Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Colin Powell: Inspiring

There were some great speakers at the Get Motivated seminar yesterday. Of course some were promoting their latest book or training:

“Normally $10 Million dollars but today for YOU, it’s only $49.95!”

Still, I had a good time.

Colin Powell is always a great and inspiring speaker. He stressed the importance of leading when you are a leader and supporting those under you. I really like his 13 Rules of Life:

  1. It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
  2. Get mad, and 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.
A leader has to make the hard calls and take the arrows when they come.
A few years back, I made a decision which cost my company a lot of money and time. I was the subject matter expert for test and repair on a certain product for Eaton Corporation. I pushed to change component vendors from the new cheaper one, back to the old more expensive one. This push was based on problems we were having with the product after the change:

After researching the old and new vendor’s components, our testing equipment, testing processes, and repair process, I believed the problem lay with the new vendor’s component. So I fought to get the old vendor back. After we switched back, I found out that I had received incorrect data from an engineer who wrote one of the testing software systems. It cost the company money and time to switch back again and I had egg on my face since I had pushed for the change.

Ok, the outcome was bad, but the decision was right! Why? I had performed due-diligence and proper research. My decision was based on the data I gathered, though some of that data turned out to be incorrect. Maybe next time I’ll grab the engineer by the collar and say

Are you SURE that your testing software hasn’t changed?

And then make my recommendation. But, when it’s all said and done, I’d still have to make a decision. For better or worse, I like the way that Dr. Robert Schuller puts it:

"I'd rather attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed"

Now go out and do great things.
Mike Snyder

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