Well, I’ve had some really nice reactions to my blog series on historic approaches to team-building. The present article is from a relatively recent time, the 1970s, and I owe it to Calissa Furbian, a librarian at the Richard Nixon Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California. https://www.nixonlibrary.gov/
She sent me a redacted transcript of thoughts that Nixon dictated to an aide back in late July, 1974. This was as the Watergate crisis was rising to a peak, and morale in the White House was plummeting.
Thoughts On Staff Morale
By Richard Nixon, Commander In Chief [dictated]
1. Hide & Seek
[muffled]… great way to raise staff morale. [angry mumbling]… Chocolate… [inaudible]… The skill of hiding is encoded to us by evolution [muffled] most important. Let’s focus more on the hiding and not the seeking. We can use my Secret Service detail to do the seeking. Or maybe the Attorney General. All aides must play this game at least twice per day for the foreseeable future.
2. Acting Classes
Reagan has done well for himself, hasn’t he? Maybe there’s something to this acting business after all? Perhaps it’s not just for [politically incorrect slur – redacted by Remote Pals]. Maybe my entire staff should take acting classes? I think that’s a good idea.
3. Trust Fall From The White House Roof
The presence of leakers has really damaged morale. These trust fall things [inaubible]… yes, that’s it. Raise morale. Let’s commit though. People can fall from an upstairs window, and the rest of the staff can have some kind of a big net on the ground to catch them. Speak to Ruben [campaign finance chairman, Ruben Lugredts] about a donation from the nylon or fishing lobby.
4. Let’s Play Magnets!
[Muffled] Ya know what I always loved as a kid? Magnets! Playing with magnets was so much fun – and educational too. I think it’d be swell if my entire staff started playing with magnets… But we need a special games room. What about that room with all the audio tapes? We could do it in there, right?…
5. Let’s Burn Down The House!
Yes, let’s burn it all down! Fire is elemental and there’s nothing like a good crisis to unite the nation… [inaudible] Illegal, you say? I don’t see your point…