Molding the Cabinet into a cohesive team—educated on what it takes to succeed in government and what the new president and the public will expect from them—is critical but often overlooked in the crush of activity early in the administration. There is essential knowledge that the Cabinet and its senior leadership teams need to have on the first day in order to start quickly and effectively, avoid mistakes and accomplish their objectives.
It is also important to give Cabinet members an opportunity to get to know each other and view themselves as a team united by the shared goal of advancing the administration’s priorities. Few challenges confronting the federal government today are within the control of a single agency; they require a collaborative effort by leaders working together across government, starting with members of the Cabinet.
The transition team should begin planning for a Cabinet-level offsite with the president well before Inauguration Day, and before the White House and the Cabinet become swept up in the daily tasks of governing. The offsite should take place as close as possible to the inauguration, provided a significant majority of Cabinet members have been identified and are well into the confirmation process. Areas of focus could include the values and vision that will guide the work of the administration, the decision-making process, breaking down silos to work across government, working with Congress, opportunities for transforming government, and identifying and working with allies outside the federal government.