Getting Back To “Good Enough For Government Work!”
Leadership Development Program


“Good Enough For Government Work” is a phrase that originated in World War II. It was during a time when we worked hard to provide our allies and our very own soldiers the ships, planes and weapons to fight and win the war against the Axis powers.

When the phrase was used during this period in time, it meant it was good enough to pass very stringent standards. It also meant it was good enough to be used by your son, father or loved one in our country’s fight against the enemy.

I’ve had the privilege of sharing my program with hundreds of public sector managers, supervisors and foremen from different areas and organizations. I’ve asked every audience if the phrase, “Good Enough For Government Work” means the same today as when it originated. I have yet to receive one yes answer. Normally I wait for the laughter to stop.

My next question to them is when did it change? 1955? Between 1963 and 1965? 1974 and 1976? Did it change when there were was a Republican President? A Democratic President? The answer to this is NO.

It changed gradually over time. This is how my attendees have said it changed:

  • It changed with every manager, supervisor or upper level manager ignoring a poor performer.
  • It changed when managers and supervisors decided it just wasn’t worth the headache and paperwork to address poor performers.
  • It changed as high performers watched poor performers go unaddressed month after month after year after year until the high performer says “what’s the use” and becomes a mediocre performer.
  • It changed when tenure was viewed as immunity to discipline or dismissal.
  • It changed when the first manager said “they’ve been here 20 years. What am I going to do, fire them?”
  • It changed when a manager said “oh, that’s just the way they are. Just ignore them.”
  • It changed when promotions were based on seniority rather than performance.
  • It changed with a gradual decline of Education, Engagement and Accountability.

In Fact, much of it changed as a result of this:


Leadership turning their head and ignoring problems. 

This only occurs as a lack of Education, Engagement and Accountability and is present in the both the public and private sector.

#1 Objective- 

Getting Back To “Good Enough For Government Work!”™ insures that every manager, supervisor and foreman has the Education to use every leadership tool available to improve results. This prepares them for the total accountability that SHOULD accompany drawing a paycheck. 

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Every team is either improving or maintaining. Maintaining is the same as falling behind. Only improvement keeps the doors open. Getting Back To “Good Enough For Government Work!™” is built on these personally witnessed lessons from 30+ years of Leadership, Life and Human resources. You will leave with these tools and the knowledge to apply; 

1. The importance of being able to answer “What has improved in the past 12 months as a direct result of your actions?” at any given time.

2. How documented one-on-one discussions of praise, expectations, their role in the bigger picture, progress, company culture or vision improve your results and morale. If these documented discussions are non-existent, so is improvement.

3. How many team members have been placed on a performance improvement plan or level of discipline for poor performance in the past 24 months? What this number tells me about your level of Engagement, Accountability and Leadership.

4. The importance of letting your team members know you are “For Them”, NOT “Against Them” or “For Yourself” even when you use discipline.

5. The importance of viewing your Manager or Supervisor role as a professional. Managers and Supervisors must have the knowledge and skills to save livelihoods just as a doctor saves lives.

6. How to improve at the uncomfortable task of having “courageous conversation.” Those that are unwilling or unable to initiate “courageous conversations” are creating additional stress in their life AND putting livelihoods in jeopardy.

7. Why you should Educate, Engage and hold your team Accountable. The indescribable emotion of a success story. 

I would love for you to invite me to your next leadership event and receive the feedback received by the leadership after a program at Red River Army Depot:

Keep it as interesting as this one; Have more of Greg Gilbert; GREAT JOB BEST EVER!-Bring Mr. HR with Guitar Back!- The training provided useful information in the areas of being a successful leader- enjoyed the key-note speaker. Good insight. Employees need to hear this.-Best symposium so far-Mr. Gilbert was outstanding- Bring Greg Gilbert back, he could help in developing several supervisors.-Recommend Mr. Gilbert work with us on workshops-Non government speakers with private industry points of view- Great Speaker-very inspirational

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This 45-90 minute program is a direct result of four significant events in my life;

1. Two non-management positions where I was Educated, Engaged and held extremely Accountable.
2. My first management position where my leader invested in me. I was shown how to build Educated, Engaged and Accountable teams, not to just distribute tasks and put out fires.
3. An attorney that informed a newly promoted Greg Gilbert, “if it’s not written, it did not occur.” I took this advice to heart and this has allowed me to create a huge Written Warehouse Of Leadership And Life Lessons based on real life successes, failures and what led to each.
4. A dozen years as the primary HR contact to at times over 2200 team members. This greatly expanded the Written Warehouse Of Leadership And Life Lessons.

Hopefully “Good Enough For Government Work” has its original meaning in your crew or organization. It disappeared in many organizations due to a lack of Education, Engagement, Accountability or Leadership. It can be restored beginning with one leader building an Educated, Engaged and Accountable team.

Contact us for a quote for your next meeting or conference. Our message will apply to five or 500. 

“Most managers have responsibility for a six or seven figure annual payroll AND the livelihoods associated with it. If they focus on helping each team member become successful; the result WILL be improved profitability, customer service and morale. This is becoming “Brilliant In The Basics” and does not fail. The ONLY way you will improve your results or morale is to increase your Education, Engagement and Accountability. With your permission, that’s what I do.”
– Greg Gilbert

Overall Goal and Learning Objective:

1. Provide each attendee with the knowledge and tools to truly treat each aspect of their leadership and life like they own it. Even if you work for someone else, you are totally responsible for your success and the success of your team if you are in leadership. Have each attendee and organization take an honest, non-threatening look at their business and life. What can we change?

2. Have each attendee implement some of the “Good Seeds” and eliminate the “Bad Seeds” currently hindering their progress.

3. Equip attendees to answer the “Top 10% Manager” Test Question at any time:

What has improved in the past year as a result of my actions?”

This question drives accountability and success.

4. Give you the tools to improve your results and morale by increasing your Education, Engagement and Accountability!


P.S. “Both of my parents worked for over 30 years in the public sector. My dad was a supervisor and as a kid, I always felt they were both good at and proud of what they did. I never heard either of my parents talk negatively about their job, a manager or the Commanding Officer. I believe this was a result of their attitude and their leadership. I truly believe this is why when I began my career, I looked for what was good, not the negatives. For this, I am thankful for my parents and their leadership at Red River Army Depot. Leadership goes much deeper than an organizational chart.”

-Greg Gilbert

Start The Conversation and Receive A No Obligation Proposal