Friday, February 12, 2010

Colin Powell - Tell Me

I am taking a class on Intelligence Policy.  While there is a lot I can't tell you about the class (just kidding) there are a few things that I can.

I was reading for my class and I came across a quote from Colin Powell that I've been mulling over for a few days.   He would tell his staff...

"Tell me what you know.  Tell me what you don't know.  Tell me what you think."  He would then tell his staff, "you take responsibility for the first two, I'll take responsibility for acting on the third."

Think about it... I am not a professional manager of any sorts, but reading his philosophy really struck a cord with me.  I often look around a room people get stuck on what is certain and they are often afraid of that which is not certain.

I am a risk taker.  Leland and I have discussions often about this (he... for the record... is not a risk taker).  For me, taking risks is speaking up in any situation and telling my superiors what I know and then advise them what I think.  I wish more people would do the same.  I find that when you push people to be "risky" and say what they think, people can come up with amazing ideas.  Amazing new ways to look at a problem.

So when you're in a situation and you don't say everything you're thinking... remember Colin Powell's mantra... "Tell me what you know. Tell me what you don't. Tell me what you think."

1 comment:

Rosey said...

Interesting.... I like that management philosophy.

Speaking as a fellow risk-taker in a very non-risky environment, I agree that some of the most creative and exciting ideas come when you give people permission to speculate and try the unproven.

I wonder how that would apply to a teacher in a classroom... hmmm, time to ponder.