Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

Inc Magazine Top 20 Leader shares his personal, professional, and financial secrets.

  • Orrin Woodward

    Former Guinness World Record Holder for largest book signing ever, Orrin Woodward is a NY Times bestselling author of And Justice For All along with RESOLVED & coauthor of LeaderShift and Launching a Leadership Revolution. His books have sold over one million copies in the financial, leadership and liberty fields. RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE made the Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Books and the 13 Resolutions are the framework for the top selling Mental Fitness Challenge personal development program.

    Orrin made the Top 20 Inc. Magazine Leadership list & has co-founded two multi-million dollar leadership companies. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the LIFE. He has a B.S. degree from GMI-EMI (now Kettering University) in manufacturing systems engineering. He holds four U.S. patents, and won an exclusive National Technical Benchmarking Award.

    This blog is an Alltop selection and ranked in HR's Top 100 Blogs for Management & Leadership.

  • Orrin’s Latest Book

  • 7 Day Free Access to Leadership Audios!

  • Email Me

  • NY Times Bestselling Book

  • Mental Fitness Challenge

  • Email Subscription

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,445 other subscribers

  • Categories

  • Archives

Leadership Cultures, Scoreboards, & Government

Posted by Orrin Woodward on June 3, 2013

Having led communities for over twenty years, writing several NY Times bestsellers on leadership in the process, I have thought on the subjects of leadership culture and political incompetence nonstop. Accordingly, I would like to share several fundamental principles on the subject. First, since leadership is the ability to inspire and influence teams toward specific targets, one must have a scoreboard to accurately gauge movement towards the goal. Second, leaders must inspect what they expect, holding the teams accountable to scoreboard results because the leader is being held accountable for whether his team produces the expected results. Third, since the American political structure has no scoreboard and no accountability, it consequently does not have a leadership culture capable of producing the results desired.

USA National Debt

USA National Debt

Please do not misunderstand this point. I am not saying that the political leadership in America is bad, what I am saying is it is non-existent. It doesn’t even meet the most basic of criteria to qualify as a leadership culture since a leadership culture has an inspect and expect component within it. In other words, leaders must be held accountable for the results their teams post on the scoreboard or they are not part of a leadership culture. In fact, the best leaders constantly work at creating the leadership culture because it’s the leadership culture that ultimately creates the desired results. Thus, government does not have a leadership culture because it doesn’t even have a scoreboard for leaders to inspect what they expect.

For instance, can anyone imagine an NBA basketball game without a scoreboard? Yes, the question is ludicrous to even ask, but government has run for millennia without a working scoreboard. In American sports, both the coaches and players know they will be evaluated on numerous personal and team statistics, most importantly whether they won or lost. Results matter in a leadership culture and coaches who do not win do not last. The scoreboard is omnipresent, allowing no one to hide their personal and team results. In contrast, the political field allows career politicians and bureaucrats to hide for a lifetime without ever seeing a scoreboard, let alone being held accountable to one. America’s political Titanic is taking on water, but instead of sealing the gaping holes, the bureaucrats continue to harass passengers and straighten decks chairs. Even if a LeaderShift occurs today, righting the ship will not be an easy task for the Five Laws of Decline are gaining momentum.

Nonetheless, leaders never point out a problems without suggesting potential fixes. Accordingly, here are a few ideas from Oliver DeMille and my recently released bestseller LeaderShift. First, demand that political leaders balance their budgets like every leader in America must do whether in his house, charity, or company. Each government leader must be given a budget (scoreboard) and be responsible to do his job using the funds available. If he cannot do so, then he must be held accountable. Every leader, outside of politics, learns to make cuts in non-essentials in order to balance his budget and stay in business. Leaders, in a word, lead people and manage numbers. Either the leader must cut back the services provided or explain to his constituents why he needs more tax dollars next year. I know, this is leadership 101 in free-enterprise, but it’s ignored everyday in American government.

Furthermore, while we are on the subject, eliminate completely the ability of government officials to print (fiat money) their way out of every financial problem. Remarkably, government is allowed to do what no other group of leaders is allowed to do without facing fraud charges and prison terms! Returning to the NBA example, can one imagine a team being down by twenty points that simply hands the referee twenty paper points to tie the game? Manipulations of this magnitude would not be tolerated by the NBA commissioner who, as a leader, inspects what he expects. Unfortunately, the American political system doesn’t have a leadership culture like American sports world, explaining why American sports are thriving while the American government is diving.

