Assignment 3: Colin Powell’s Leadership Lessons Paper

Assignment 3: Colin Powell’s Leadership Lessons Paper

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By Friday, November 3, 2012, go through the presentation “Colin Powell Leadership Primer” in Doc Sharing. Out of the 18 lessons taught by General Colin Powell, identify the three most important in the context of organizational leadership. Write a two-page document reviewing the three lessons that you think are most important, and relate them to the module objectives. Include the following in your review:

    • The reason behind selecting these three lessons to be most important in the context of organizational leadership


    • Examples of situations in an organization in which each of these three lessons can be implemented

Submit the review as a Microsoft Word document, double-spaced, in either Times New Roman, or New Courier 12 pt font to the M1: Assignment 3 Dropbox.

Use the following file naming convention for your document: LastnameFirstInitial_M1_A4.doc
For example, if your name is John Smith, your document will be named SmithJ_M1_A4.doc

All written assignments and responses should follow APA rules for attributing sources.

Grading Criteria

Maximum Points

Identified the three most important out of the 18 lessons taught by Colin Powell


Provided rationale for the choice of the lessons in the context of organizational leadership


Described suitable situations in an organization in which each of the three lessons can be implemented


Related the three lessons selected to the module objectives


Followed the correct file naming convention and submitted to the appropriate dropbox


Submitted on time and in the correct format


Wrote in a clear, concise, and organized manner; demonstrated ethical scholarship in accurate representation and attribution of sources, displayed accurate spelling, grammar, and punctuation.




For assistance with any problems you may have when completing this assignment—OR—to offer your assistance to classmates, please use the Problems and Solutions Discussion area located through the left side navigation link.

These three are the ones I chose


“Organization charts and fancy titles count for next to nothing.

Organization charts are frozen, anachronistic photos in a work place that ought

to be as dynamic as the external environment around you.  If people really

followed organization charts, companies would collapse.  In well-run

organizations, titles are also pretty meaningless.  At best, they advertise

some authority, an official status conferring the ability to give orders and

induce obedience.  But titles mean little in terms of real power, which is the

capacity to influence and inspire.  Have you ever noticed that people will

personally commit to certain individuals who on paper (or on the organization

chart) possess little authority, but instead possess pizzazz, drive, expertise,

and genuine caring for teammates and products?  On the flip side, non-leaders

in management may be formally anointed with all the perks and frills

associated with high positions, but they have little influence on others, apart

from their ability to extract minimal compliance to minimal standards.


2. Never let your ego get so close to your position that

when your position goes, your ego goes with it.”

Too often, change is stifled by people who cling to familiar turfs and job

descriptions.  One reason that even large organizations wither is that

managers won’t challenge old, comfortable ways of doing things.  But

real leaders understand that, nowadays, every one of our jobs is becoming

obsolete.  The proper response is to obsolete our activities before someone

else does.  Effective leaders create a climate where people’s worth is

determined by their willingness to learn new skills and grab new

responsibilities, thus perpetually reinventing their jobs.  The most

important question in performance evaluation becomes not, “How well

did you perform your job since the last time we met?” but, “How much

did you change it?”


Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.”

Good leadership involves responsibility to the welfare of the group, which

means that some people will get angry at your actions and decisions.  It’s

inevitable, if you’re honorable.  Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign

of mediocrity: you’ll avoid the tough decisions, you’ll avoid confronting the

people who need to be confronted, and you’ll avoid offering differential

rewards based on differential performance because some people might

get upset.  Ironically, by procrastinating on the difficult choices, by trying

not to get anyone mad, and by treating everyone equally “nicely” regardless

of their contributions, you’ll simply ensure that the only people you’ll wind

up angering are the most creative and productive people in the organization



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