Do you evaluate a new employee after 100 days? I didn’t think so.
(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)
Late last year a client of mine hired a new accounting manager. Being an accounting manager at a 60-person company is not an easy job.
He supervises a staff of three people that enter orders, invoices, payables and vendor payments. He must oversee the preparation of monthly statements for the owner. To do this job, he must be intimately familiar with the company’s books and records and all the transactions that flow through its general ledger. This means he must understand how the company values and accounts for its inventory and the entire flow of cash from–from quote to order to invoice to payment both from a customer and to a supplier. Besides these duties, he handles personnel matters like the company’s health insurance and benefit plans.
The jury’s still out on this guy, according to my client. He’s doing okay but not surprisingly, he’s made mistakes. He’s rubbed a few people the wrong way, missed an important deadline and still hasn’t gotten his arms around the company’s inventory valuation methods. But he’s getting better. It’s a big job, right? And besides, it’s only been about four months.
The owner understands this. She knows that this job is challenging. She knows that people need time to get up to speed on a new responsibility. A business owner like her isn’t going to judge the effectiveness of a new employee – especially one in a managerial role, after only four months. He’ll need at least half a year, if not more, to really settle in and make things happen. I’m rooting for the new accounting manager and so is my client. Everyone wants him to succeed. Much time and energy has been invested in him. Hopefully things will continue to go in the right direction.
See where I’m going?
No one, with the exception of Donald Trump, will agree that the first three months of his administration is going well. We’re familiar with all that’s happened. The creepy inauguration speech. The failed first attempt at healthcare reform. The chaotic new immigration procedures. The White House in-fighting. The policy reversals on NATO, Russia, the Export-Import bank, NAFTA and Chinese trade from stances he took while campaigning for office. The tweets. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
But like my client’s accounting manager, I’m rooting for Donald Trump. He’s our president. Regardless of Hillary Clinton’s majority, 61 million people voted for him and I respect that. I know and have met a lot of these people – many of them are business owners like myself – and these are smart, good people who want a better country and a better government. If my client’s accounting manager makes mistakes, says the wrong thing or doesn’t do a good job it negatively impacts her company. So the same with Donald Trump. In a much bigger way, of course.
Trump’s 100th day in office is April 29. It will likely be the big story that day– a story that he helped create and has been encouraging. That was another poor decision on his part. The media will look at what he’s accomplished and do a micro-review of his administration to date. It will not be flattering.
But the good news for him is the great majority of those 61 million people will ignore those reviews. Many are employees, owners and managers at small businesses and big corporations somewhere between New York and San Francisco. They would never judge a fellow employee, a supervisor or a subordinate in a mere 100 days. They, themselves, would never want to be judged in so short a time either. That’s why Trump’s voters aren’t going to pass judgment on his performance next week. They’re going to give him more time. They know that being an accounting manager at a 60-person company is tough enough. Being president of the United States is just a wee bit harder.
As I’ve learned over the years, they are usually right.