Leadership Primer: Colin Powell style

  1. “Never neglect details. When everyone’s mind is dulled or distracted the leader must be doubly vigilant.”
  2. “Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.”
  3. “You don’t know what you can get away with until you try.”
  4. “Organization doesn’t really accomplish anything. Plans don’t accomplish anything, either. Theories of management don’t much matter. Endeavours succeed or fail because of the people involved. Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds.”
  5. “Organization charts and hence titles count for next to nothing.”
  6. “Never let your ego get so close to your position that when your position goes, your ego goes with it.”
  7. “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”
  8. “Powell’s Rules for Picking People”—Look for intelligence and judgment and, most critically, a capacity to anticipate, to see around corners. Also look for loyalty, integrity, a high energy drive, a balanced ego and the drive to get things done.”
  9. “Have fun in your command. Don’t always run at a breakneck pace. Take leave when you’ve earned it. Spend time with your families.” Corollary: “Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves, those who work hard and play hard.”
  10. “Keep looking below surface appearances. Don’t shrink from doing so (just) because you might not like what you find.”

Successful leadership consists of a formula rather than a two variable equation.

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