The nature of competition is such that any number of people invariably have their eyes on the same prize you do. Recognize your assets and employ them to the best of your ability.
- Larry Bird

Bottom-line obsession comes from turning the pursuit of money into a God and forgetting the real master your business serves: The Customer.
- Michael Shevack

Committee--a group of men who individually can do nothing but as a group decide that nothing can be done.
- Fred Allen

The length of your business future is directly related to the strength of your business skills.

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.
- Upton Sinclair

All customers are not created equal. Chances are, 80 percent of repeat business will come from 20 percent of your customers.
- Bob Stone

Let's just get the facts. We'll distort them later.
- An IBM executive

Speed is God, and time is the devil.
- Silicon Valley saying

It doesn't matter how many times you fail.
It doesn’t matter how many times you get it almost right.
All that matters in business is that you get it right once.
Then everyone can tell you how lucky you are.
- Mark Cuban

At the end of every day, the assets of most companies walk out the door. The challenge facing those companies is to provide an environment that will encourage their assets to want to return the next morning.
- Lynn Yates, modified by Grant Bright

Getting fired is nature's way of telling you that you had the wrong job in the first place.
- Hal Lancaster

Develop a respect and reverence for the principle of variation: the idea that the message ain't in the mean, the mode or the median - it's in the differences that occur throughout a population.
- Tom Peters, gadfly, curmudgeon, prince of disorder, champion of bold failures and professional loudmouth

The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is not training them and keeping them.
- Zig Ziglar

No businessperson is, literally, more than six-tenths of a second (measured by the speed of light) away from any other businessperson. When I need a partner, I can just as easily look in Bangalore, India, as next door in my Silicon Valley neighborhood.
- Tom Peters, The Circle of Innovation

In three years, every product my company makes will be obsolete. The only question is whether we'll make them obsolete or somebody else will.
- Bill Gates

The person who figures out how to harness the collective genius of his or her organization is going to blow the competition away.
- Walter Wiriston, former Citibank CEO

When a customer complains, he is doing you a special favor; he is giving you another chance to serve him to his satisfaction. You will appreciate the importance of this opportunity when you consider that the customer's alternative option was to desert you for a competitor.
- Seymour H. Fine

Every job is a self-portrait ... Autograph your work with excellence.
- Sign giving instructions to the cleaning crew of a lighting store in Matawan, NJ

Service, in short, is not what you do, but who you are. It is a way of living that you need to bring to everthing you do, if you are to bring it to your customer interactions.
- Betsy Sanders, "Fabled Service"

Customer: A person who indirectly pays for all your vacations, hobbies, and golf games and gives you the opportunity to better yourself.

The purpose of business should be to make life better for people.

In 1973, the median number of hours worked per week was 40.6. By 1997 it had climbed to 50.8 hours per week. Work, as defined for this survey, includes working for pay, keeping house, and going to school. The median number of leisure hours per week dropped from 26.2 hours in 1973 to 19.5 hours in 1997.
- Louis Harris & Associates
Note: As we enter the 21st Century, this trend continues.

A frustrated manager complained that every time he provided training, the now highly skilled employee was snatched up by a competitor. However, the only thing worse than training people and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.
- attributed to Zig Ziglar

A CEO "should add value or get out of the way for someone who will."
- Allen Sheppard

Wanted, an Impresario to preside over a workshop of wizards.
- help wanted sign, Apple Computer, early days

When the diverse elements of the organization are aligned, the energy is focused and the capacity for concerted action improved... Priorities become clear, and the contributions of each employee are maximized.
- Laura Spencer, Winning Through Participation

A sale is not something you pursue; it's what happens to you while you are immersed in serving your customer.

Simple, clear purpose and principles give rise to complex intelligent behavior. Complex rules and regulations give rise to simple stupid behavior.
- Dee Hock

Put a good person in a bad system and the bad system wins, no contest.

It's relatively simple. If we're not getting more, better, faster than they are getting more, better, faster then we're getting less, no better or more worse.
- Tom Peters

A mission statement is defined as "a long awkward sentence that demonstrates management's inability to think clearly." All good companies have one.
- From The Dilbert Principle, 1996

Boss spelled backwards is self-explanatory
(Note - This is a US euphemism. Contact an American for further explanation!)

How long can we go mean and lean before we become gaunt and dead.

One's future will depend on their ability to learn faster and respond to change quicker than their competitors.

It's all about Continuous Continuous Improvement

A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.
- adapted from John Le Carre

A Swedish study of 12,000 male workers showed that those who felt they had no control over things at work had a 162% higher risk of heart attack than those who felt they had some control.

