Okay, I’ve worked with Peter for a couple years, and just saw a very positive article which understates his performance and results for vets. For those years, I’ve seen remarkable work including real innovation, like employee and vendor innovation, and increasing use of social media.
I bear witness to this, including some worry that he’s been working eighty hour weeks routinely. (I couldn’t do it.)
Anyway, he reports to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, to get it right.
“I’m a huge believer in a very high tolerance for errors and mistakes,” he said. “I assume that most of the things I do are going to be wrong or somehow mistaken. So I rely on a highly iterative process, a highly collaborative process and a highly communicative process that allows me to say, ‘What about? What if? Could we try? Let’s engage each other constructively in a conversation not about why it won’t work but how it will work.'”
Levin says his aim is to “encourage the culture” at VA to “recognize that it’s much better to have tried something silly and know not what to do than to stay in the rut you’re in, knowing that you’re never going to succeed on the trajectory that you’re on,.”
“In government, frankly, there’s a premium in saying ‘no’ because if you say ‘no,’ nobody can hold you accountable for having made a mistake. I’m trying to find the ‘yeah sayers,’ the ones who say ‘I have no idea either but I know how to run an experiment.'”
Peter just blogged about new efforts to help vets, particularly regarding finding a job, check out Celebrating Our Veterans With “Apps for Heroes”.