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Terry Newell
Terry has devoted his career to public service, first as an Air Force officer, then as director of training for the U.S. Department of Education, and most recently as Dean of Faculty of the Federal Executive Institute, the federal government’s premiere residential executive education center. He left federal service in 2005 and currently has his own firm, Leadership for a Responsible Society.

Terry's current work is focused on ethics and values-based leadership in government. In 2007, he co-edited The Trusted Leader: Building the Relationships That Make Government Work (CQ Press). His recent books include Statesmanship, Character, and Leadership in America (Palgrave Macmillan) and Reflections on America (Loftlands Press)..

Terry believes in the immense power of people to create the organizations they desire for themselves and the people they serve. Bloody Mary in the play South Pacific, said it best: “You gotta have a dream if you wanna have a dream come true.”

Entries by Terry Newell

A Citizen's Plea

(0) Comments | Posted November 13, 2014 | 8:25 AM

In his Farewell Address, President George Washington pleaded with his countrymen to give the republican government they had created a chance to work. He knew that sectional rivalries, factions, and human nature itself could drive apart those who should cherish the fact that they shared the name "American."


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Gotcha, Government!

(1) Comments | Posted October 26, 2014 | 8:00 AM

A recent CBS News poll confirms what we already know. The performance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Veterans Affairs Department (VA), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is rated as "fair/poor" by most Americans (60, 66, and 53 percent respectively). Missteps on...

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What Do You Think, America?

(0) Comments | Posted August 22, 2014 | 11:00 AM

Did Officer Darren Wilson deliberately gun down Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri? Should Jody Arias get the death penalty? Was President Obama wrong to play golf after announcing his outrage at the execution of James Foley by ISIS terrorists? Should American Ebola patients be brought to the U.S. for treatment?...

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The Contagion of National Anger

(0) Comments | Posted July 7, 2014 | 10:11 AM

Facebook and two university researchers have been criticized for a study in which the popular social networking site deliberately manipulated the news feeds of 700,000 users to test "emotional contagion," the concept that people can pass on their emotional state to others. When Facebook reduced the number of incoming positive...

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Presidents and Strategic Leadership

(0) Comments | Posted June 24, 2014 | 7:44 AM

Americans (57 percent of them, at any rate) recently gave President Obama a failing grade for his leadership in foreign policy. In Libya, Egypt, Syria, Ukraine and now Iraq, the president has seemed, to many, to lack a coherent strategy and the ability to advance U.S. interests. Before...

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The Forgotten Preamble

(0) Comments | Posted June 13, 2014 | 6:39 AM

Both individuals and institutions have become sophisticated in using the U.S. Constitution to support policies they favor - and fight against those they do not. Whether arguing about the meaning of the Second Amendment as it relates to bearing arms or the First Amendment as it relates to free speech...

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Foresight and Foolishness

(0) Comments | Posted June 2, 2014 | 7:42 AM

On April 1, 1976, Ron Wayne entered a partnership with Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. Called Apple, the new company prepared to launch its first computer. By the end of that same month, Wayne agreed to a payout of $2,300 to give up all rights to future Apple earnings. He...

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The Cycle of Distrust

(0) Comments | Posted April 26, 2014 | 9:24 AM

Americans' distrust in their national government began to decline during the Vietnam War, which led Lyndon Johnson to abandon the presidency rather than run for a second term. The decline intensified with Watergate, which forced out Richard Nixon in disgrace. Americans' trust in the federal government has never recovered. It...

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The CEO as a Public Official

(0) Comments | Posted April 9, 2014 | 10:42 AM

Multiple lives are lost in a tragedy that makes the national news. Early reports suggest that mismanagement, perhaps even criminal negligence, may have been a factor. A contrite leader promises transparency, launches a full investigation and meets with victims' families. A man with a national reputation for integrity and efficiency...

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It Takes an Abbey

(0) Comments | Posted March 20, 2014 | 5:53 PM

If you were not watching the Super Bowl on February 2, chances are that you might have been were watching the BBC's hit series Downton Abbey. For the second year running, it ranked second in viewership on that night. The show has sparked such loyalty that Downton parties, in early...

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America: Paying the Piper

(0) Comments | Posted March 5, 2014 | 8:35 AM

One of the lessons we teach our children, when their underdeveloped decision-making machinery is still in charge, is simply this: "If you make that decision now, you will have to live with the consequences later." It is a lesson about the need to consider the implications of a decision. It...

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The Legacy We Leave

(2) Comments | Posted February 11, 2014 | 11:06 AM

My father died a quarter century ago today. I am now just eight years younger than he was when we lost him, so I find my thoughts increasingly turning to the question of his legacy and the legacy I hope to leave to my children. I wonder if my own...

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Leadership and the Apology

(0) Comments | Posted January 12, 2014 | 10:36 AM

National political figures have been doing a lot of apologizing recently. In October, President Obama apologized for the disastrous roll-out of the website. Just recently, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie apologized for what was quickly called "bridgegate," the deliberate closure of two of three lanes from New Jersey into...

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Speaking the Music

(0) Comments | Posted January 4, 2014 | 8:37 PM

Some moments offer life's lessons when I least expect it. Yesterday, several hundred of us gathered in a cavernous tent on the campus of the University of South Florida to hear 26 local young violinists play a Vivaldi concerto. They were practicing with the String Orchestra of the Perlman Music...

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Tyranny of the Minority

(16) Comments | Posted December 26, 2013 | 7:27 AM

Watching interest group politics in America recalls what Gerald Ford said after Nixon resigned - that the time is one which "troubles our minds and hurts our hearts." Yet, more than two centuries ago, James Madison wrote about the danger of factions to republican government. In that sense, despite our...

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Obamacare: Mismanagement, But Messed Up Politics Too

(1) Comments | Posted December 5, 2013 | 5:28 PM

There is no question that the roll-out of, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) enrollment website, has been a management disaster. The president agrees. The Administration had three-and-a-half years to get it right, and they got it wrong.

To some this is evidence that the federal government just can't manage...

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Have We Forgotten How to Forgive?

(4) Comments | Posted November 25, 2013 | 8:09 AM

In Philomena, Judi Dench plays a mother whose 1950s teenage pregnancy led her to an Irish convent where she gave birth and had to work for several years in return. As a toddler, her son was taken from her and given to American adoptive parents. Philomena's daughter convinces a recently...

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The Crises of Complexity

(0) Comments | Posted November 16, 2013 | 7:25 AM

The astronomer Carl Sagan was once asked why, if the possibility of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe was so large, we had never been contacted by another civilization. He offered two possible reasons. The first was that the distances were so large that crossing them had not been possible....

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Ethics is Leadership Work

(0) Comments | Posted October 31, 2013 | 8:09 AM

Pressed in recent days on his reaction to the revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been spying on the personal phone calls of the leaders of friendly governments, President Obama remarked that it is obvious that "what we could do is not necessarily what we should do." From...

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Dear United States: Is This What Democracy Is Like?

(6) Comments | Posted October 27, 2013 | 3:20 PM

This is not America's finest hour. Daily revelations of the excesses of the National Security Agency (NSA) suggest that American spying -- on its own citizens and friendly nations -- is out of control. Obamacare, the effort to ensure that all Americans have affordable health care, is so controversial that...

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