For that reason, the Benghazi, IRS, and AP wiretap scandals are not shocking to anyone who recognizes that government lacks a leadership culture. By avoiding any discomfort associated with scoreboards, inspect/expect, and accountability, politicians and bureaucrats can focus on more enjoyable activities, like targeting political opponents, harassing reporters, or furthering personal agendas to the detriment of America. If the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing while expecting a different result, then American government is insane. Rather than doing their assigned duties, they get to play leader without being sensible, responsible, or accountable. Imagine if, in a similar fashion, the NBA announced it would no longer keep score. The world-class leadership culture would quickly digress to political infighting and power plays, resulting in a political cesspool similar to the American political scene. Scoreboards are simply non-negotiable for anyone building a leadership culture.

In conclusion, America can change political leaders yearly, but it won’t alter the underlying cause of decline. In reality, the American government, regardless of which party is in power, has been on an orgy of deficit spending for the last 100 years and it won’t change until someone has the courage to demand a scoreboard. The scoreboard naturally leads to an inspect what we expect step and America will start on its road to recovery. It’s time to stop pointing fingers at opposing parties and time to start leading where one is at. How is one’s personal household scoreboard? What about the company or business one represents? Perhaps, the LeaderShift begins the moment we start holding ourselves accountable to the same high-standards we expect from our favorite sport teams. America’s future-generations pray we answer the questions wisely.


Orrin Woodward

28 Responses to “Leadership Cultures, Scoreboards, & Government”

  1. Chad Waters said

    Great Article Orrin!

    I love the sports anology comparison in this issue as it let’s the average person understand!, and that is what truly is going to take to create a LeaderShift that is what we need the “masses” understanding where things have gone wrong!

    Speaking from a person a mere two years ago who didn’t the system of knowledge does work when pointed at the masses and with all the comparables for the average to understand and help create a LeaderShift it is a fight we will win!

    God Bless

  2. Dean Strube said

    great analogy Orrin, love how you bring it all back to personal responsibility and our ability to lead our own self and family.
    Thanks Dean

  3. Elizabeth Sieracki said

    I have been so politically ignorant. I have chosen to ignore partly due to lack of understanding. I have an interest now and it is largely due to LIFE leadership teaching and specifically you Orrin explaining things in an understandable manner. I just got done watching the movie Lincoln. I never would have watched or had any interest in a movie like that prior to LIFE. It was so interesting learning about the processes and culture of that time period.
    I totally get the sports analogy.
    Thank you for your time and explanation.

  4. Keith Sieracki said

    Great post. Can you suggest where one would find how to set up a household scoreboard? Should it focus on finances, parenting or relationships first?

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Certainly finances is an easy one – if your outgo is more than your ingo then you are losing. 🙂 Then, anything that you can track, number of disagreements with spouse/month 🙂 etc. helps one keep score and start the PDCA. thanks, Orrin

  5. Don Schultz, Team VIP Phalanx said

    Thanks for the great article Orrin.

    The Scoreboard brings accountability which many of us don’t want too much, unless we know where we’re going and why we need to get there. Ignoring problems don’t improve them. “Problems don’t get better with age or neglect.”

    We, as in citizens of this great country of ours, need to be more involved in holding our politicians (should read statesmen) more accountable, on all levels.

  6. J & P Harteis said

    Can’t really add anything to this post, Orrin, as you said it all. It looks simple when it’s written out ~ cause & effect ~ & if we could alleviate the “pride” issue in humanity, it would be easy to solve. We’re all about giving it our best shot! Thanks for leading the way……..

  7. dave hall said

    Preach it!

    • matt mielke said

      Amen Dave. Wow, it is shocking looking at the scoreboard of national debt. A few short years ago I would’ve looked at that and said that’s impressive but so what? What does that mean? The scoreboard is the first step to get a baseline, then comes the hard part of learning the causes and the solutions and not leave it up to someone else.

      I love the life leadership culture that is spreading one household at a time. Godspeed to 1 million!

