I am reading Colin Powell’s autobiography “The Soldier’s Way” and thoroughly enjoying it. Thought I should share some of lessons learnt with you. Enjoy.
1. It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
2. Get mad, then get over it.
3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
4. It can be done!
5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
7. You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.
8. Check small things.
9. Share credit.
10. Remain calm. Be kind.
11. Have a vision. Be demanding.
12. Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.
14. You don’t know what you can get away with until you try.
15. Organization doesn’t accomplish anything. Plans don’t accomplish much either. Theories of management don’t matter. Endeavors succeed or fail because of the people involved.
16. Don’t step on enthusiasm [of your subordinates].
17. If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters.
18. If you get the dirty end of the stick, sharpen it and turn it into a useful tool.
19. A good commander deliberately let’s himself be ambushed during a stroll by his troops, so they can talk to him;go where your flock is.
20. When you wrestle with a pig, the pig has fun and you just get dirty.
21. [in response to picking a fight with journalists] Never get into fights with people who buy ink by the barrel.
22. Keep looking beneath surface appearances and don’t shrink from doing so because you might not like what you find.
23. An unawed wife is good for keeping your hat size constant.
24. Work hard, play hard and take the job seriously, but not yourself.
25. You cannot take a few people from one unit, throw them in with some from another, give them someone else’s equipment, and hope to come up with a top-notch fighting unit.
26. Guideline for handling disasters: Release facts slowly, behind the pace at which they are already leaking out to the public. Don’t tell the whole story until forced to do so. Emphasize what went well, and euphemize what went wrong. Become indignant at any suggestion of poor judgement or mistakes. Disparage any facts other than your own. Accuse critics of Monday-morning generalship. Finally, accept general responsibility at the top, thus clearing everybody at fault below.
27. “I set out to qualify myself as an expert gunner on an M-60AI tank. As division ADC [assistant division commander], I did not have to do this. But…” Coaches who never played lack a certain credibility.
28. Leadership is the art of accomplishing more than the science of management says is possible.
29. The healthiest competition occurs when average people win by putting in above-average effort.
30. Being in charge means making decisions, no matter how unpleasant. If it’s broke, fix it. When you do, you win the gratitude of those who have been suffering under the bad situation.
31. You cannot let the mission suffer, or make the majority pay to spare the feelings of an individual.
32. Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.
33. Don’t be stampeded by first reports. Don’t let your judgments run ahead of your facts. And even with supposed facts in hand, question them if they do not add up.
34. Untidy truth is better than smooth lies that unravel in the end.
35. You don’t temper with perfection.
36. You can face the messiest public issue, and if you tackle it head-on and quickly, you can move a liability to the asset column. With a little imagination, you can turn a knock into a boost.
37. Loyalty means giving your honest opinion, even when you think your boss will not like it, when the issue is being discussed. Disagreement at this stage stimulates. But once a decision has been made, the debate ends. From this point on, loyalty means executing the decision as if it were your own.
38. Bad news isn’t wine, it doesn’t improve with age.
39. The responsibility of every leader: Accomplish the mission, and look after the troops.