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Robert Goodwin

Robert Goodwin

Robert J. Goodwin is CEO and co-founder of Executives Without Borders; former deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force and appointee at USAID, the State Department and the White House.

Archive: Robert Goodwin

Focus on the fans

George Cohen must provide constant reminders that what matters most to both the owners and the players is fan loyalty...

By Robert Goodwin | March 12, 2011; 12:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Bring critics into the fold

When conditions have deteriorated to the point at which constituencies simply will no longer accept the status quo, you either offer concessions or have them taken from you...

By Robert Goodwin | February 23, 2011; 05:46 PM ET | Comments (7)

The tumor in this nation's belly

In a normal situation, compromise is the answer--but not in this case, not in the short-term. Compromise on the current budget may create some wins, but it could risk...

By Robert Goodwin | February 18, 2011; 02:08 PM ET | Comments (9)

A national symbol of oppression

In pursuit of security and stability in the Middle East, the U.S. has traditionally turned a blind eye to autocratic rule as long as it did not...

By Robert Goodwin | February 2, 2011; 03:23 PM ET | Comments (0)


The American people sent a very clear message this last election that they were tired of the expansion of government and it excesses. And President Obama did little to communicate that he truly understands the concerns of citizens...

By Robert Goodwin | January 25, 2011; 11:27 PM ET | Comments (4)

President Hu's challenge

The thawing of tensions between the U.S. and China isn't going to come overnight--and it wasn't going to be achieved this week alone...

By Robert Goodwin | January 21, 2011; 06:25 PM ET | Comments (3)

The issue confronter: Bill Clinton

I don't always agree with his politics or his approach, but I think he has shown a willingness to take on the tough...

By Robert Goodwin | December 22, 2010; 03:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

We need more government sacrifice

President Obama's move to freeze federal workers' pay and soon-to-be Speaker John Boehner's jettisoning of his private plane are wise moves, but they are mostly symbolic. Our leaders need to be willing to do more and cut our spending down to the point we are just about to hit bone...

By Robert Goodwin | December 1, 2010; 09:46 AM ET | Comments (6)

A flawed process

It doesn't matter if you have served in the military, are young or old, are a former law enforcement officer, or have a top-level security clearance. When standing in the security line, everyone is treated the same--like a potential terrorist--and that, inherently, is the problem...

By Robert Goodwin | November 24, 2010; 01:50 PM ET | Comments (7)

'Rapid' turnarounds can be years in the making

The fundamentals of our economy and the talent of our people are strong, but it is our debt and entitlement programs that stall our recovery and long-term profitability as a nation. As with GM, rapid turnaround can come, but it will take hard choices and the courage to reset programs like social security and Medicare...

By Robert Goodwin | November 19, 2010; 02:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Buck political pragmatism

While some controversial decisions may alienate certain special interests, the "silent majority" is becoming increasingly appreciative of leaders that are willing to stick their necks out for what they believe to be the correct course of action. And most Americans who have seen their pay, benefits and savings erode are frustrated with the lack of belt-tightening in governmental salaries, benefits...

By Robert Goodwin | October 14, 2010; 11:52 AM ET | Comments (2)

Zuckerberg's on his way

Facebook's popularity has often spoken for itself. But as Facebook grows beyond 500 million global users, readies one of the most hotly anticipated IPOs in recent memory, and finds itself the subject of a controversial new film, that all must change. Zuckerberg's stakeholder community has grown exponentially-and he is about to be more dependent on it than ever before. With investors...

By Robert Goodwin | October 7, 2010; 11:48 AM ET | Comments (1)

Tea party: The new grassroots template

When an organization cedes a measure of control to those it seeks to enlist as supporters, it does more than merely make them feel as if they are a part of something larger than themselves; it instills within them a measure of personal responsibility for protecting and growing the organization. Simply put, the ownership stake that each and every member of the Tea Party movement holds is what drives the levels of activism we've seen to date.

By Robert Goodwin | September 24, 2010; 04:49 PM ET | Comments (3)

Top leaders must 'cultivate a unity of purpose'

The findings of the 2010 Best Places to Work survey are quite encouraging. They demonstrate that workers are, in fact, eager to support the top leaders in their organizations if given sufficient reason to do so. What that means from a management standpoint is that...

By Robert Goodwin | September 3, 2010; 10:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

Obama tried to show leadership, heightened tensions

It's clear that the President felt the debate surround the Ground Zero mosque had risen to the level where his lack of a position would have communicated indifference on an issue of increasing importance to the American people. It's also clear that he felt that...