  8. Kevin Hamm said


    Great post! Financial freedom is huge in all theaters of operation. It is amazing how the score in other areas improves when finances become predictable. Financial angst is probably the tyrants greatest ally. Life is going to make such a difference. I can’t wait for the Financial Fitness Challenge. What a great tool that will be.

  9. JK said

    Re: financial scoreboard, there are quite a few great financial metrics. Net worth is the ultimate arbiter of personal wealth. You might also want to track your net operating income as well.

  10. Nick & Amanda Quinn said

    Hello Orrin! Great post as always! I like the chart (not the results it shows) in this post because it shows the true scale of the problem. How many times in the news or elsewhere have we seen charts, graphs, or other media presentations trying to sugarcoat this problem by making it look “not too bad” or pretending that these tiny cuts the gov’t makes here and there will even put a dent in the problem! Thanks for always telling it like it is! This country needs more people to stand up and create a ‘Leadershift’! We have just started our journey and we will influence history! God Bless!!

  11. CJ Calvert said

    “I am not saying that the political leadership in America is bad, what I am saying is it is non-existent.”

    Best line in the article. Way to take on America’s Goliath of rancid leadership with several smooth stones of truth, Orrin!

  12. Elam Stoltzfus said

    It is so refreshing to hear from soneone with solutions instead of just getting everyone excited about the problem without offering a solution.

  13. Orrin for President!!! I just love your common sense approach with the facts. I took away a lot of points to apply in my business . Thanks Orrin for all you do to make a difference .

  14. Richard Kroll Jr. said

    Great post Orrin! The basketball comparison really helps to understand the need for a “scoreboard” in other areas, especially government! If that graph doesn’t scare the average American into some kind of action, I don’t know what will!?

    Thank you for leading the LeaderShift!!

  15. Scott Staley said

    Great article Orrin – the graph certainly shows the magnitude of the financial situation. I get both angry, and frightened about the situation as it will be corrected through either natural cause and affect, or through conscious attention and strategically adjusting our actions. A this point – both will have far reaching consequences, but it will certainly be far better to control and influence them versus ‘hoping’ for the best.

    Thank you for waking people up and starting to make us aware of the scope of the problem. I do believe that all change starts with the individual, and I’m grateful that someone had the courage to start that process with me. Looking forward to paying it forward and waking up the rest of the country as well along the way!

  16. Bill Eder said

    Orrin: This blog nails it!! Not bad leadership just “NO leadership. To bad America has lost the scoreboard principle.
    I like the quote form Harry Truman “The buck stops here.” he was self educated and yet one of the smarter presidents.
    Where have all the leaders gone long time passing.

  17. Ben Zeier said

    When we see the scandals of the IRS, AP wiretap, and Benghazi, it is blatantly apparent as you said that there is currently no scoreboard for leadership. The blame shifts from the department heads to the President and from the President back to the Department heads. The solutions presented by the current administration & staff just seem about so-called “national security”, like the proposed “Media Shield Law” which sounds similar to the path that Joseph Goebbels started with suppression of freedom of the press with his Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. These “solutions” are about keeping those in power in power, but that should be no surprise as “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”-Lord Acton. It is our responsibility as freedom loving citizens to get people thinking again about freedom and why things are the way they are by sharing your & Oliver’s book, LeaderShift. Sharing both the cause and the true solution is key! Thanks for sharing this scoreboard idea about current politicians. It’s time to be reviewing our own scoreboards as well.

  18. Kim Decker said

    This is funny as when I went to college they still teach that the government has a checks and balance system in place and as far as the people…well we assume they should know what they are doing…OH YA THEY DO!!

  19. Thank you for the great message Orrin. I have learned many hard lessons over the years due to lack of a scoreboard.

  20. A world where political leaders would truly be held accountable! I love it!

  21. Basic rules of business, and personal finance Orrin. The analogy should be an analogy that regardless of your understanding of business, finance or economics the facts remain the same. No scoreboard or accountability no winning or losing only chaos.

  22. Jessica sorensen said


  23. Well done!

  24. Adam Gonzales said

    Thank you Orrin for helping me understand the importance of a score board in my own life!

  25. Leaders must inspect what they expect… I really love this one. awesome article thanks for sharing

  26. Peter Finlay said

    Great article Orrin – unfortunately it is not just America that lacks leadership. Most countries suffer the same problem and if WE don’t change it, there is no future for our future generations.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.