Colin Powell, Deepak Chopra talk biz at Sage Summit
Dave Gordon - Thursday, 30 July, 2015
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The lowest person on the employment totem pole might be more powerful than
That’s one of the business lessons imparted by General Colin L. Powell (Ret.), and author
of some eighty books, Dr. Deepak Chopra,
at the recent Sage Summit in New
Orleans, July 28-30.
The two were side by side panelists, with Stephen Kelly, CEO of Sage, moderating.
In the keynote dubbed “Navigating a changing world”, the panelists covered
topics such as respecting employees, positive thinking, and knowing the global
affect of your business.
Powell penned the book “It
Worked For Me: In Life and Leadership” that contains thirteen guiding
principles – forty four short stories used in the course of his career that he
says shaped his leadership patterns.
Among the guidance he offered from the book:
- Be upbeat. Believe in what
you’re doing, and if you can communicate that, you’d be surprised how that
would leverage up your ability to get things done.
- It’s not as bad as you think;
it’ll be better in the morning.
- Trust and respect the people
who work for you.
- Every organization whether
it’s three people or three million, has these three things in common.
- It’s a simple set of rules
I’ve seen violated over and over.
How does the person on the lower rung hold control and influence?
Powell offered the story of discovering that the parking garage attendees in
the State Department would give the better parking spots to the people who
would take the time to smile and say hello in the morning.
That is, he added, a perfect example of why everyone should be treated as
From Chopra’s end, he looked at the workplace in a holistic manner.
“A person’s well being is connected to their intellectual well being,
community well being, physical well being, job availability, career and
economic well being,” he said, noting their “inseparability.”
“If you asked people whether they love their jobs, only twenty per cent of
people say yes. Which is a very sad commentary,” he said.
There is an annual $300 billion lost from disengaged or activity disengaged
people in their jobs, according to Chopra.
“Not only unhappy, but they come with the intention of making everyone else
unhappy. This is a huge burden from our jobs.”
If a manager ignores an employee, the employee is almost fifty per cent
likely to be “disengaged.” But when a manager points out an employee’s strength
or good work, that disengagement score goes to less than one per cent.
Chopra’s advice for entrepreneurs of small and medium businesses were as
Inspired teams are comprised of employees who are paid attention to, who are
shown appreciation and accepted.
“Be a good listener, a good observer with employees and customers, and
listen to emotional cues… stretch more than you can reach.”