Since the election, all eyes have been on Donald Trump's Cabinet selections as he prepares to be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. A few of his choices, including Steven Mnuchin, Wilbur Ross and Ben Carson, have been viewed skeptically by critics, who cite — among other things — a lack of government experience as disqualifying them for the job.
While time will tell whether they are effective Cabinet members, they are certainly not the first appointees with no government experience — and some of those leaders have been very effective. My recent sit-down with Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker leads me to believe that some aspects of public leadership aren't so different from the private sector.
Secretary Pritzker held no government experience prior to becoming President Obama's Secretary of Commerce, but she certainly knew how to run businesses. In her 27 years of private sector experience, Secretary Pritzker started five companies, led dozens of businesses and served on the boards of big corporations like Hyatt Hotels, LaSalle National Bank and the William Wrigley Company. When she stepped up to serve her country, Secretary Pritzker's arena changed from private to public, but her objectives and challenges as a leader remained the same. She shared three key insights that, public or private, are fundamental to effective leadership: