Martha Johnson, former administrator for the General Services Administration has an insider’s perspective on the recent resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.
“People are put in charge of massive organizations and they are certainly responsible for them, and then they are being held accountable for very particular pieces of activity that have gone on inside them,” Johnson told Women of Washington hosts Aileen Black and Gigi Schumm. “There is always a tension around how much can a leader know, how much can a leader trust a staff to make the right decisions and inform him or her when things are going south.”
President Barack Obama accepted Shinseki’s resignation amid deep-seated problems within the VA’s health care system and after lawmakers in both parties called for him to step down.
“We, often in the government, want to jump to finding someone whose head will roll … but I think we often make deep mistakes when we flip people … especially when we flip appointees,” Johnson said.
Gigi Schumm welcomes Washington's most ambitious and influential female executives to share their secrets to success. Contact Gigi at firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe to Women of Washington’s audio interviews on Apple Podcasts or PodcastOne.