Today, the hub-and-spokes model is facing its ultimate test. It was arguably sufficient for the Trump Organization, which currently has 22,000 people on its payroll, but as president, Trump is now the ultimate boss for 2.7 million people, a 122-fold increase. For him to rely on little more than his own gut instincts, maybe (or maybe not) modified by the last person he spoke to or by whatever a Fox News commentator just said, is a high-risk strategy. And it gets still more risky when his hiring policy esteems loyalty over resume, a priority that seems unduly reckless even to some of his appointees. Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, Trump’s White House physician, has been nominated to head up the Veteran’s Administration, not because he has years of management experience (he doesn’t), but more likely because he pronounced the president to be “in excellent health.” Even Jackson apparently hesitated at the prospect of heading up a famously challenging agency with 274,000 employees. But Trump likes the way he looks: “He’s like central casting—like. Hollywood star,” Trump said during a Mar-a-Lago fundraiser in February, according to CNN.
And there’s another problem with this managerial style. Although it seems that the administration would love to privatize as much of the federal government as possible, the business methods that the Trump Organization regularly employed—no-bid contracts, ruthless cost-cutting, partial or sometimes no payment to vendors, and, ultimately, corporate bankruptcy—are not options available to the White House.