General Powell’s Perennial Rules

According to me, no leadership library is complete unless crowned with the classic book by General Colin Powell, It Worked for Me (Enhanced Edition): In Life and Leadership. I will go so far as to say that your library is deficient unless this book is present (and, of course, read and absorbed).

I was originally gifted this book by a former leader who exemplified the best leadership I had ever seen. Clearly, he embodied the spirit of what General Powell lived in leadership and life.

I read this book (read and/or listened to on audiobook), at least, once a year. The lessons he shares are timeless, applicable to any discipline, and worthy of being revisited frequently.

I list here his 13 Rules, present in this book. They are, by themselves, immensely useful. However, they are not a summary of the book. Seek out this instructional classic on leadership and life, if you’re desiring to grow into ever deeper/higher versions of yourself as a leader.

General Colin Powell’s Rules:

  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.


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