By Robert Goodwin | August 27, 2010; 08:55 AM ET | Comments (2)

August recess a chance to listen

Traditionally, the August recess is what that's all about. It's a chance for Senators and Representatives to reconnect with the electorate and gain invaluable insights into how pivotal policy decisions impact Americans' day-to-day lives. As a robust understanding of constituent concerns is essential to strong leadership, I have no problem with Congress heading home in August - and especially during an election season that demands citizens be as well-informed as those they've chosen to lead.

By Robert Goodwin | August 19, 2010; 01:56 PM ET | Comments (0)

What would JP Morgan do?

In crisis, true heroes realize that their interests are inexorably tied to those of the people that depend on them.

By Robert Goodwin | July 28, 2010; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

Steinbrenner: Getting the best at any cost

The Yankees had a man at the helm who would stop at nothing and spare no expense to put the best team possible on the field. In so doing, he demonstrated to leaders everywhere that passion is every bit as important as wisdom.

By Robert Goodwin | July 16, 2010; 01:19 PM ET | Comments (0)

The ties that bind

President Obama's softer words on Wednesday don't represent retreat or compromise. Rather, they serve as a reminder that what unites Israel and the U.S. is stronger that what may occasionally divide the two nations.

By Robert Goodwin | July 9, 2010; 12:37 PM ET | Comments (7)

A just cause

Where Washington, Adams, Franklin and Jefferson saw an oppressive British regime playing an increasingly disruptive role in their daily lives, the men and women railing against big government see an erosion of the very principles those luminaries fought to establish.

By Robert Goodwin | July 2, 2010; 06:33 AM ET | Comments (18)

Battle on the third front

In both Iraq and Afghanistan there is a third front -- Washington and interagency politics.

By Robert Goodwin | June 25, 2010; 04:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

Taking a tip from Johnson & Johnson

While many CEOs and corporate boards are evaluated by their quarterly returns they have a deeper responsibility to create and protect enduring value.

By Robert Goodwin | June 18, 2010; 11:22 AM ET | Comments (1)

Zuckerberg's empty-nest syndrome

And as parents will tell you, there is a great sense of accomplishment not in raising children, but watching them handle challenges on their own.

By Robert Goodwin | June 9, 2010; 02:58 PM ET | Comments (1)

Broadcasting your failure

With each successive failure to plug the leak, however, the spillcam has evolved into a constant reminder of what's transpiring a mile below the Gulf surface and BP's inability to stop it

By Robert Goodwin | May 28, 2010; 03:43 PM ET | Comments (3)

The best and brightest

If they all hold degrees from America's most prestigious universities, so be it.

By Robert Goodwin | May 18, 2010; 02:29 PM ET | Comments (1)

Infusing new blood

In nominating appellate court-outsider Elena Kagan, President Obama is sending the message that having good judgment -- rather than having actually served as a judge -- is the key quality for a justice.

By Robert Goodwin | May 11, 2010; 04:55 PM ET | Comments (1)

Better than no leadership at all

Border security is a federal responsibility, and the federal government's non-performance to date has placed an unfair burden on Arizona that its elected leaders are at least trying to address.

By Robert Goodwin | April 29, 2010; 08:49 PM ET | Comments (13)

What we mean by 'socially responsible'

For much of its existence, the American people simply haven't understood how Goldman operates. Now, that luxury is no longer an option -- Goldman must explain itself better.

By Robert Goodwin | April 27, 2010; 12:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

Fly your leadership flag

Leaders are symbols themselves - and those most affected by disaster situations want to see the flag raised high.

By Robert Goodwin | April 21, 2010; 01:42 PM ET | Comments (0)

Guided, not governed, by popularity

Because leaders often can't generate the results they seek without a broad base of support, they must always be attuned to the public sentiment to know when greater efforts at compromise or communication are required.

By Robert Goodwin | April 16, 2010; 11:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

Lessons from the Air Force Academy

When I helped address similar scandals at the Air Force Academy some years ago, I learned that the first order of business is full disclosure.

By Robert Goodwin | March 31, 2010; 12:20 PM ET | Comments (1)

Sensing weakness

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a huge mistake with the timing of the announcement of new settlements. The U.S. made a mistake taking the disagreement public.

By Robert Goodwin | March 17, 2010; 02:58 PM ET | Comments (4)

From policy wonk to rock star

Washington is called "Hollywood for Ugly People" for the very reason that many leaders love the attention and ego-boosts that come with their newfound power.

