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Saturday morning found me attending Mind Speak: the business club that Aly Khan Satchu hosts every month as an open forum that gives the public access to great minds. The great mind this time around belonged to the incumbent British High Commissioner to Kenya: the very young Dr. Christian Turner. As eloquent and well cut as the English come, he made a short and firm presentation that was focused around 10 “Laws of Diplomacy” that he devised himself.

H.E. British High Commissioner to Kenya Dr. Christian Turner (picture courtesy of Aly Khan Satchu)

These 10 laws of diplomacy were very straightforward and as one Mind Speak attendee pointed out, the fact that they were in the negative (like Moses’ Ten Commandments) meant they would have a bigger impact. Dr. Turner decants seemingly intertwined concepts and practices that we probably all are guilty of not differentiating.  I find that the set of laws are more like guiding principles that can be applied to any career and I definitely will keep them close at hand. Here they are:

1. Do NOT mistake expertise for experience.

2. Do NOT mistake knowledge for understanding.

3. Do NOT mistake access for influence.

4. Do NOT mistake the urgent for the important.

5. Do NOT mistake activity for action.

6. Do NOT mistake the universal for the local.

7. Do NOT mistake the answer for the question.

8. Do NOT mistake setting the direction for knowing the destination.

9. Do NOT mistake publicity for diplomacy. *applies to all careers*

10. Do NOT mistake humility for indifference.

I would go ahead and expound on these laws but I’m making the effort today to be as brief and succinct as His Excellency Dr. Christian Turner and I’ll leave you with a modification of  the quote he shared from Blaise Pascal “I would have published you a shorter blog post but I didn’t have the time!”

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