Sunday, August 9, 2009

Billings Reflects on his Time as Energy Exec

There's a lot of wisdom in former Air Force energy exec Kevin Billing's post game analysis of his time in office. The whole article is here, but the part that's most applicable to the work of this blog and its readership is called "Respect the Systems":
You are in an organization of hundreds of thousands of people, in uniform, civilians and contractors. They manage thousands of programs worth hundreds of billions of dollars. There must be systems and processes to manage it all. Will you find that constraining? Yes. Can they be improved? Yes, your ideas on how to improve them are important. How you get from here to there will be dependent on how well you work within the system. You will be able to change certain things simply because of your throw-weight. But if you want the change to be lasting, it must be written down, vetted and cemented in policy. This is the really hard work of government. Walking things through what seems to be endless coordination is often what separates lasting policy from the flavor of the month. Cultivate those who understand and can effectively work the system.
That last sentence ... that's addressed to you, and others who care (and know) enough to keep pushing energy policy improvements until senior leadership cries "Uncle".

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