the goals set. Put your head down, do the best job possible, let the flak pass, and work towards those goals.
Oh my goodness gracious, what you can buy off the Internet in terms of overhead photography. A trained ape can know an awful lot of what is going on in this world, just by punching on his mouse, for a relatively modest cost.
Learn to say 'I don't know.' If used when appropriate, it will be often.
When you raise issues with the President, try to come away with both that decision and also a precedent. Pose issues so as to evoke broader policy guidance. This can help to answer a range of similar issues likely to arise later.
Don't automatically obey Presidential directives if you disagree or if you suspect he hasn't considered key aspects of the issue.
Plan backwards as well as forward. Set objectives and trace back to see how to achieve them. You may find that no path can get you there. Plan forward to see where your steps will take you, which may not be clear or intuitive.
The price of being close to the President is delivering bad news. You fail him if you don't tell him the truth. Others won't do it.
First rule of politics: you can't win unless you're on the ballot. Second rule: If you run, you may lose. And, if you tie, you do not win.
Be yourself. Follow your instincts. Success depends, at least in part, on the ability to 'carry it off.'
Reduce the number of lawyers. They are like beavers - they get in the middle of the stream and dam it up.
Don't say 'the White House wants.' Buildings can't want.
See that the President, the Cabinet and staff are informed. If cut out of the information flow, their decisions may be poor, not made, or not confidently or persuasively implemented.