Barack Obama is once again the president of the United States. The first thing he should do is pick his leadership team — carefully. “No other action will have a larger impact on his ability to meet the huge, immediate challenges facing the U.S.,” says Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, the author of Great People Decisions. I interviewed Fernández-Aráoz and Harvard Business School professor Nancy Koehn about why the right group of advisers is important for the president and what pitfalls he should look out for when shuffling his cabinet.

But first, he needs to lay out his objectives.

You can’t choose your advisers before you know what they’ll be advising. “What’s the overarching mission over the next four years?,” asks Koehn. “And under that umbrella, what are the three or four most important objectives? We’ve seen too many people pursue too many, or pursue the wrong ones.” Once you’ve made a plan, you can go about picking the right people for it. But it’s worth noting that, neurologically, we may do the opposite.

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