If a leader doesn’t convey passion and intensity then there will be no passion and intensity within the organization and they’ll start to fall down and get depressed.
—Colin Powell

This week we want to recognize General Colin L. Powell (1937 – 2021) as it builds on last week’s topic of Quality Person, Quality Leader.

Powell’s accomplishments are many. He was a former U.S. Secretary of State, the youngest and first black Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and was instrumental in shaping foreign policy for the U.S. He earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom twice (along with many other medals), and was respected by U.S. Presidents on both sides of the political spectrum.

Powell had the courage to admit his mistakes and took full ownership for them. The one he regrets most is reporting that “Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more”. It was later determined that this was false, and he called his reporting of this a “blot” that will forever be on his record.

His leadership style was respected and appreciated by many. He was known for being direct, for being a straight shooter, for his passion, and his problem-solving skills. He also created 13 Rules of Leadership:

  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

    In closing we’ll share another of the General’s thoughts on leadership:
    Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand.

A Quality Person, a Quality Leader, a Public Servant, and a Trailblazer.    May he rest in peace.

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work,
and learning from failure.
—Colin Powell