By Robert Goodwin | March 12, 2010; 03:52 PM ET | Comments (2)

'Transformers' meets PBS

How will the multi-year wars in Iraq and Afghanistan affect the mental health of our veterans and reintegration with their families?

By Robert Goodwin | March 10, 2010; 10:53 AM ET | Comments (1)

Lock-step advisors

Dissension within a president's inner circle is rapidly being relegated to annals of American history.

By Robert Goodwin | March 8, 2010; 06:34 AM ET | Comments (0)

Vice: our common ground

They call it public life for a reason. If you have a vice, share it -- we'll find out about it anyways.

By Robert Goodwin | March 4, 2010; 11:07 PM ET | Comments (1)

Ready for a walk-out

The American people want to see work getting done in Washington, but it must be a quality job.

By Robert Goodwin | February 24, 2010; 07:42 AM ET | Comments (5)

Scary Manhattan fly-by

I can understand Holder's desire for autonomy on this issue, but so far he has shown questionable judgment.

By Robert Goodwin | February 17, 2010; 06:39 AM ET | Comments (0)

Game-changing results

What will change the game for Palin are results. She will need to roll up her sleeves and get to work─and bring others along.

By Robert Goodwin | February 10, 2010; 02:08 PM ET | Comments (3)

From service to skepticism

It will take more than sweetly delivered words to put the faith back in our hearts that government is spending our money wisely.

By Robert Goodwin | February 3, 2010; 10:17 AM ET | Comments (26)

Preventing a failed state

Make no mistake--the security of the region and of the United States is at stake in the wake of Haiti's crisis.

By Robert Goodwin | January 19, 2010; 06:48 AM ET | Comments (5)

Fewer than 42 years

Instead of another zero tolerance policy, we need freedom and openness to report and deal with offenses like Harry Reid comments.

By Robert Goodwin | January 14, 2010; 05:39 AM ET | Comments (0)

Taking our money

While we must all respect a person's privacy, what's missing is the same thing the companies that received taxpayer dollars missed: the expectations and standards that come with taking money from the public.

By Robert Goodwin | December 9, 2009; 10:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

'Service before self'

As legendary basketball coach John Wooden used to say, "Sports do not build character. They reveal it." The same is true in a crisis.

By Robert Goodwin | October 21, 2009; 06:08 AM ET | Comments (0)

Everyday Servant Leaders

Servant leaders make huge sacrifices and risk their lives for the benefit of humanity -- often laboring in obscurity.

By Robert Goodwin | October 15, 2009; 04:29 PM ET | Comments (0)

The $2,000 Meeting

It's eye-opening if 10 people meet for two hours with an average bill rate of $100 per hour. At the end of the meeting the question should be asked, "Was that meeting worth $2,000?

By Robert Goodwin | October 6, 2009; 03:17 PM ET | Comments (4)

Facing Up to Facts

I believe victory is still possible in Afghanistan--but it will require brutal honesty and a renewal of support for our mission there.

By Robert Goodwin | September 23, 2009; 12:42 PM ET | Comments (8)

Troops Without Uniforms

Nation building is not our military's strength. Now is the time for our people -- and corporations -- to contribute to Afghanistan's rebuilding.

By Robert Goodwin | August 28, 2009; 12:10 PM ET | Comments (24)

Finding the Right Sticks

Orchestrating the right incentives, both positive and negative, and holding people accountable for results, will allow President Obama to effect change we can all believe in.

By Robert Goodwin | August 19, 2009; 11:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

Health Care Summit

If President Obama can bring leaders together on both sides of the health care debate, I think all Americans would be happy to buy the first round.

By Robert Goodwin | August 5, 2009; 12:32 PM ET | Comments (1)

The Bill Is Not the Goal

Passing a bill is only a step. Substantive health reform is the goal.

By Robert Goodwin | July 29, 2009; 04:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

Adopt a Nonprofit

What if each major corporation "adopted" a nonprofit, leveraging its IT, logistics and marketing talent to serve a worthy cause? Integrating altruism into a core business model brings a proven competitive advantage.

By Robert Goodwin | July 21, 2009; 11:03 AM ET | Comments (3)

A Different Playbook

Without special discretion, investigations of national security issues can turn into public spectacles, placing our military and intelligence officials at risk and harming our image overseas.

By Robert Goodwin | July 14, 2009; 04:48 PM ET | Comments (12)

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