Tony DeMeo

The Powell Principles by Oren Harari

Colin Powell has always been a role model because he grew up a few miles from me in The Bronx. Powell certainly didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth. He is a great example of someone who lifted himself from poverty to become a world figure and an important pat of American history. General Powell executed the “American Dream”. I would strongly recommend his autobiography: My American Journey. It’s a very inspiring story.

The Powell Principles by Oren Harari is not autobiographical but delves into the Principles that Colin Powell lived by. It is an easy read and a great book for coaches, teachers or anyone in a leadership position.

The following are the 24 Principles outlined in the book:

1. Promote a Clash of Ideas – debate and discussion produce new and fresh ideas.
2. Be prepared to “piss” people off – the goal is to be effective not liked.
3. Establish Trust – trust is essential for credibility.
4. Walk the Talk – do as I do.
5. Pick the Right People – seek talent and values not just a resume’.
6. Listen – be an active listener; use every means necessary to communicate.
7. Be Vigilant in Details – mastery of details lead to better execution of the campaign.
8. Be a Disorganizer – complacency leads to mediocrity. Always look to be better.
9. Check Your Ego at the Door –
10. Let Change Lead to Growth – great leaders direct change.
11. Seek Consensus but Don’t Be Ruled By It –
12. Fit no Stereo-types – no one way is the right way.
13. Simplify – effective leaders take the complex and render it into something graspable.
14. Let the Situation Dictate Strategy – avoid one size fits all mentality. Don’t fight yesterday’s war today.
15. Push the Envelope – no guts no glory.
16. Close with the Enemy – execution matters, a plan is only as good as the zeal to execute.
17. View People as partners – every job is important.
18. Challenge the Pros – disagree without being disagreeable.
19. Don’t Rely on Charts and Titles – leadership is about influence.
20. Trust those in the Trenches – cultivate a spirit of initiation.
21. Make Optimism a Priority – perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.
22. Have Fun in your Command – enjoy yourself.
23. Strive for Balance – do your work and then go home.
24. Prepare to be Lonely – being in command can be lonely.

This is a brief summary of the 24 Powell Principles. I recommend this book and also Powell’s autobiography. General Powell’s performance during the Gulf War (Desert Storm) exemplified the principles that Oren Harari writes about in his book: The Powell Principles. Colin Powell ideas for leadership have great relevance in the world of college football and would be of interest to any coach or administrator.