Making Leadership Count — 3 Different Perspectives

Hey there. I’m Emily Jarvis — the producer of the DorobekINSIDER — and welcome GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER… where we focus on six words… helping you do your job better…

Chris Dorobek is out of the office this week, but we couldn’t leave you hanging. So I’ve compiled some of the best interviews and topics from the past three months.

For today’s show, we’re going to talk about leadership. Right now times are tough at agencies with budget cuts and low employee morale. So how do you motivate your team? And what makes a highly effective leader.

  • Stretch goals — you might be able to guess what they are, but do they work?
  • Leadership lessons from Presidents. We’ll talk to the author of a new book that looks at 5 presidential leadership tactics with its author Michael Eric Siegel.
  • The 10 Commandments for a highly effective team — Insights from Admiral Eric Olson.


Stretch goals — are they a motivator or a de-motivator? Stretch goals are the often employed tactic of giving your employees a goal that is just out of their reach. The idea is motivate them to work harder. But does that work?

Daniel Markovitz is the President of TimeBack Management and the author ofA Factory of One: Applying Lean Principles to Banish Waste and Impr….

Markovitz told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER there is a bit of a folly when it comes to stretch goals.

Markovitz 3 Reason Stretch Goals Don’t Work

  • Stretch goals can be terribly demotivating: When stretch goals seem overwhelming and unattainable, they sap employees’ intrinsic motivation. The enormity of the problem causes people to freeze up, and the extrinsic motivator of money crowds out the intrinsic motivators of learning and growth.
  • Stretch goals have a dangerous tendency to foster unethical behavior: In the early 1990s, Sears gave a sales quota of $147 per hour to its auto repair staff. Faced with this target, the staff overcharged for work and performed unnecessary repairs. Sears’ Chairman at the time, Ed Brennan, acknowledged that the stretch goal gave employees a powerful incentive to deceive customers.
  • Finally, stretch goals can also — tragically — lead to excessive risk taking. Enron rewarded its executives with large bonuses for meeting specific revenue goals, irrespective of the profitability or the riskiness of the moves. Although the final book hasn’t been written on sub-prime mortgages and the ensuing banking crisis, we do know that stretch goals played a large role in putting the investment banks in serious jeopardy.

Markovitz tells us why small wins work

  • Small wins in combination with process improvement will drive your organization forward without the negative consequences of stretch goals.
  • This approach requires a willingness to abandon the “ready, fire, aim” approach to problem solving.
  • Requires a subtle — but critical — shift in focus from improving outcome metrics to improving the process by which those outcomes are achieved.


Leading a team is a difficult sometimes harrowing task. So you can only imagine how difficult managing a country can be.

That’s the subject of Michael Eric Siegel’s new book, “The President as Leader.”

The book highlights the leadership style of five different presidencies to find what works and what doesn’t.

Michael told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program what makes an effective leader.

The President as Leader by cdorobek

4 Leadership Takeaways:

  1. You can succeed in the Executive Office
  2. You need to hire professionals not your friends
  3. You need to be an effective decision maker
  4. You need a limited and manageable agenda

Some fun quotes from Siegel’s interview:

  • “It’s effective to run as an outsider…but it is hard to govern as one. You need to relationships and knowledge of how Washington works in order to get things accomplished.”
  • “George H. Bush was the ultimate insider politician. He did very well talking elite to elite. But he couldn’t communicate with the regular people.”
  • “A great leader needs to be an expert at retail politics. They need to see that all politics is not only local but personal too.”


In order to create a successful team you will need a powerful and proven leader. Admiral Eric Olson is one of the best. The Admiral is the former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command and retired Four-star Navy SEAL who has over 38 years in government.Admiral Olson by cdorobek

He told the crowd at FOSE about his list of 10 commandments to build a high powered team.

  1. Know the purpose
  2. Select the right people — or get to know the people thrust on you
  3. Train and educate your team from the start but don’t stop training
  4. Present your team with adversity and see how they handle it —Character under stress cannot be faked
  5. Organize for success
  6. Learn fearlessly
  7. Show trust in your team
  8. Hold them to a high standard
  9. Be their advocate and champion
  10. Live the life of a leader — Leaders are never off duty

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