The November elections are quickly approaching, and no matter who wins, the next term means a whole new crop of political appointees will be joining government.
The challenges facing those appointees are vast -- especially in the first two years.
Paul Lawrence is a Principal at Ernst and Young. In his new book, Paths to Making a Difference, Lawrence sat down with 24 top political executives for three extended interviews. The goal was simple -- he wanted to track their learning curves and chronicle their lessons learned.
He told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER what intrigued him about this project.
Lawrence Lessons for Success:
Accept the right job -- "You can't be a policy person in an operations role."
Make sure you know your job description -- "Sit down and describe the job expectations and what you AREN'T going to do."
Find the few things that matter -- "Often times people want to accomplish too much, you need to be careful of the urgents."
5 Categories of Political Appointees:
Producers - people who process information (Patent and Trademark Office etc.)
Infostructors - people who both deal with infostructure issues but don't actually build the product (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration/NTSB)
Regulators -- people who enforce the rules (Securities and Exchange Commission/Nuclear Regulatory Commission)
Scientists - people who have a deep understanding of both the science and the political machine (National Institute of Standards and Technology/ Department of the Interior)
Collaborators -- people who have no direct authority over the people they influence, their job is to steer policies in a suggested direction (Office of Personnel Management)
Key Quotes from Lawrence:
"At this level everybody's smart, the difference between a successful political appointee and an unsuccessful one is experience. How well can they work in the policial machine."
One of the main takeaways from the 24 political appointees profiled, "The more they worked with the career feds the more they liked them and appreciated their work."