How to Manage a Presidential Transition - Hero

How to Manage a Presidential Transition

Federal agencies and government institutions have their work cut out for them as the new administration takes office.

The transition to a new presidential term is a massive undertaking—and one of the key hallmarks of US democracy. Effective governance on a national scale depends on a smooth White House transition process and, just as important, on federal agencies’ ability to adapt and react to the demands of a new term. Our government institutions—and the Biden administration—need a playbook for how to navigate this critical period, particularly amid the turbulence brought by the coronavirus pandemic.

BCG x Atlantic Re:think Present American Metamorphosis

Atlantic Re:think is the branded content studio within The Atlantic

In this podcast series, we present compelling insights on how civil servants and government agencies can move forward in these turbulent times.

Episode 2, “Goodbye, Kansas,” sheds light on a tough and timely conundrum: In times of crisis, do you get back to basics or reinvent the wheel?

Contributors: Jim Bloom, media executive and Star Wars coproducer | Louis Hyman, professor of history and Director of the Institute for Workplace Studies at Cornell University | Emily Serazin, a managing director and partner at BCG, and vaccine and global health expert

Moderator: Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani, an Emmy-nominated correspondent, writer, and producer


At BCG, we know there’s a lot of work to be done outside of the Executive Office. Government agencies, particularly, bear the brunt of the transition, while civil servants—the backbone of government—are responsible for managing changes as they occur. New policies mean new organizational priorities, a turnover in high-level leadership positions, and, in many cases, the need to reimagine how things gets done.

BCG’s deep experience in partnering with the highest levels of the public sector, and our wide-ranging capabilities in related topics, will serve these agencies well today and for the work that still lies ahead.

BCG Insights on Agency Transitions

This three-part series provides government leaders with the insights they need to execute their agendas quickly and effectively, beginning in the first 100 days of the Biden administration.

Discover Our Work with the Partnership for Public Service

BCG has worked with the Partnership for Public Service’s Center for Presidential Transition since 2012 to produce resources for three presidential transitions, including a curriculum for senior leaders, counsel for transition teams, and the Presidential Transition Guide, which is the first comprehensive document of its kind.

BCG Experts in the News

I believe what we’re going to see is an overlapping agenda between what business wants to do on many fronts and what the new administration has said it wants to achieve.

Read Rich Lesser’s interview on the ties between business and politics in Marketplace

Rich Lesser
Chief Executive Officer
New York

As a new agency head, there are certain things you should be doing and focusing on to make sure you’re off to a strong start with good momentum. Establish behaviors that are going to lead to your success.

Read Danny Werfel’s interview on how leaders can ground themselves after a transition in Federal News Network

Danny Werfel
Managing Director & Partner
Washington, DC

Leading in the New Reality

What will the world look like after the pandemic? The answer is, in part, up to leaders in business and government around the world. They can shape our new reality.

Learn About Our Expertise

Agencies are planning for change, organizing for success, building new teams, and clearly expressing their objectives—no mean feat, especially in a global pandemic. In this landscape of uncertainty and transformation, agencies can look to BCG for expertise in the following topics:

Large-Scale Change. Many public sector organizations operate in a state of constant flux, but a new term requires extra diligence and adaptability.

Leadership Development. Turnover is a reality in any presidential transition. New leaders must be ready to take charge of their organizations and to build effective teams.

Digital Government. Change is inevitable. Agencies must harness technology and AI solutions to transform themselves while managing costs.

Taxpayer Experience. Even amid change, federal agencies must continue to provide for citizens. Now is the time to implement new ways of working and to improve the user experience.

Employee Upskilling. The start of a new term provides an excellent opportunity to improve processes and develop talented teams capable of serving the American people.


Public Sector

A presidential transition is no excuse for public sector organizations to slow down. They are expected to deliver seamlessly for their citizens, even during a transition—and especially in times of crisis. These organizations must continue to devise creative solutions to complex problems. BCG helps the public sector improve how it operates so that it can meet, and exceed, its high-stakes goals.

Meet BCG’s Experts in the Public Sector and the Presidential Transition

  • Presidential transition
  • Global post-merger integration in the private sector
  • Large-scale transformation
  • Organization design and leadership effectiveness
  • Presidential transition
  • Organization and leadership
  • Manufacturing, logistics, and the postal industry
  • Heavy and light building materials
  • Presidential transition
  • Agency transformation
  • Risk management
  • Change management
  • Presidential transition
  • Large-scale transformations
  • Innovation in government
  • Agile organization design
  • Presidential transition
  • Defense and security
  • Aerospace and defense
  • Corporate strategy and planning
  • Presidential transition
  • Large-scale change
  • Transformation management office
  • Change management
  • Presidential transition
  • Retail
  • Data, digital, and advanced analytics
  • Large-scale transformation
  • Presidential transition
  • Large-scale and operational transformation
  • Change management
  • Operating model/organization design
How to Manage a Presidential Transition