Even if you can deceive people about a product through misleading statements, sooner or later the product will speak for itself.
- Hajime Karatsu

Customers are like teeth. Ignore them and they’ll go away.
- Jerry "G" Flanagan, State Farm Agent

Did you ever expect a corporation to have a conscience, when it has no soul to be damned and no body to be kicked?
- Edward Thurlow (1731-1806), Lord Chancellor of England

If you don't serve an external customer, you serve someone who does.

Bill Gates' Success Factors for Microsoft
1. Long-term Approach
2. Passion for Products and Technology
3. Teamwork
4. Results
5. Customer Feedback
6. Individual Excellence
Note: 1 & 4; 2 & 5; 3 & 6; should work to balance each other

There is only one boss: the customer. And he can fire everyone in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.
- Sam Walton

Drive thy business; let it not drive thee.
- Benjamin Franklin

Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage.
- Victor Kiam, CEO, Remington

I don't meet competition. I crush it.
- Charles Revson

If you have a job without aggravations, you don't have a job.
- Malcolm Forbes

Without the element of uncertainty, the bringing off of even the greatest business triumph would be a dull, routine, and eminently unsatisfying affair.
- J. Paul Getty

Business is never so healthy as when, like a chicken, it must do a certain amount of scratching for what it gets.
- Henry Ford

Few people do business well who do nothing else.
- Lord Chesterfield

Sometimes one can become lost in a big company and lose sight of how what one does truly helps or impacts the end customer. If you are one of those, think of a fire brigade, a line of people passing buckets of water from one to the other from a source of water to the site of the fire. An individual in the brigade may not be able to see the end result, i.e. the water being thrown on the fire to put it out, but the contribution of the individual is indispensable to the final outcome.
- Grant M. Bright

Imagine a company that puts its shareholders first – only to discover that it has alienated its customers!
- Memo to CEOs, Fast magazine, June, 2002

Ritz Carlton Hotel has a policy that any employee can spend up to $2000 a day (without requiring any authorization from management) to solve the need or concern of any of their customers. On his way to Hawaii to deliver an important presentation, a businessman realized he had accidentally left his portable computer at a Ritz Carlton in Atlanta. His presentation was stored on the computer. He placed a frantic call to the hotel and was routed to housekeeping. They had found his computer. Please send by Federal Express, he requested. I absolutely need it tomorrow morning for my presentation. Imagine his surprise when Mary from housekeeping showed up in Hawaii early the next morning to hand deliver his computer. Mary was quoted as saying This was too important to trust FedX with, so I decided to deliver it myself!

Consumers are statistics. Customers are people.
- Stanley Marcus

Don't wait for someone else to make all the calls.

No one, not even you, gives one hundred-percent perfect performance every time. The business world belongs to the quick and the bold...not the perfect. It's the struggle towards perfection that counts.
- Richard S. Sloma

If you have a job without any aggravations, you don't have a job.
- Malcolm Forbes

To every rule there is an exception, and vice versa.

Organizational learning occurs when systematic feedback processes are combined with personal behavioral feedback.
- Chip Wood

A message for business people: Whatever happens never happens by itself.
- Sally Rand

The most important part of turnover is the loss of intellectual capital.
- Ted Kastelic, Intel

Just like a good customer, it's more effective to retain key employees than to replace them.
- R.C. Mills, IBM

There is tremendous concern as to how organizations manage and measure retention. It is no longer an HR issue. It's a business issue.
- Maury Hanigan

Retention boils down to basic best practices. A company that engages its people at all levels and in all ways is a company that keeps them.
- Barbara Ettorre

Profit is the applause you get for taking care of your customers and creating a motivating environment for your employees.

4 main secrets of any MBA:
1. Sales must exceed expenses
2. Pay your bills, collect your receivables
3. Take care of your customers
4. Take care of your employees

Unfortunately, some companies worry more about broken machines than they do broken people.

Enthusiasm equals Mission times Cash and Congratulations
- "Gung Ho" by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles

Supply always comes on the heels of demand.
- Robert Collier

In life, change is inevitable. In business, change is vital.
- Warren G. Bennis

The quality of employees will be directly proportional to the quality of life you maintain for them.
- Charles E. Bryan

No one - not even you - gives one hundred-percent perfect performance every time. The business world belongs to the quick and the bold ... not the perfect. It's the struggle towards perfection that counts.
- Richard S. Sloma

It's not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It's the customer who pays the wages.

