Catching up With Colin Powell
Dealing with a legacy IT system and a legacy corporate culture
With the average adult male spending an average of 29 hours a week watching television (women spend 34 hours), it has been said that many adults feel closer to the people they watch on television than to their own family and friends.
I am a news junkie, and Colin Powell has been a fixture on my television set for well over 15 years. I have seen him at home. He has been in my hotel rooms--even following me into cruise ship cabins and airport lounges. I have seen his speeches, attended press conferences and briefings, watched long--often deeply personal--interviews, marveled at his social grace and titanic intellect, and thanked God that (1) he was on our side and (2) that he was influential in protecting America and responsible for her diplomacy.
So when General Powell, wearing an open-collared brown shirt and carrying a glass of red wine, strolled onto the patio of Aspen's St. Regis Hotel two weeks ago for the networking reception at the Donnelley Group Privacy Forum, my immediate thought was to go up and say, "Hi Colin."
Instead, my wife, Peggy, and I kept a respectful distance, as we had to leave for an early dinner. We never did get to shake the hand of my "old friend."
The following morning, Powell delivered the keynote address to about 200 of us, and it turned out I did not know Colin Powell at all.
Speaking without notes (and without PowerPoint) and with Mrs. Powell in the audience, General Powell was beautifully attired in a suit and tie. His wide-ranging talk was lucid, inspiring to the point of bringing a tear to the eye, and brilliantly incisive on everything from terrorism and the Cold War to American business and the question of outsourcing.