WCAGLS Session 2: Colin Powell
He has no podium to hide behind. No podium to hold notes. #rocks
I couldn't get into West Point, I never even tried.
He wasn't allowed into a big military college because I was African-American.
I didn't say, "self, I think I'm going to grow up and be the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff"
"Leadership is getting more out of people than the science of management says you can."
The followers are the ones that get the work done. Leaders are important, but you better bless and focus on the followers. Put them in the best environment you can.
Purpose: What are we doing this for? What is the point?
"I couldn't achieve my purpose as Sec. of State unless my cleaning lady achieved her purpose as the lady that cleans the office of the Sec. of State. Everyone is important. "
Leadership is about followership and investing in the people that get stuff done.
Ronald Reagan: I'll sit and listen to your problems all day, but until you tell me my problem, I'm watching squirrels.
Entrust good people to important stuff, and TRUST THEM!
Empowering people is risky. The boss might be smarter and know more in the big picture, but the workers know the details.
Give people a zone of operation. Help them to see their importance. They are not robots making widgets. Let them make decisions.
Reagan saw that it was great that the Japanese thought that US land was a good investment. He wasn't panicked about them buying up stuff.
Execution is the most important part of leadership, but it's seldom done by the leaders.
People say failure is not an option "Oh yes it is! It always is!"
Sit Down Interview with Bill Hybels and Colin Powell
Colin Powell's opening question to injured soldiers:
"Were you a good soldier?"
He said these guys don't want pity and misery, they want to get back into action, even with three prosthetics. He never says sorry but knows they want to talk about their battles.
On questions of racism, he didn't slow himself down wondering if an opportunity came because of affirmative action, he took the opportunity and made it great.
Remember that you have an obligation to reach back, reach down, and reach across to help somebody move up.
"It'll look different in the morning." The next day will bring a different perspective. Today sucked, but I'll be different tomorrow morning and the situation will be too.
"Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier." no matter how outnumbered you are, you have a bigger force if you have optimism.
"Get mad and then get over it" You're never at your best when you are mad. Leave the mad guy alone for a few and then come back. If you stay mad, you poison the whole organization.
I always try to bend to the strengths and weaknesses of my subordinates. But if people don't join the vision that I'm trying to move forward, I fire them. Everyone else knows it before the leader.
If you don't have the guts to do what you need to do as a leader, everybody knows it and is choked off by it.
There are a lot of problems that only you as a leader can solve. If you aren't solving them, the worst effect is when people think you don't care about their problems. Even if you solve their problems poorly or WRONG, just trying means a lot to the people that brought you the problem.
Ego is the number one problem for young, upcoming leaders. Learn humility, learn generosity and honor towards others as early as possible.
There are a lot of people that are as high up in leadership as they need to be. Be okay with people staying right where they are and getting better at what they are doing.
People need to know when to get off the train. If they don't get off at their stop and retire or change trains, the leader needs to throw them off.
"Tell me early" if you are working on a problem, tell me early so I can have some input and help you with it. Don't bring it when it's about to explode and it's too late for me to join in.
When asked if he wanted to get revenge on the people that imprisoned him, Nelson Mandela said, "If I did, I'd still be in prison."
There is a lot about Colin Powell that is hierarchy. It's funny to hear that stuff slip out, makes me wonder what is in my invisible roots. rebellion? reaction? whoops.
Generals don't really have to say "and that's an order!"