Gen. Colin Powell: Leaders Recognize and Promote Others

At a Get Motivated Seminar in Lexington, KY on September 28, 2011 and had the priviledge of hearing from Gen. Colin Powell.

Gen. Colin Powell spoke on leadership and being an inspiration for those who follow you.  His tips for doing that are listed below. 

He began his talking points however, by speaking about of technology and being adamant that if we're going to be successful in business in today's economy, the computer and technology plays a large part.  Colin said we must embrace it (just as Rudy Giuliani did earlier).

Gen. Colin Powell shared a funny story where he was lovingly complaining to his son that he doesn't answer his email or phone calls anymore and they responded to him by saying, "poppy, we don't do email or phone anymore, we text and tweet". 

I got a kick out of hearing him tell the story.  It was all in fun and of course they communicate regularly, but it was the context in which it was said. I related because my kids, now in their early to late 20's say the same thing.  It's all about the "texting" which I still fumble around with terribly. 

Anyway, point being, we need to be up to speed and willing to embrace computers, iphones and other technology within our business model.  It's how the world is communicating.  If we fight it, we'll be left behind.

Here's a quick rundown of his Gen. Colin Powell's Get Motivated Seminar talking points:

1)  Establish the goals and mission of the team.  The "mission" is the purpose.

"You want individuals to have goals and missions but in a team setting, you want the team to have it's goals and missions as well." Powell said. 

2)  Assign each member a role in this mission based on their strengths.

Colin Powell made a point that everyone is important and nobody is less important than the other in a mission.  From the Janitor to the Leader, they are all part of the whole.

Powell shared a story that often times he would stay late at the office to purposefully greet the janitor when he was Secretary of State.  He wanted to check on him/her personally and make sure everything was going ok for the him/her to do their job.  He asked if there was anything he could do for them, made sure they had all the things they needed to do their job and  acknowledged how important they were to him being able to do his job.  He told them how it made his job easier when he came into the office each morning where he would be meeting with dignitaries and other officials and how much he appreciated having the office spotlessly cleaned.   Colin expressed his appreciation.

On another occassion, he ditched his body guards and went to the basement where the cars were parked by the valet.  They saw him without bodyguards and asked him if he was lost and if they could escort him back upstairs.  He said, "No, actually I came to talk to you."  They were very surprised!  Powell treated them as they are… important to the mission.  Yes, even the valet.  Everyone has a job and purpose to ensure the whole wheel runs smoothly.  He asked them if they were safe in terms of fumes and how they decided to park the cars in the fashion they did.  He simply took an interest in them. 

3)  Always do what's right by others.  Serve unselfishly

Even when you're tired and would rather not expend energy to do something, always put other's first. 

4)  Talk to the troops (the team) and give them what they need to succeed. 

In your business, it's tools, resources, training, support, inspiration and leadership.  Support doesn't mean you do it for them, it means you help them have what they need to do their job.

5)  Recognize and Promote others.

Gen. Colin Powell would often handwrite a note to those who worked under him showing his gratitude and acknowledging a job well done.  When he would visit their office, he would find that note framed on their wall.  People want to know they are doing a good job.  The want to be recognized.  We all do. 

When you acknowledge and recognize others and treat them with respect and a kind heart, they feel important, like they matter.  But it has to be true and authentic coming from the leader to them.  They will enjoy their job and do the best job they can.   This goes along with #2 above.

6)  You have to be tough.  You can't let rumors and naysayers undermind the mission and your focus to get done what needs to be done.   Followers watch the leader.  And they know if the leader is slacking.  You must be willing to step up to the plate and lead by example, inspire the troops and when necessary, fire people who are falling down on the job.

Gen. Colin Powell ended his thoughts to the crowd by saying America is still a country of hope, dreams and opportunities. 

I enjoyed the Get Motivated Seminar and depending on the "attitude" of those in attendance, some would have negative things to say.  I came away with tremendous gold nuggets and a sense of gratitude that I was able to hear these fabulous speakers for $1.95 admission.  Others complain about the parking, or bash the speakers based on their personal opinions of them.  What a shame. 

I'm not a gambler, but I would wager a bet these naysayers and negative people who look to find fault in the Get Motivated Seminar are not successful in business or in life.  It's probably a 100% sure bet.  They're words and thoughts are very telling and revealing.

If you haven't had the opportunity to attend a Get Motivated Seminar, they run all the time around the States.  Visit their website at and find out when they'll be close to you…. and get to one.  Go with an attitude of gratitude and expectation that you will learn something from these great mentors, coaches, leaders and entrepreneurs.  If you do that, you will come away better for attending and find something to implement into you personal development routine or business model to help you along your journey to success.

I'd love to hear your feedback and comments.  I appreciate YOU!


  1. says

    Thanks for sharing that with us Debbie.   I would have loved to hear him speak.  I bet his presence alone was motivating.

    I had to laugh about the tweeting and texting.  I don't text myself but my brother told me if I ever want to talk to his kids, I'd better learn.  But, they still love me and will email me so for now, I'm good.  But I'm learning more and more about technology.  We can't be left behind.

    I love how he went out of his way to thank others.  I've always done that myself as well.  It makes people feel appreciated and they are more than willing to get the job done when they feel that way.  I certainly know I do.

    I appreciate you sharing the link with us to the Get Motivated website.  I'm going to have to bookmark that one for sure.  Would love to attend one when they come to my city. 

    Thank you again Debbie, great post and very inspiring.


  2. Debbie Turner says

    Glad you liked it Adreinne… Well worth it to go… they change up speakers all the time. There’s one in Nashville in about 3 weeks, I think I’m gonna hope over there, it’s only about an hour and half away. Have a great weekend. Deb

  3. says

    Wow, Debbie, this was a fun and helpful read!
    I can only imagine how powerful it would have been to see Colin Powell deliver the message, as Adrienne was saying, he is truly a great presence. The points about treating this as a mission to be accomplished cohesively very much resonates with my own feelings of how we may all help one another to achieve. I love the true spirit of teamwork. I feel privileged and grateful to have you as a part of my network! 
    Thanks for putting out such helpful and inspiring messages as these. :)
    Best regards, 
    Cat Alexandra

  4. says

    I saw Gen Powell many years ago on a payoff trip with an insurance company I worked for and he was awesome. You can see why he is a was a General for the finest military in the world. He is a tremendous leader and as aspiring leaders we all can learn from him.
    I look forward to other posts from you on this event.

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