Business & Leadership Quotes

Browse a collection of my favorite quotes about leadership & business.

 

  • The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them. George Bernard Shaw

 

  • The best way to predict the future is to create it. Peter Drucker

  • You become like the five people you associate with the most. Tom Peters

 

  • Refusal to take risks makes for a life of mediocrity at best. Michael LeBoeuf

 

  • Work only on things that make a great deal of difference if you succeed. Peter Drucker

 

  • Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? Mary Oliver

  • He or she who tries the most stuff…wins! Tom Peters

  • The signature of our work and the vitality of our network will determine our professional fate. Tom Peters

 

  • “The most import decisions that businesspeople make are not what decisions, but who decisions.” Jim Collins, Author of Good to Great

 

  • Your success rate as a manager is 90% the result of how good you are at hiring the people around you.

  • Experiment fearlessly! Develop a culture of relentless experimenting. Tom Peters

  • Action is the foundational key to all success. Pablo Picasso

  • Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. Mark Twain

  • Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I choose to respond to it. Chuck Swindoll

  • The most deeply motivated people—not to mention those who are most productive and satisfied—hitch their desires to a cause larger than themselves. Daniel Pink

  • Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who come alive.

 

  • Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. Eleanor Roosevelt

 

  • A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have. Resolve to do one thing every day that you fear.

 

  • Identify the areas in which you are most likely to add unique value to your organization—something no one else can match—then leverage your skills to their absolute max. That’s what your employer expected when he put you on the payroll. Andy Stanley

  • Essentially there are 2 actions in life: performance and excuses.  Make a decision as to which you will accept from yourself--and those you manage.  People fail in direct proportion to their willingness to accept socially acceptable excuses for failure."

 

  • There are 3 flavors of leaders:

    • The Visionary: lives/embodies the projects scintillating promise and sells it 24/7

    • The Networker: creates and oversees the political ecosystem and actually knits people together in order to make things happen

    • The Mechanic: loves and lives for the budget, the schedule and the 1,000 admin details that are the lifeblood of day to day team efficiency.

 

  • The most successful people sculpt their jobs so that they spend a disproportionate amount of time doing what they love. This doesn’t happen by accident. It happens because they stay alert to those activities they don’t like and cut them out as quickly as possible. They jealously guard their “doing what I love” time. Marcus Buckingham

 

  • 3 great reasons to delegate decisions; (1) Time constraints of the leader, (2) Helps to develop and nurture strong lieutenants, (3) The leader who is willing to delegate almost all decisions to lieutenants has an opportunity to build a much stronger and more coherent organization than does the leader who tries to make all the decisions himself. Steven Sample

 

  • Expending energy trying to motivate people is largely a waste of time. If you have the right people on the bus, they will be self-motivated. The real question then becomes: How do you manage in such a way as not to de-motivate people? Jim Collins

 

  • The most efficient way to turn someone’s talent into performance is to help him find his own path of least resistance toward the desired outcomes. Marcus Buckingham

 

  • In most cases, no matter what it is, if you measure it and reward it, people will try to excel at it. The things that get rewarded get done. Marcus Buckingham

 

  • The single most important arena for conflict is in meetings. In most meetings we kill all conflict, which is the exact opposite of what we should do. Patrick Lencioni

 

  • If there is nothing worth debating then there is no sense in having a meeting. Patrick Lencioni

 

  • Success is not a matter of mastering subtle, sophisticated theory, but rather of embracing common sense with uncommon levels of discipline and persistence. Patrick Lencioni

 

  • Accountability: The willingness of team members to call out their peers on performance or behaviors that might hurt the team. The willingness to tolerate the interpersonal discomfort that accompanies calling a peer on his or her behavior and the more general tendency to avoid difficult conversations. Patrick Lencioni

 

  • Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals. Efficiency is performing a given task (whether important or not) in the most economical manner possible. Being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe. Tim Ferriss

 

  • Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. Jim Collins

 

  • The central question of a great leader: What is the motive of your ambition, ambition for the cause or ambition for self-interest? We live in a culture where 95% of all leaders lead for themselves. Jim Collins

 

  • Level 5 Leaders: Self-effacing, quiet, reserved, even shy—these leaders are a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will. They are more like Lincoln and Socrates than Patton or Caesar. Jim Collins

 

  • First Who…Then What—Get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats—and then they figured out where to drive it. Jim Collins

 

  • Put your best people on your best opportunities, not on your biggest problems. Jim Collins

 

  • If you have the right people on the bus, the problem of how to motivate and manage people largely goes away. The right people don’t need to be tightly managed or fired up; they will be self-motivated by the inner drive to produce the best results and to be part of creating something great. Jim Collins

 

  • All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends. All things being not quite so equal, people STILL want to do business with their friends. Jeffrey Gitomer

 

  • The only difference between where you are right now and where you’ll be next year at this same time, are the people you meet and the books you read. Charlie Jones

 

  • Key to your success: Become known as a person of ACTION. A person who is known for getting things done.

