Community & Government

Accountability Leads to Results

George W. Bush

Lesson time 11:06 min

When developing a plan, leaders need to create outcomes that are measurable, and the right people need accountability. Learn how President Bush develops clear goals and achieves results.

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Topics include: When developing a policy or plan, leaders need to create outcomes that are measurable and the right people need accountability. Learn how President Bush develops clear goals that achieve results.


[MUSIC PLAYING] GEORGE W. BUSH: For those listening, one of the keys to success is clear, realistic, and measurable goals. In the face of preventable death and suffering, we have a moral duty to act, and we are acting. I know Americans are concerned-- Throughout my life, I've tried to have measurement standards that people could understand. If the goals aren't clear, it's hard to hold people to account. [MUSIC PLAYING] A business where accountability is pretty apparent is the baseball business. All you got to do is look at the standings. It's the ultimate accountability, isn't it? Is your team winning or is your team losing? And if it's not winning, what does it take to create a winning program? The interesting challenge for baseball is it can't happen instantly. You can't win instantly. You have to have a strategy to build up your team. The oil business was pretty clear. Either the well was a good one or a bad one, and did you have more good ones than bad ones? Otherwise, you'll go out of business. And government-- now, government gets a little fuzzy sometimes, a little hazy, which frustrates a lot of Americans, because it's really hard to hold government bureaucracy to account. And oftentimes, it's because there are not clear goals. [MUSIC PLAYING] One of the hallmarks of the No Child Left Behind legislation was accountability, measurement. As I campaigned for Governor of Texas, I asked, what are the goals of the Texas education system. And there were like 30 goals. And it became apparent to me that the number of goals needed to be shrunk to a manageable number, and one that was consequential. The goal should be can a person read, which should be the major goal of education systems across the country. One of the reasons I ran for governor in the first place was my desire to make sure children weren't promoted to an extra grade without having a basic set of knowledge. I was particularly concerned about our minority students, who it seemed to me were just being shuffled through the system without concern if they could read, write, add, and subtract. Anecdotal evidence suggests that was the case, because I went to a lot of inner city schools, and would ask principals and teachers what they were dealing with, and their problems. And one of the reasons why is that our school systems were not measuring. And we owe the children of America a good education. And today begins a new era, a new time in public education in our country. The beginning of No Child Left Behind came here in Texas, when we said to the legislators, if you're going to spend money, shouldn't we know whether or not we're getting good results? It's what I call challenging the soft bigotry of low expectations. We don't think you can learn, therefore we're just going to move you through to the system. And so I viewed education as a civil right. And when I got to Washington, you know, 7% of the budget-- education budget, ...

About the Instructor

Step inside the Oval Office with the newest instructor in our White House series, President George W. Bush. With insight from former First Lady Laura Bush, the former commander in chief opens up about the tough calls and life lessons that shaped his career. Develop and own a leadership style that’s true to you and learn to lead by connecting personally with everyone in the room.

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