There is a big difference between leaders and managers.
If you are looking for an article that is going to bash individual politicians, their families, or political parties, this is not the article for you. There is plenty of that occurring on the national stage.
We applaud those that have “put themselves out there” to take an office such as the Governor of the largest state in the union. Their success or failure at the end of their terms is typically measured by whether they balanced the budget and reduced crime/increased public safety. There are other metrics, but these two seem to be the major bullet points during the political campaign season.
Being a successful Alaska Governor requires the ability to lead 14 politically appointed Department Commissioners to act as one team to fight one fight. A list of the current Commissioner’s and their contact information is located here. 14 individuals with multiple politically appointed Division Directors below them. These cabinet members are responsible to provide the Governor with the best advice/information available for decisions such as the usage of funding sources like the PFD or legal loopholes in laws such as SB91.
An example to explain the dynamics of Alaska Department Commissioners in action:
Department of Public Safety (DPS), Division of Alaska State Troopers has a need to select and put into service new patrol vehicles that can be used statewide in various road conditions. Public Safety has the budget to make the purchase, but not the sole authority. They must approach the Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT) to approve the bid, selection, and placing into operation of the vehicle (with DPS’ money) in accordance with the Department of Administration’s (DOA) purchasing guidelines.
This is the same for employee housing, patrol facilities, administrative support, etc. For example, if the DPS needed to add or move a civilian support position to a particular posting, in order to provide relief in administrative duties (allowing a Trooper to spend more time out on patrol instead of at the post processing evidence or other inventory requests), they would need approval from DOA.
Now imagine if DPS needs to build or add a new Trooper Post to a location in dire need of public safety services?
The above examples demonstrates great accountability on behalf of the residents of Alaska. Issues of delays and lapses in services, or ability to get an employee and his/her family to occupy rural housing units, depends ultimately on these separate departments, operating under different department leadership, to communicate effectively and “get along”.
Successful Governors and their administrations have solved these issues by having a solid leader reigning in this group of individuals and converting them into a team. That leader is the unsung hero known as the Chief of Staff. This leader is able to lead, mentor, organize, motivate all 14 of these individuals, converting them to an effective team! A team that is focused on making Alaska safer while being fiscally responsible. NO EASY FEAT.
Ultimately when a Governor is successful, it is because his/her cabinet is a “leadership team” NOT a “management team”. For those that have been assigned to successful military units or other organizations, you know there is a significant difference between a manager and a LEADER!
We wish success for the next Governor of Alaska, whomever that ends up being. If they wish to be truly successful, he/she needs to surround themselves with the right leaders in place…leaders that are mission and team oriented! One Team, One Fight!
-Aegis of Alaska
Some recommended reading on successful leadership practices in links below