Bob Stone
Author & Speaker

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Confessions of a Civil Servant
The Ethics Challenge
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 Latest News
Bob and his partner, Mick Ukleja, just finished a new book,The Ethics Challenge: Strengthening Your Integrity in a Greedy World.  Read more about it by clicking the link above.

ORDER Confessions of a Civil Servant 

If you would like me to send you a chapter from either book via email, just email me and tell me which chapter from which book you'd like.

Bob Stone's Bio

I'm Bob Stone. I teach business ethics to MBA students and to undergrads at the University of Redlands. I also consult and conduct workshops on ethics, ethical leadership, and leading change, and I serve on the governing council and faculty of the Ukleja Center for Ethical Leadership at California State University, Long Beach. I had a 30-year career as a civil servant, where I was credited with starting a quality revolution at the Pentagon, and then later at the White House led the campaign to reinvent the U.S. government.

My partner, Mick Ukleja, and I believe our institutions—government, business, sports, the law—are suffering from a lack of thinking about ethical requirements. The people are good, but their best nature is being hijacked by an atmosphere of greed that surrounds everybody. Mick and I believe that can change.

That’s why we wrote our new book, The Ethics Challenge: Strengthening Your Integrity in a Greedy World.  This breezy, story-filled guide to becoming a more ethical person explains why ethical behavior is a winning strategy, then lays out six things everyone can do to keep strong and to follow their good intentions.

My earlier book told the stories of what I learned in my years of trying, sometimes successfully, sometimes not, to change the huge organizations that are the Defense Department and the entire U. S. Government.  It’s called Confessions of a Civil Servant: Lessons in Changing America's Government and Military.  Tom Peters wrote a cool foreword, in which he calls it "the best text ever on making it in government, and maybe the best text ever on large-scale organization change. Anywhere."  It’s also been praised by leaders in government, politics, the military, and business, and has been used as a textbook at Harvard’s Kennedy School, SUNY-Albany, Washington State University, and at the Universities of Texas , Southern California, and Montana.

I believe in helping government organizations reinvent themselves by making systemic changes, but where my passion really lies is in leadership behavior. I believe that organizational leaders can make HUGE changes through their behavior—how they spend their time, how they trust and empower people, how they focus on their vision, how they "walk the walk." And I love to help leaders transform their organizations through systemic changes, sure, but mainly through their personal behavior.

I started out as an engineer in the aerospace industry after getting bachelor’s and master’s degrees from MIT. I was so good at designing and diagnosing heat exchangers that I was hired by the Pentagon to analyze tanks and helicopters. I was good at that too, so they started to put me in charge of people.

My re-education started. I learned how super-smart managers at headquarters were—usually inadvertently—handcuffing top leaders in the field and at the front lines, and how innovation and change were powerfully inhibited by central control. I saw how the systems of management at the center were even keeping front-line workers from getting the tools they needed to do their work.

I soon became a radical decentralizer and passionate advocate of excellence. I fought a guerilla battle to get authority in the hands of front line workers and, especially, base commanders. I was inspired and taught by the greatest military leader of the last 40 years, Air Force General Bill Creech. 

David Osborne and Ted Gaebler discovered what I was doing and wrote a lot about it in Reinventing Government. That led to Al Gore hiring me to lead his reinvention task force, where I spent the last six years of my federal career, crusading to spread trust, empowerment, and of course customer service throughout the federal government. And then in 1999 the pull of our grandchildren drew me and my wife, Roxane to California. 

When we're not watching our grandchildren grow, which is my favorite thing, and when I'm not energizing public organizations, which is my life work, I love watching ballet and the Washington Redskins, and poking around Turkey and other interesting places around the world with Roxane.

Copyright 2013 by Bob Stone. All rights reserved.