Reduce the number of lawyers. They are like beavers - they get in the middle of the stream and dam it up.— Donald Rumsfeld
The most informative Donald Rumsfeld quotes that are simple and will have a huge impact on you
The Secretary of Defense is not a super General or Admiral.
His task is to exercise civilian control over the Department for the Commander-in-Chief and the country.
Don't necessarily avoid sharp edges. Occasionally they are necessary to leadership.
Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.
We know where they are. They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad.
We know where they are [Iraq's weapons of mass destruction].
They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.
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We do know of certain knowledge that he [Osama Bin Laden] is either in Afghanistan, or in some other country, or dead.
Be precise. A lack of precision is dangerous when the margin of error is small.
If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.
Look for what's missing. Many advisors can tell a President how to improve what's proposed or what's gone amiss. Few are able to see what isn't there.
Don't think of yourself as indispensable or infallible.
As Charles De Gaulle said, the cemeteries of the world are full of indispensable men.
Test ideas in the marketplace. You learn from hearing a range of perspectives. Consultation helps engender the support decisions need to be successfully implemented.
Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war.
Don't speak ill of your predecessors or successors. You didn't walk in their shoes.
The most underestimated risk for a politician is overexposure.
Many people around the President have sizeable egos before entering government, some with good reason. Their new positions will do little to moderate their egos.
No terror state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
If the staff lacks policy guidance against which to test decisions, their decisions will be random.
Congress, the press, and the bureaucracy too often focus on how much money or effort is spent, rather than whether the money or effort actually achieves the announced goal.
Think ahead. Don't let day-to-day operations drive out planning.
Arguments of convenience lack integrity and inevitably trip you up.
You can have a broad popular democracy movement and have it end being taken over by the most vicious people and the result is you don't end up with free political systems or free economic systems, you end up with a handful of radicals controlling the country.
Don't blame the boss. He has enough problems.
Treat each federal dollar as if it was hard earned; it was - by a taxpayer.
Know that the amount of criticism you receive may correlate somewhat to the amount of publicity you receive.
Don't divide the world into "them" and "us."
To gain support in U.S. Congress and from other nations requires clarity, an acceptable mission and an explicit outcome.
Don't automatically obey Presidential directives if you disagree or if you suspect he hasn't considered key aspects of the issue.
You will launch many projects, but have time to finish only a few.
So think, plan, develop, launch and tap good people to be responsible. Give them authority and hold them accountable. Trying to do too much yourself creates a bottleneck.
Reduce the layers of management. They put distance between the top of an organization and the customers.
Enjoy your time in public service. It may well be one of the most interesting and challenging times of your life.
Remember where you came from.
Strive to make proposed solutions as self-executing as possible.
As the degree of discretion increases, so too does bureaucracy, delay, and expense.
If you foul up, tell the President and correct it fast. Delay only compounds mistakes.
Keep your sense of humor. As General Joe Stillwell said, 'The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind'.
The price of being close to the President is delivering bad news.
You fail him if you don't tell him the truth. Others won't do it.
When business accepts help from the government, it can be like going to bed with a hippopotamus. It's nice and warm for the moment, but then your bedmate rolls over and crushes you.
Let your family, staff, and friends know that you're still the same person, despite all the publicity and notoriety that accompanies your position.
Your performance depends on your people.
Select the best, train them and back them. When errors occur, give sharper guidance. If errors persist or if the fit feels wrong, help them move on. The country cannot afford amateur hour in the White House.
The problem is the people who tend to be the best organized are the most radical and the most vicious.
In the execution of Presidential decisions work to be true to his views, in fact and tone.
There are a lot of people who lie and get away with it, and that's just a fact.
When starting at the bottom, be willing to learn from those at the top.
Move decisions out to the Cabinet and agencies.
Strengthen them by moving responsibility, authority, and accountability their direction.
When you raise issues with the President, try to come away with both that decision and also a precedent. Pose issues so as to evoke broader policy guidance. This can help to answer a range of similar issues likely to arise later.
The Federal Government should be the last resort, not the first.
Ask if a potential program is truly a federal responsibility or whether it can better be handled privately, by voluntary organizations, or by local or state governments.
Oh my goodness gracious, what you can buy off the Internet in terms of overhead photography. A trained ape can know an awful lot of what is going on in this world, just by punching on his mouse, for a relatively modest cost.
In our system leadership is by consent, not command.
To lead a President must persuade. Personal contacts and experiences help shape his thinking. They can be critical to his persuasiveness and thus to his leadership.
When cutting staff at the Pentagon, don't eliminate the thin layer that assures civilian control.
Plan backwards as well as forward. Set objectives and trace back to see how to achieve them. You may find that no path can get you there. Plan forward to see where your steps will take you, which may not be clear or intuitive.