Global Leadership Summit | Condoleezza Rice – No Higher Honor

Posted on August 9, 2012


(live blogging notes)

How different is it to be in government, vs. out of government?

The first shock is 9/11. After 9/11, your concept of security changes forever.

The second is the economic crisis that changes your concept of economic security.

The third great shock, the Arab Spring. Authoritarianism is not stable, and can never be stable.

No man, woman, or child wants to live in tyranny. Everyone wants the right and dignity to be asked for consent by those who wish to govern.

Democracy and freedom are not the same thing. With freedom comes rights and responsibilities. And this is what makes democracy stable. We have taken some time to get from freedom to democracy.

Democracy is only as strong as its weakest link. If the strong exploit the week, the democracy will not be stable.

Every life is worthy. In a democracy, there are no kings and queens, no permanent stations in life. No one is condemned forever to the circumstances in which they are born or the democracy will not be stable. If every life is worthy, every life is capable of greatness. If every life is capable of greatness, we have an obligation as citizens of this democracy to ensure that each citizen has opportunities to reach that greatness.

There’s a lot that a government can do, but it cannot deliver compassion. Delivering compassion has to be the work of people who believe that every life is worthy.

The best thing you can do is to give control to a person, and to do that, you need to provide education. With education, it doesn’t matter where you come from, it matters where you’re going. But today, when I look at zip codes, I wonder if that’s really true.

If you’re fortunate enough to lead in challenging times, if you have that privilege, recognize the dangers and trials, but there are also tremendous opportunities.

I believe firmly, that the opportunity to lead carries many responsibilities. But perhaps the greatest is not to have people follow me, but to help people see their own leadership qualities and potential. Can we be asked to do anything less, than to help others become leaders?

The most important characteristic of a leader is their persistent optimism. Nobody wants to follow a sourpuss.

You are driven to your knees when you have no other place to go. – Abraham Lincoln

Things that one day seemed impossible, seem inevitable in retrospect. That’s one of history’s little tricks.

— VIA —

This relegates optimism to a discipline, not an attitude.

— INTERVIEW with Bill Hybels —

“With all due respect.”

When you were Secretary of State, who was the most dangerous person? Leader of Sudan. Bashir. Why? When someone is as brutal toward to his own people, it’s a proxy for something else. The most dangerous people are oppressors who are willing to do almost everything.

When times are tough, people become more of who they are.

How legitimate is the resignation card when times get tough? It’s a card you don’t play unless you’re willing to follow through. Don’t play that card on policy, but only on principle. If your values cannot support the values of your supervisor.

Use the relationship that you have to be a truth-teller. Your friendship becomes a place from which you can have difficult and truthful conversations.

There must be a deep and abiding reason why you’re choosing not to go the path of the Presidency? I have never been a great planner (in 10 years I’m going to be doing this…) because I’ve always allowed in my life, guidance through ambiguity. I love policy, I don’t love politics. I’m called to do public service, and not just in D.C., but not elected office.

You’re clear that you’re a follower of Christ, and a serious one. When you go to church, what are you hoping will happen to you when you sit down in church? Quiet time with God. I try to have meditation in the morning, but life enters my mind and spirit. It’s hard to find the quiet time of rest in which the Holy Spirit can enter, direct, and take over. I find that church is a place of that for me. I am helped in that by a message that makes me leave thinking, “I never thought about it that way,” that is Biblically grounded. Frankly, I don’t need to hear a current events sermon. Finally, I’m a musician. Music is inspirational to me, not just because of its beauty, but because when I listen to the great church music, how can you not believe that the Lord inspired this, in the company of other believers.