Following the "rules": While visiting Solvang, California my wife and I entered a bakery. We were the only customers in the store. The person behind the counter said "May I help you?" but before we could respond, another person behind the counter, standing off to the side, uttered an "uh-hum". A discussion then took place between the two. Finally, the first person turned to us and pointing to a ticket dispenser, said, "Sorry, sir, but you need to take a number." We pulled a number - 93. We notice a sign above that says 87. "88" says the server behind the counter, "89," "90," "Isn't this silly!?" adds the server. "91," "92," "93." At this point my wife and I looked at each other, turned to the server and said "Sorry, we just lost our appetites, we're going elsewhere."
- Grant M. Bright

If you're working in a company that is NOT enthusiastic, energetic, creative, clever, curious, and just plain fun, you've got troubles, serious troubles.
- Tom Peters

When people work in a place that cares about them, they contribute a lot more than duty.
- Dennis Hayes

If you don't serve an external customer, you serve someone who does.

Bill Gates' Success Factors for Microsoft:
1. Long-term Approach
2. Passion for Products and Technology
3. Teamwork
4. Results
5. Customer Feedback
6. Individual Excellence
Note: 1 & 4; 2 & 5; 3 & 6; should work to balance each other

What will your legacy be when you leave the workplace?

6 out of 10 people don't like to go to their jobs each day.
- Ed Foreman

It is not the employer who pays the WAGES - he only handles the money. It is the PRODUCT that pays the wages.
- Henry Ford

Laws and institutions, like clocks, must occasionally be cleaned, wound up, and set to true time.
- H.W. Beecher

Corporation: an ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.
- Ambrose Bierce

Sell the sizzle, not the steak.

Ventures go through six stages:
The Search for the Guilty
The Punishment of the Innocent
The Decoration of Those Who Did Nothing

Business, more than any other occupation, is a continual dealing with the future; it is a continual calculation, an instinctive exercise in foresight.
- Henry R. Luce

Work LOCAL but think GLOBAL (keep the BIG picture in mind)

I learned that, before you reach an objective, you must be ready with a new one, and you must start to communicate it to the organization. But it is not the goal itself that is important.
- Jan Carlzon, CEO SAS

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

Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies.
- Honore' De Balzac

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.

Professionalism: It's NOT the job you DO, It's HOW you DO the job.

Once an organization loses its spirit of pioneering and rests on its early work, its progress stops.
- Thomas J. Watson

In an earthquake, the most dangerous place to be is in a tall building that is not flexible. Yet, one of the safest places is a tall building that has been stressed for earthquakes - - in other words, one that has a deep foundation and is flexible. So, too, over the coming years, large organizations that remain rigid will crumble and fall, while those that succeed in adding flexibility, teamwork and creativity to their cultures will thrive.

If you don't know what to do with many of the papers piled on your desk, stick a dozen colleagues' initials on them and pass them along. When in doubt, route.
- Malcolm Forbes

We found that the most exciting environments, that treated people very well, are also tough as nails. There is no bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo ... excellent companies provide two things simultaneously: tough environments and very supportive environments.
- Tom Peters

Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.
- Aristotle

Three Levels of Organizational Vision:
1. The Do-able
2. The Conceivable
3. The Previously Unthinkable

Giving every employee the MEANS, MOTIVATION & OPPORTUNITY to do their jobs.
- Tom Corcoran, IBM VP

If you want to be incrementally better: Be COMPETITIVE
If you want to be exponentially better: Be COOPERATIVE

People are know by the company they keep. Companies are known by the people they keep.

Some consultants are like the bottom half of a double boiler: all heated up but don't know what's cooking.

Increased QUALITY/PRODUCTIVITY is made up of 1000s of small improvements. Just like Gulliver who was held down by 1000s of threads. Each one doesn't seem to mean much, and in the case of a thread, can be easily broken. But 1000s of them can have a very strong effect.

Douglas McGregor's list of the unique characteristics of an effective management team:
1. Understanding, mutual agreement, and identification with respect to the primary task
2. Open communications
3. Mutual trust
4. Mutual support
5. Management of human differences leading to group synergy
6. Selective use of the team
7. Appropriate member skills
8. Leadership: Managing and integrating the other 7 characteristics

What experienced professionals value most:
- respect and recognition of effort
- status and independence
- opportunity to make a difference
- honest, ethical management
- free exchange of information
- freedom in deciding how to do own work

The world is moved not only by the mighty shoves of the heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.
- Frank C. Ross

CONSULTANT: What is a consultant? Two old ladies got a large tomcat (Sylvester) for company. Every evening about 10:00pm, Sylvester scratched on the door until they let him out. He wanted out so he could "visit" the female alley cats. Their puritanical consciences bothered, the two old ladies had him "fixed". He still went out at night. But now he went out as a "consultant"!

