Opening Quotes:

“I can make a decision with 30% of the information; anything more than 80% is too much.” – Colin Powell, former secretary of state, retired Chief of Staff

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“If you can hire people whose passion intersects with the job, they won’t require any supervision at all. They will manage themselves better than anyone ever could.” – Stephen R. Covey, 1932-2012

I love quotes, I find them inspirational and instructive. Yet sometimes even the best quotes need some qualifiers.

Decide with just 30% of the info? Colin Powell is a brilliant well-educated man and I suspect that he is “infilling” some missing info using a lifetime of experience, education, and IQ that others reading the quote lack and may not realize they lack. The point of the quote is more avoid “Paralysis thru Analysis” and I definitely agree with the “more than 80% is too much.”

The 2nd and 3rd quote share a missing link: “Yearning for the vast and endless sea” and “whose passion intersects with the job” both work if and only if at some point you 1) buckle down and learn the details of shipbuilding (hard work indeed, requiring skills mastered over years of effort) and 2) turn that passion into organized effort. I love passion but coordination, cooperation, guidance, targets, and deadlines are all crucial to successful achievement; talents that humans are not born with no matter how great their passion. The difference between a mob and an army is discipline, training, and leadership.

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier