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Quotable quotes: the definitive word on leadership

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

jim_stroup.jpgJim Stroup writes an amazing blog. He reads widely, thinks deeply and writes superbly—of course, it doesn’t hurt that we hold similar views on the subject of ‘leaders’.

Last Thursday Jim wrote Clarifying leadership and supplied me with my quotes for today.peter_drucker.jpg

The first is from Peter Drucker, who said,

“Leadership is all hype. We’ve had three great leaders in this century – Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.”

Jim considers this the most sensible thing Drucker ever said about leadership and I agree. Jim goes on to say,

“He was right. Those guys had it all: vision, oratorical ability, relationship building skills, charisma, relentless focus, outside the box thinking, follower-attracting magnetism…Moreover they had the unconstrained maneuver room to give their leadership the untrammeled free rein that the modern movement’s gurus also insist is vital.”

Hmmm, free rein. Isn’t that what deregulation gave our fearless ‘leaders’ on Wall Street and in corporate America?

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Quotable quotes: Wall Street leaders

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

hourglass.jpgWhat a difference a day—or in this case a couple of years—makes.Here are quotes by and about four of the leaders whose vision helped lead us to our present situation. These are the same guys lauded by universities, the media, leadership pundits and themselves just short time ago.

“Bad behavior is aberrational…never is a big word…the chances of [the company] getting into trouble again are virtually nil.”– Chuck Prince Citigroup Dec. 16, 2005 at the annual Citigroup Investor Day,

“We’re sticking with [Angelo] Mozilo because he has built a top-notch organization with strong risk controls that could emerge even stronger from the current subprime meltdown.” Barron’s, April 18, 2007

“The vision is to hire terrific people who will be the next generation of leaders and the people who will take this firm to the next level.” Richard Fuld, Knowledge@Wharton, January 10, 2007 (link includes his five qualities for leadership)

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Quotable quotes: all about stupidity

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

Yesterday I shared three stupidities with you, so today it seemed appropriate to pass on some great commentary on stupidity from some truly brilliant minds.“Stubborn and ardent clinging to one’s opinion is the best proof of stupidity” –Michel de Montaigne (Yup, and proof is in the Wall Street pudding.)

“It would be easier to pay off the national debt overnight than to neutralize the long-range effects of our national stupidity” Frank Zappa (Very true—but why do we need to keep proving it over and over?)

“It is occasionally possible to charge Hell with a bucket of water, but against stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain” –Doris Fleeson (Damn! We don’t stand a chance with stupidity in charge of the asylum.) infinite1.jpg

And two brilliant minds with but one thought that says it all…

“Earth has its boundaries, but human stupidity is limitless” –Gustave Flaubert

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” –Albert Einstein

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Quotable Quotes: he who thinks acts

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

thinker.jpgA great barometer with which to evaluate your company’s culture and your boss’ skill is to get conscious about just how much you’re encouraged to think. That’s right, think.Most employees say that they’re encouraged to take the initiative, but not necessarily to think.

Hello, how do you do the former if you haven’t done the latter?

“A company will get nowhere if all of the thinking is left to management.” – Akio Morita (And it’s good to practice before you’re promoted.)

“You can’t always wait for the guys at the top. Every manager at every level in the organization has an opportunity, big or small, to do something. Every manager’s got some sphere of autonomy. Don’t pass the buck up the line.” – Bob Anderson, GE’s former CEO (Don’t pass it down, either; whatever your position be the place that it stops.)

“Solve it. Solve it quickly, solve it right or wrong. If you solve it wrong, it will come back and slap you in the face, and then you can solve it right. Lying dead in the water and doing nothing is a comfortable alternative because it is without risk, but it is an absolutely fatal way to manage a business.” –Thomas J. Watson, Jr. (Or as Nike says, “Just do it!”)

How often do you think?

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Quotable Quotes: amazing Anon redux

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

mask.jpgTo quote myself from last spring, “Anon Y Mous is probably the wisest, most prolific and longest-lived writer in history.”

So, without more ado, here are more three more quotes from his incredible collection.

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects the wind; the realist adjusts the sails” (Guess which is the perfect description of me:)

“Praise works with only three types of people; men, women, and children” (Not to mention cats, dogs and most other living things.)

“Real leaders are ordinary people with extraordinary determination” (It’s in the MAP, not the position.)

What can you add from the Anon collection?

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Quotable quotes: about time

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

hourglass.jpgTime—the most precious commodity.

Time—that heals all wounds and wounds all heels.

Time—which I’ve never understood.

There must be a million quotes about time, but since my attitude towards it is rather irreverent here are four that really resonate with me.

Time makes heroes but dissolves celebrities. –Daniel J. Boorstin (If only time would hurry up and do it in my lifetime!)

An alarm clock is a device that makes you rise and whine. –Anon (Especially if you’re a night person.)

Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save. –Will Rogers (Save your money and spend your time.)

If you haven’t got the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over? –Jeffrey J. Mayer (I wish someone would explain this to Microsoft.)

What’s your attitude towards time?

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Quotable quotes: lyrics tell a story

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

music.jpgI thought we’d have some fun today.

I’ve arranged the following lyrics with no annotations to tell a story.

Trading my time for the pay I get, living on money that I ain’t made yet. - Vogues, Five O’Clock World

I get my sticks and go out to the shed, and I pound on that drum like it was my boss’s head. - Todd Rundgren, Bang The Drum All Day

Keep your day job, ’til your night job pays. – Grateful Dead, Day Job

A big break better happen soon cause I’m pushing 21. – The Who, Success Story

Do your job and do it right, life’s a ball, TV tonight. – Frank Zappa, Brown Shoes Don’t Make It

Whipped the world and beat the clock, wound up with their share of stock. – King Crimson, Happy Family

I’m never gonna work another day in my life. The gods told me to relax. – Monster Magnet, Powertrip

Now you tell me what the story is.

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Quotable quotes: baseball on business

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

Post from Leadership Turn  Image credit: komiya  CC license

shea_stadium_new_york.jpgEver notice how apropos a comment made about one thing is for something totally unrelated?

I found these quotes about baseball by baseball greats and laughed at how well they fit the current business climate.

“Finish last in your league and they call you Idiot. Finish last in medical school and they call you Doctor”.Abe Lemons (Or CEO if it’s business school.)

“Win any way as long as you can get away with it. Nice guys finish last.”Leo Durocher (Business really took this advice to heart, think Joe Nacchio, Ken Lay, Jeffrey Skilling, Chainsaw Al Dunlap, the list goes on and on.)

“Baseball must be a great game to survive the fools who run it.” Bill Terry (Does this mean that business will survive short-term Wall Street thinking?)

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Quotable quotes: life guidance

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

Post from Leadership Turn  Image credit: gnmills   CC license

orb_of_light.jpgToday’s investment bankers are known mostly for their greed and excess (with a few exceptions), but has the profession always been that way?

Meet James Truslow Adams, whose take on life is vastly different.

“There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live.”

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that man can alter his life simply by altering his attitude of mind.”

“The great use of life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.”

What unexpected source do you like?

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Quotable quotes: leaders get sexy

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

Post from Leadership Turn Image credit: bradimarte

x.jpgI cleaned out a ton of files today (it was way too hot to go outside) and came across three mildly sexy comments from Richard Branson, Einstein, and Francis Koenig, so I decided to make today sexy comment day.

“You’ll have at least two ways to get lucky on our flights.” –Richard Branson on his airline’s offering casinos and double beds on it six new Airbus A380 planes. (How lucky are you?)

“When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.” –Albert Einstein (Imagine this translated into today’s language.)

“It’s a market untapped by Wall Street… There are 6 billion people on the planet, and most of them participate in adult entertainment.” — Francis Koenig CEO AdultVest (for those of you who don’t know, AdultVest is a $7.9 billion hedge fund that is dedicated to the adult entertainment industry, including buying iPorn.com—no relation to the iPhone. (A lot more stable and profitable than mortgages.)

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