Organizations that remain vital show their new employees that they are needed. At the same time, they never forget the value of their long-service employees. And they always give both a second chance.

The new organization is edgeless, permeable, amorphous ... constantly re-forming according to need.
- The Virtual Corporation (Bill Davidow and Mike Malone)

If your company has a "clean-desk" policy, the company is nuts and you're nuts to stay there.
- Tom Peters

To survive, men and business and corporations must serve.
- John H. Patterson

The values of the Walt Disney company: The four C's: Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, Consistency, and the greatest of these is Confidence."

Some people feel they work in an environment where doing a good job is like wetting your pants in a dark suit gives you a warm feeling but nobody notices!

You know the type. Every company has at least one. You can't spot them by their looks. But they follow a common pattern. They are the spoilers. The second guessers. They stay in the background while the groundwork is being formed. While the decisions are being made. Then they swing into action. They demand minor changes. They find fault with small points. They rehash issues that have already been settled the hard way. They question conclusions. They challenge assumptions. They defend their stand in the name of constructive criticism and improvement. And it probably is. But too often the value of their contribution is outweighed by the destructive side effects produced. They inhibit creativity. They dampen enthusiasm. They demoralize personnel. They create uncertainty. You must know the type. Or does the shoe fit? If it does, be prepared for the question that is likely to follow an overdose of 20/20 hindsight: WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE PAPER WAS BLANK?


Life in the Fast Lane

Playing in Traffic












exposed: no place to hide



results compensation


team ascendancy

ego suppression

flat organizations

who's my boss

no titles

no status

customer focus


decentralized decision making


the end of tenure

the end of security

no complacency


ongoing change


The Twelve Keys to an Effective Organization (by William P. Densmore):
1. Integrated Strategic Management
2. Focus on Results
3. Shared Aims, Values and Beliefs
4. Short-Term/Long-Term Balance
5. Superior Customer Satisfaction
6. Focus on Profits
7. Human Resource Practices
8. Freedom Within Bounds
9. High Expectations - Focus on Competence
10. Business Teams and Teamwork
11. Informal Networks and Relationships
12. Climate for Change
- see "Breaking Through" by Don Osgood for more information

Don Keough's (CEO Coca-Cola) 11 Rules on "HOW TO LOSE":
1. Stop taking risks
2. Be content
3. Never deviate from what the founder did
4. Be inflexible
5. Rely totally on research and experts
6. Concentrate on competitors instead of your customers
7. Put yourself - not the customer - first
8. Solve administrative concerns first
9. Let others do your thinking for example, headquarters
10. Rely on T-G-E: "That's Good Enough" and T-N-M-J: "That's Not My Job!"
11. Rationalize slow growth

The biggest mistake that you can make is to believe that you are working for somebody else. Job security is gone. The driving force of a career must come from the individual. Remember: Jobs are owned by the company, you own your career!


The question is, then, do we try to make things easy on ourselves or do we try to make things easy on our customers, whoever they may be?
- Erwin Frand

When handling a "customers" complaint, remember: If you can't fix it, don't drop it.

It is not the employer who pays wages - he only handles the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.
- Henry Ford

If WE don't take care of the customer ... somebody else will.

Nordstrom's Rules for Employees:
Rule # 1: Use your good judgment in all situations
There are no additional rules

SENSITIVITY TO CUSTOMER NEEDS: An architect built a cluster of office buildings around a central green. When construction was complete and the buildings were occupied, the landscaping crew asked him where he wanted the sidewalks. The architect knew a winter storm was approaching and asked the landscapers to wait a while. As he expected, the winter storm left a blanket of snow. People walking between the buildings left easily discernible trails. The architect then had the landscapers mark the most frequently used trails. These paths were then paved. Not only did the paths have a nice design that flowed in easy curves, but the paths accommodated the users needs in a most functional way.

Ask SPIN Questions for success:
S=Situation Questions (Data-Gathering: How long have you had this equipment?)
P=Problem Questions (Uncover Problems: Where do you seem to be having difficulties?)
I=Implication Questions: (Explore Consequences: How does that impact your ....?)
N=Need/Payoff Questions: (Identify Benefits of Potential Solution: If we were to .... how might that help?)

End of Quotes on "Business"


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