Just Thinking

......  Food for Thought.


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Colin Powell's 13 Rules

One of the speakers at the Willow Creek Global Leadership SummitColin Powell in Chicago in 2013 was Colin Powell, former US Secretary of State. He talked about his book 'It worked for me: In Life and Leadership'.

The book begins with his 13 Rules and why he has hung on to them over the years. Here they are, with some of his thoughts on each:

  1. It ain't as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning. This rule reflects an attitude and not a prediction. I have always tried to keep my confidence and optimism up, no matter how difficult the situation. Things will get better. You will make them better.

  2. Get mad, then get over it. I’ve worked hard over the years to make sure that when I get mad, I get over it quickly and never lose control of myself.

  3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it. Accept that your position was faulty, not your ego. Loyalty is disagreeing strongly, and loyalty is executing faithfully.

  4. It can be done! Don’t surround yourself with instant skeptics. At the same time, don’t shut out skeptics and colleagues who give you solid counterviews.

  5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it. Don’t rush into things.

  6. Don't let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision. Superior leadership is often a matter of superb instinct. Often, the factual analysis alone will indicate the right choice. More often, your judgment will be needed to select from the best courses of action.

  7. You can't make someone else's choices. You shouldn't let someone else make yours. Since ultimate responsibility is yours, make sure the choice is yours and you are not responding to the pressure and desire of others.

  8. Check small things. Success ultimately rests on small things, lots of small things. Leaders have to have a feel for small things—a feel for what is going on in the depths of an organization where small things reside. The followers, the troops, live in a world of small things. Leaders must find ways, formal and informal, to get visibility into that world.

  9. Share credit. People need recognition and a sense of worth as much as they need food and water. Share the credit, take the blame, and quietly find out and fix things that went wrong. Whenever you place the cause of one of your actions outside yourself, it’s an excuse and not a reason.

  10. Remain calm. Be kind. In the “heat of the battle”—whether military or corporate—kindness, like calmness, reassures followers and holds their confidence. Kindness connects you with other human beings in a bond of mutual respect. If you care for your followers and show them kindness, they will recognize and care for you.

  11. Have a vision. Be demanding. Purpose is the destination of a vision. It energizes that vision, gives it force and drive. It should be positive and powerful, and serve the better angels of an organization.

  12. Don't take counsel of your fears or naysayers. Fear is a normal human emotion.. It is not in itself a killer. We can learn to be aware when fear grips us, and can train to operate through and in spite of our fear. If, on the other hand, we don’t understand that fear is normal and has to be controlled and overcome, it will paralyze us and stop us in our tracks. We will no longer think clearly or analyze rationally. We prepare for it and control it; we never let it control us. If it does, we cannot lead.

  13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier. Perpetual optimism, believing in yourself, believing in your purpose, believing you will prevail, and demonstrating passion and confidence is a force multiplier. If you believe and have prepared your followers, the followers will believe.

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Everybody loves good neighbours, with a little understanding..........

My next door neighbour is moving, a sold sign has appeared in the garden. We will be sorry to see her go.  A good neighbour - everything one would want in someone living next door. It made me wonder.............. what kind of neighbour am I?  What am I like to live next door to, to work in an office with, to share a holiday, to meet in the street?

A man travelling on a road in his neighbourhood was mugged, stripped and robbed. Two passers-by, with apparently all the right credentials of similar belief and blood- line, ignored him and quickly moved on. A Samaritan man, one of mixed race and different belief, stopped, helped and paid to aid the recovery. The ones you thought would be the good neighbours were not, the one that stopped and helped was the surprise.

The question is not ‘who is my neighbour?’ The question is ‘what kind of neighbour am I?’ 

To somebody with a different belief system or no belief, same colour or different colour, lived here all their life or just moved into Narberth, UK born and bred or just landed and learning the language……Am I a good neighbour?

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What house are you living in?

As a child I was taught about the wise man who built his house upon the rock and the foolish man who built his house upon the sand. I was resolved that in my life I would build on rock. It was many years later that I discovered another common denominator concerning the two men and it was not design of foundations, soil mechanics, or houses. It was simply that even if you built on rock, you still had to  take the storm. However, because of the way you built you survived the storm. 

On October 19, 2010, a test was conducted at the Institute for Business and Home Safety in Richburg, South Carolina. Researchers constructed two 1,300-square-foot houses inside a $40 million laboratory and then observed how a simulated hurricane would impact the homes.

The first home was built according to conventional standards. The second home included reinforcement straps that connected every level of the building, from the foundation all the way to the roof. Then the researchers turned on giant fans, creating gusts of wind up to 110 miles per hour (equal to a category 3 hurricane). In the first two experiments, which lasted under ten minutes, both homes survived the intense winds. But when they tried a third experiment, turning on the fans for more than ten minutes, the conventional home began to shake and then collapsed. In contrast, the home with the floors and roof reinforced to the foundation sustained only cosmetic damage.

Tim Reingold, an engineer working on the experiment, summarized the results with a pointed question: "The bottom line you have to ask yourself is, which house would you rather be living in?" 

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Never lose the smell of sheep from your clothing

21 years ago I travelled to Poland for the first time and met a young man Marek Kaminski. We became very good friends and where I travelled throughout Poland, he accompanied me as the interpreter. After several years, it was clear roles had to change. Rather than Marek serve me it was time for me to serve him. So when I came to Poland for a week or two, Marek would arrange ministry and I would go where he requested. The church where he was senior pastor always, but also where young pastors were pioneering churches.  That has continued for 21 years, but recently Marek was elected as the Bishop of 220 Polish Pentecostal churches. He kindly aked me to speak at the annual synod of the churches, also with Stuart Bell from Lincoln. The privilege and responsibility is always huge, but the night I spoke I thought back to the early years, the miles of travelling throughout Poland to churches of all shapes and sizes. Here I was speaking, Marek intepreting, but both ministering to the leaders in a nation. God is so gracious. When we had lunch together the next day, Marek collected the dishes. I said to leave them for me, he replied with a line I had shared with him many years earlier ' never lose the smell of sheep from your clothing.'  Tho' a Bishop, he still wanted to humbly serve. Well done. This is my beloved friend in whom I am absolutely delighted.