Honest Tea Only One Aspect of Obama’s .com Management Style


The New York Times has reported that President Obama stocks his fridge with Honest Tea, an organic, Fair Trade, and unconventional beverage symbolic of the many cultural changes he is making within the White House. The article–read it here–went into detail about Obama’s management style, which is remarkably similar to what .coms exhibited earlier this decade. Here are the main ways Obama’s management style resembles that seen in .com organizations (using citations from the NYT article):

Accessibility: Mr. Obama has exhibited a relatively informal working relationship with aides like his staff secretary, Lisa Brown. In a visit to the Capitol on Tuesday, Mr. Obama surprised his former Senate colleagues by stopping to talk to reporters.

Casual dress: An ironclad rule of the George W. Bush administration — coat and tie in the Oval Office at all times — fell by the wayside, only the first of many signs that a more informal culture is growing up in the White House under new management. The president issued an informal edict for “business casual” on weekends.

He arrives and leaves late: He shows up at the Oval Office shortly before 9 in the morning, roughly two hours later than his early-to-bed, early-to-rise predecessor. He eats dinner with his family, then often returns to work; aides have seen him in the Oval Office as late as 10 p.m., reading briefing papers for the next day.

He is a hands-on manager:
In the West Wing, Mr. Obama is a bit of a wanderer. When Mr. Bush wanted to see a member of his staff, the aide was summoned to the Oval Office. But Mr. Obama tends to roam the halls.

His meetings drag on:
In the Obama White House, meetings start on time and often finish late. When the president invited Congressional leaders to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue last week to talk about his economic stimulus package, the session ran so long that Mr. Obama wound up apologizing to the lawmakers — even as he kept them talking, engaging them in the details of the legislation far more than was customary for Mr. Bush.

He introduced alternative cuisine:
There is also a new addition to White House cuisine: the refrigerators are stocked with the president’s favorite organic brew: Honest Tea, in Mr. Obama’s preferred flavors of Black Forest Berry and Green Dragon.

Written by Drea Knufken

Currently, I create and execute content- and PR strategies for clients, including thought leadership and messaging. I also ghostwrite and produce press releases, white papers, case studies and other collateral.