Condoleezza Rice is currently a professor of Political Economy in the Graduate School of Business; the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution; and a professor of Political Science at Stanford University. She is also a founding partner of RiceHadleyGates.
From January 2005-2009, Rice served as the 66th Secretary of State of the United States, the second woman and first African American woman to hold the post. Rice also served as President George W. Bush’s Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (National Security Advisor) from January 2001-2005, the first woman to hold the position.
She is also the author of the recent book, No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington.
Here are the highlights I grabbed from her talk:
- Revolutions are difficult to control, because they fight against fear. Without fear, all you have is anger.
- Freedom is not the same thing as democracy. With freedom come not only rights but also responsibilities.
- When the church goes out into the world, it shows that every life is worthy.
- Government cannot deliver compassion.
- The best thing you can do for a person is give them control of their own future, that comes through education.
- There is so much opportunity when you lead.
How do you lead when times are tough?
- The greatest responsibility of a leader is not about how many followers you have but helping people to see their own leadership ability and possibilities.
- Leaders are called to make leaders.
- The most important characteristic of a leader is optimism.
- One of the most important sources of optimism is to keep perspective on how difficult your circumstances really are.
- If you are so focused on today’s headlines and are not focused on history’s judgment, you will not achieve anything of value.
- Out of struggle comes victory.
- It is a privilege to struggle.
- Things that seem impossible in the present seem inevitable in retrospect.
- The true calling of leaders is not to work for the world as it should be, but as it is. Those are the leaders that change the world.
Interview w/ Bill Hybels
- Environments dictate how teams work together, good or bad.
- When things are tough, we became more of who we are.
- In the midst of disagreements, remind each other what you are trying to accomplish. Don’t allow it to become personal.
- Don’t make ultimatums as a leader unless you are willing to follow through.
- When you are the top leader, you need truth tellers around you, people who will be honest and tell you that you are wrong.
- It is important to know what you love and what you don’t to be a great leader.
- When I go to church, I hope to experience quiet time with God, connection with God. To hear a message that is biblically grounded that makes me think, “I never thought about it that way.” I don’t need current events.