Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Colin Powell makes a stop in Tulsa

Yesterday I attended the morning session of a "Get Motivated" seminar in our new 18,000 seat arena downtown, the BOK Center.

The ticket was free, and I would not have gone if Mr. Powell had not been slated to speak. I wanted to hear what he had to say, this man who is a career military leader and is fond of old Volvo's.

He spoke of America's Promise, and how "we have no greater responsibility now in America than to make sure that the next generation of youngsters is ready for positions of leadership." He divulged that he is a bit of a tech geek, and is involved in a few businesses in the area of information and technology.

In his talk he noted that leadership is "all about followers and followership." Leaders need to 1) "clearly set goals" and 2) "take care of the troops." He said that passion is infectious, and a leader's task is to motivate and inspire people. He also pointed out that today's leaders need to display moral and physical courage, as well as character and integrity.

He then went into stories about his experience in the military and as Secretary of State.

Mr. Powell quickly glossed over four e's that we need to be focusing on: economics, energy, environment, and education.

He ended by saying that we need to "get back to simply American values" and "build bonds of trust," but that the US still has a strong role in leading change in the world.

Overall I was impressed with the man. He used humor effectively in his oration, and at times seemed like just another guy. There was a female voice at one point yelling at him, and he turned to that part of the arena and said, "Hello. How are you? Thank you," and moved on. The voice from the stands was not heard again.

Had he taken questions, I would liked to have asked him about sitting in front of the UN during that fateful moment in February 2003, and if he indeed thought it was his lowest point in life, how did it fit into his previous words about leadership?

He spoke for 37 minutes, and after his speech I left, sensing that the rest of the day's "Get Motivated" events would not hold much for me.

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