General Colin Powell Speaks at Alltech REBELation
June Blog Series: A Case For…
Insights From: Kim Stegall (Fullscope Dynamics Marketing Manager)
Two weeks ago in Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, 3000 people from 68 countries attended Alltech Rebelation, an international conference for food and beverage manufacturers and companies to explore innovation, inspiration and world-changing ideas. Edgewater Fullscope, Zero2Ten and Microsoft were there as Commonwealth Club sponsors of the event. In its 31st year, the leadership conference offered a business, food and beverage and agriculture track, had 121 speakers and attendees included 86 business presidents from 18 countries representing $120 billion in revenue in the dairy, beef, pork, poultry, agriculture, and brewing industries just to name a few. Why did they attend? To learn how to be rebels in their industries. Here are my five lessons (presented in a multi-part blog series) learned from being a rebel for a week and why this marketing professional suspects these business leaders will return to Kentucky in 2016.
#1 Lesson Learned – General Colin Powell was a perfect choice to kick-off REBELation
Imagine calling General Colin Powell your friend. Dr. Pearse Lyons, Alltech president and founder, does. He's also friends with Jim Stengel, former global marketing officer, Procter & Gamble; Coach John Calipari, head coach of 2012 NCAA National Basketball Champions, University of Kentucky Wildcats and Walter Robb, Co-CEO, Whole Foods Market. For this blog, I'd like to focus on only one speaker, General Colin Powell.
Colin Powell is the son of immigrant parents who came from Jamaica to the US in search of a better life. He grew up in Harlem and attended the City College of New York where he found ROTC. A mediocre student by his own admission, Powell's ROTC classes improved his GPA so he was able to graduate. From these humble beginnings Colin Powell rose to a four-star general, who served four presidents, served as national security advisor, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and was the United States 65th secretary of state. Yes, he knows a thing or two about being a rebel and a leader. Telling the audience he never once said "that's an order" to his troops, Powell said "The best leaders convey purpose to everyone in the organization." He reminded us that "leaders always take care of the troops by making sure their people have everything they need to get the job done."
Weaving in serious and humorous stories, Powell took the audience on a journey of some of the highlights of his life. He talked about selecting two low-level junior officers to brief President George W. Bush before his first state visit to Mexico. Why did he do it? Because he knew they would "bust their butts" to prepare for the meeting and he also knew his confidence in his junior officers would motivate his staff to do their best and have pride in themselves. He talked about being upstaged by a squirrel while in the oval office with President Reagan, meeting and establishing relationships with the parking attendants at the White House, taking advice from his wife of 53 years, Alma, and finding purpose after his job as Secretary of State ended.
At the conclusion of his speech, Dr. Pearse Lyons awarded the Alltech Medal of Excellence to General Powell. Lyons said of Powell "When I think of leadership, General Powell comes first to mind. He is decisive, courageous and a force multiplier of perpetual optimism."
General Colin Powell did things differently and you should, too, especially when it comes to making major technology decisions and investments for your company. For example, if you are considering an ERP change, maybe you are looking at SAP, the esteemed granddaddy of big ERP systems. Or maybe you want to stick with your incumbent system because they have made you a deal or you've customized it to the point of no return. There is an opportunity to look at things differently, and in this case, it's the Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP solution from Microsoft installed only by partners like Fullscope. Almost 20,000 companies worldwide currently use Dynamics AX. Many of them switched from SAP (or Oracle), or moved off a legacy system. Take a different ERP path. If you have an ERP project, look at AX.
Stay tuned for the next blog, #2 Lesson Learned – Business needs more servant leaders.