An Open Letter to Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President-Elect of Mexico
Dear Mr. López Obrador,
I’m writing this letter because I’m deeply concerned about how your presidency will perform and be evaluated by history. I hope that you don’t find this message intrusive but that you find it helpful instead.
Let’s use the analogy of a well-performing car. A car needs a very good steering wheel so that the driver can point the car in the direction he chooses, without difficulty.
A very responsive steering wheel, however, is not enough to make a good car. A car also needs a strong engine that can carry it in the direction that the driver steers it. But, a reliable steering wheel and a powerful engine are not enough, either. The driver can steer the car in a direction blocked by an obstacle they did not notice at first. The engine, being plenty strong, can drive the car forward into the obstacle, causing a collision. What a car needs to perform well is a strong set of breaks, too.
Your governing structure has an outstanding steering wheel: you, Mr. President. I have read about your priorities, about the things you want to do, and I’m impressed. You’re pointing the car in the direction you strongly believe in and your administration has a powerful engine: your party. It dominates the legislative branch of government and you are in control of the executive branch, going to get control of the central bank, and have a sound connection with the media. You have more power and authority as a president than any other president has had in the recent history of Mexico. You can drive this car in the direction you want without much difficulty.
What you are missing is a set of brakes. When looking at the people on your team—those who staff your presidential office, those elected to the House of Representatives and Senate, and those on your cabinet—I see a lot of academics and people driven by ideology, people who don’t necessarily have both feet on the ground. Even though your steering wheel is very responsive and supported by a powerful engine, without brakes, your administration might make some major mistakes. It might hit a wall.
You appear to have too many priorities already. You might end up driving in circles, in one direction then the opposite, and you might crash. There is no one on your team that I can identify who is going to say, “Stop, we are doing too much”, “Stop” or “slow down”, or “This is the wrong direction to take at this time”, or, “We are doing this in the wrong sequence”. You have a very strong personality, and you are driven by zeal to achieve as much as possible, as fast as possible. Challenging you is probably political suicide for most.
Because your priorities are interrelated, following one priority might endanger other priorities. I don’t see someone on your team who can influence you and focus your intentions. If you drive a car with a strong engine erratically and without brakes, the car might roll.
Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes
Founder and CEO, Adizes Institute Worldwide