 

  • Courage is a self-inflicted quality that gains momentum every time you try it.

 

  • The 80/20 Principle: roughly 80% of results stem from 20% or fewer of causes. Richard Koch

 

  • Look for more with less; super returns on your energy. In every organization some people are getting ahead much faster than others, without working harder. Why? Look for the 20% that delivers 80%. Richard Koch

 

  • The Great Western Disease is that we fixate on the future at the expense of enjoying the life we’re living now. Marshall Goldsmith

 

  • “When it comes to prioritizing, focus on a very simple concept—everything you spend your time on should be assessed in terms of its proximity to the revenue line.” Julie Morgenstern

 

  • Don’t strive to be a well-rounded leader. Instead, discover you zone and stay there. Then delegate everything else. Andy Stanley

 

  • Leadership is about getting things done through other people. Andy Stanley

  • Life belongs to those who are disciplined.

  • “The #1 job for any leader is to get the right people in the right jobs.” Peter Drucker

  • “The leader’s objective is to leverage the strengths of people and make their weaknesses become irrelevant.” Peter Drucker

 

  • A leader is someone who will say publicly what everybody else is whispering privately. It is not his insight that sets a leader apart from the crowd. It is his courage to act on what he sees, to speak up when everyone else is silent. Andy Stanley

 

  • The lesson I have rehearsed frequently with my kids: “If you don’t conquer your fear, you are going to miss out on some great things in life.” Often I find myself basically forcing them to try things they would not attempt on their own. Andy Stanley

 

  • Most of us lead busy but undisciplined lives. We have ever expanding “to-do” lists, trying to build momentum by doing, doing, doing and doing more. And it rarely works. Those who built the good to great companies, however, made as much use of the “stop doing lists” as the “to-do” lists.” They displayed a remarkable discipline to unplug all sorts of extraneous junk…They displayed remarkable courage to channel their resources into only one or a few arenas. Jim Collins

 

  • The best place to begin preparing is the end. Character development always begins with the end in mind. What do you want to be remembered for? What do you want your best friend to say at your funeral? How about your children? Your spouse? What do you want your kids to tell your grandchildren about you? How would you want the people who knew you best to describe your life? In other words, what do you want to be? Andy Stanley

  • Most organizations are built on 2 flawed assumptions about people:

    • Each person can learn to be competent in almost anything.

    • Each person’s greatest room for growth is in his areas of greatest weakness.

  • 2 Assumptions that guide the world’s best managers:

    • Each person’s talents are enduring and unique.

    • Each person’s greatest room for growth is in the areas of his or her greatest strength. Marcus Buckingham

 

Accountability means “to stand and be counted, as a part, a cause, an agent, or a source of an event or set of circumstances.” Audacious accountability means you consider you life from the point of view that how it goes and what happens is up to you. Jerry Porras

 

  • Flow: The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times…the best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

  • "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

 

  • Spend as much time on your stop doing list as you do on your to do list.

 

  • Increase the proportion of your time on the few things that produce the most benefit

 

  • Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day, while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.  It is the accumulative weight of our disciplines and our judgments that leads us to either success or failure."  Jim Rohn

 

  • You must constantly ask yourself these questions:  Who am I around?  What are they doing to me?  What have they got me reading?  What have they got me saying?  Where do they have me going?  What do they have me thinking?  And most important, what do they have me becoming?  Then ask yourself the big question: Is that okay?"   Jim Rohn

 

  • Life is not a problem to be solved; it is an adventure to be lived. That’s the nature of it and has been since the beginning when God set the dangerous stage for this high-stakes drama and called the whole wild enterprise good. He rigged the world in such a way that it only works when we embrace risk as the theme of our lives, which is to say, only when we live by faith. A man just won’t be happy until he’s got adventure in his work, in his love and in his spiritual life.

 

  • The one thing you need to know about management: Discover what is unique about each person and capitalize on it. Managers turn one persons talents into performance. Their key characteristic is “coaching instinct”. Marcus Buckingham

 

  • There is a direct relationship between the success of a business at any given time and the percentage of its capital and intellectual resources that are devoted to acquiring new customers. Peter Drucker

 

  • "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." Theodore Roosevelt
     

  • People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be. Abraham Lincoln

 

 

 

  • The 3 tiers of employees:

  • Top tier (20%); the star performers. Do everything you can to keep them happy and motivated. They deserve all the extra attention and recognition you can afford.

  • Middle tier (60%); most employees. Treat them fairly, respectfully and reward them in normal, regular increments.

  • Bottom tier (20%); the underperformers. Don’t waste your efforts trying to fix them.

 

 

 

 

2010 - present

2010 - present