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State Dept's Work Rules:
Powell's Free and Easy Guide
January 26, 2001 - Page 3
REPORTER: Jane Perlez

Copyright 2001 The New York Times

Four days on the job, the secretary of state roamed the stage today like a talk show host, dispensed anecdotes and one-liners, and in the process sketched Powell's work rules.

The new secretary's employees got a free version, with specially tailored items, of the success-in-life speech that Gen. Colin L. Powell regularly peddled for $59,500 over the last seven years.

Don't work unnecessarily long hours just to impress him, General Powell declared. "I am 63 going on 64. I don't have to prove to anybody that I can work 16 hours a day if I can get it done in 8." He would be leaving his office on the seventh floor as "soon as no one's looking." And "anyone logging hours to impress me you are wasting your time."

Soon there will be Internet connections for everyone at the State Department, he said to cheers from the overflow crowd spread across two auditoriums in the building. "I'm probably going to bring in some of my colleagues from that world I was in the last seven years: Steve Case, Michael Dell, Andy Grove," he said of the top executives of America Online, Dell Computers and Intel.

When he begins to travel the world after he gets his top staff in place, no frills, please. For the benefit of embassies that were plugged in around the world and that are accustomed to putting secretaries up in the plushest hotels with the finest dining, he said: "To save a lot of cable traffic now, I have no food preferences, no drink preferences, a cheeseburger will be fine. I like Holiday Inns."

More seriously, he emphasized again that he planned to streamline management of the State Department, but refining that point he said, "I am more interested in leadership than I am in management."

Management, he said, is "easy." But "leadership is motivating people, turning people on, getting 110 percent out of a personal relationship." He would also seek more diversity with a goal of making the department "reflect America in every sense of that term."

In the question-and-answer period, nearly half of the 11 questioners were African-American employees, most of whom reinforced the notion that the department should do more to attract African-Americans to its ranks.

To Kenny Harris, a financial management analyst and member of the group Blacks in Government, General Powell said he would try to increase the number of minority employees by sending State Department employees out to high schools, even elementary schools, to arouse interest in a Foreign Service career early in life.

And on Feb. 2, designated "groundhog job shadow day," he said, children will be brought to the department to see what it is like. One child will tag along with him all day, he said.

All through his hourlong appearance which aides said was patterned on the motivational speeches he has given to corporate audiences General Powell used self-deprecating humor, hammed it up by pulling faces either in sympathy or mock peevishness, and let loose what he has mastered about the technology revolution.

To show that he was serious in applying what he had learned while on the board of America Online, General Powell said he had talked on Wednesday night with several of his friends in the Internet world and asked them to help bring the department up to speed.

"I live on the Internet," General Powell said. He cited his favorite site: In a free plug for the site, he noted that it was owned by Bob Drudge, father of Matt Drudge, an Internet gossip columnist. The reference site is so comprehensive, General Powell said, he has thrown out all his encyclopedias and dictionaries.

But the general quickly discovered a mismatch between the department and one of his favorite gadgets. "They took away my Palm Pilot," he complained.

Because the general works on secure computers that handle classified material, officials responsible for security at the State Department would not allow his run-of-the-mill Palm Pilot to be connected to his office computers, a spokesman said.

For all the ease of presentation today, the general warned: "Don't mistake it I'm still a general. If you perform well, we are going to get along fine. If you don't, I am going to give you push-ups." "

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