Friday, November 4, 2011

Colin Powell's Lessons in Leadership - 5

You can find links to the first four below:

There is a lot of material on this one...

Never neglect the details. When everyone's mind is dulled or distracted the leader must be doubly vigilant. 

There is a lot here. A leader cannot stay up in the clouds, otherwise he/she will miss something. That person will miss the fork in the road, the pothole, or in a military example, the small tacticle unit that is there to nudge you in a specific direction. But it is a delicate balance. Analysis paralysis happens when you dig too deep into the details. If you are looking too close, or you look to long, everything freezes. Then, as mentioned in the previous lesson, the life opportunity flashes by.

Of significant interest to me though is the last line, where he mentions that people need to challenge the process. If people are answering with "well, that's always the way we did it" then you have a process you need to look at.  The world moves quickly, what works today may not work tomorrow, and definitely won't be the best process after enough tomorrows. 

If you think about this ties closely to Lesson 4, and Lesson 3, and they all tie back to Lesson 1. Experts are great; but are they up-to-date, continuing to grow? They may know what they are doing in that small field, but don't let their opinion be the end all/be all because they aren't the ones responsible for the decision, and may not know enough of all the parts to influence the decisions.  Look at the details, but don't get bogged down, make a decision, and be aware that people will not always be happy about it (especially if the change is to a process that "was always done" a specific way). Remember that sometimes you need to piss people off, because people get comfortable.

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