Learning from Lee Iacocca

As a business owner it can be easy to get wrapped up in what’s going on in your business. We all have challenges, things that frustrate us and almost always run out of time at the end of the day. But one of the best things we can do if we’re interested in growing our business is to seek the wisdom of others, whether working with a coach, or learning from great business leaders like Lee Iacocca. Lee Iacocca celebrates his birthday on the 15th of this month, so today I thought we’d take a look at a little of his wisdom.   A couple of the quotes may not seem like they are relevant or really share any knowledge that can help you in your business, but if you take a minute to think about what they’re really saying, I think you’ll learn something valuable.

“In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.”

“So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don’t sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late.”

“Start with good people, lay out the rules, communicate with your employees, motivate them and reward them. If you do all those things effectively, you can’t miss.”

“In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words: people, product, and profits.”

“The only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works, is the family.”

“To succeed today, you have to set priorities, decide what you stand for.”

“I have found that being honest is the best technique I can use. Right up front, tell people what you’re trying to accomplish and what you’re willing to sacrifice to accomplish it.”

“What is wrong with changing your mind because the facts changed? But you have to be able to say why you changed your mind and how the facts changed.”

“I have always found that if I move with seventy-five percent or more of the facts that I usually never regret it. It’s the guys who wait to have everything perfect that drive you crazy.”

“There is no substitute for accurate knowledge. Know yourself, know your business, know your men.”

“The ability to concentrate and to use time well is everything.”

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”

“A guy named Charlie Beacham was my first mentor at Ford. He taught me the importance of the dealers, and he rubbed my nose in the retail business.”

“I guess I invented extended warranties, because that’s all we had to sell at Chrysler in those days.”

“Over the years, many executives have said to me with pride: ‘Boy, I worked so hard last year that I didn’t take any vacation.’ I always feel like responding, “You dummy. You mean to tell me you can take responsibility for an eighty-million-dollar project and you can’t plan two weeks out of the year to have some fun?”

“I only wish I could find an institute that teaches people how to listen. Business people need to listen at least as much as they need to talk. Too many people fail to realize that real communication goes in both directions.”

“To solve big problems you have to be willing to do unpopular things.”

“There’s no great mystery to satisfying your customers. Build them a quality product and treat them with respect. It’s that simple.”

 

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Leaders in Life

Today I’ve got some wise words from one of the leadership experts today, Dr Henry Cloud.  I believe that everyone is a leader in one way or another, but even if you don’t work in a traditional leadership role, there are wise words that you can learn from as well.

“Nothing good is going to happen if you can’t deal with the bad things that are going to happen.”

“Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where i end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom. Taking responsibility for my life opens up many different options. Boundaries help us keep the good in and the bad out. Setting boundaries inevitably involves taking responsibility for your choices. You are the one who makes them. You are the one who must live with their consequences. And you are the one who may be keeping yourself from making the choices you could be happy with. We must own our own thoughts and clarify distorted thinking.”

“Encourage literally came from “in courage.” The courage is put “into” you from outside. Our character and abilities grow through internalizing from others what we do not possess in ourselves.”

“True intimacy is only build around the freedom to disagree.”  

“Just as we leave the effects of our work behind in results, we leave the effects of our interactions with people in their hearts, minds, and souls.”

“Your business and your life will change when you really, really get it that some people are not going to change, no matter what you do, and that still others have a vested interest in being destructive.”

“When we ask we are owning our needs. Asking for love, comfort or understanding is a transaction between two people. You are saying: I have a need. It’s not your problem. It’s not your responsibility. You don’t have to respond, but I’d like something from you.  This frees the other person to connect with you freely and without obligation. When we own that our needs are our responsibility we allow others to love us because we have something to offer. Asking is a far cry from demanding. When we demand love, we destroy it.”

“Getting to the next level always requires ending something, leaving it behind, and moving on. Growth itself demands that we move on. Without the ability to end things, people stay stuck, never becoming who they are meant to be, never accomplishing all that their talents and abilities should afford them.”  

“Who a person is will ultimately determine if their brains, talents, competencies, energy, effort, deal-making abilities, and opportunities will succeed.”

“If you want to become healthy, you have to surround yourself with a group of people that are getting healthy, and you have to be connected to a community that is doing what you want to do.”

Productive Inspiration

Last Wednesday I shared some thoughts on how you can have a more productive summer in your business.  Sometimes in order to be productive we need some inspiration to get us going.  Here are some quotes that might inspire you to success this summer.

“I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.” Frank Lloyd Wright

“A professional is one who does his best work when he feels the least like working. Frank Lloyd Wright

“I don’t work at being ordinary.” Paul McCartney

“Think globally, act locally.” Paul McCartney

“If you want success, figure out the price, then pay it. It sounds trivial and obvious, but if you unpack the idea it has extraordinary power.”  Scott Adams

“The ability to work hard and make sacrifices comes naturally to those who know exactly what they want.” Scott Adams

“When things go bad, it’s easy to point fingers. People who attempt to switch the blame are afraid to fail. We’ve all been afraid to fail before a game, but it shouldn’t stop us from continuing, and from doing what we have to do to get the job done.”  John Elway

What words of wisdom have you heard lately that inspired you?

Mistake Mentors

In life we all make mistakes, I discovered a few of mine in the past few days and have been working to rectify them, so today I thought I’d share some inspiration about not being perfect, about working with what went wrong and about accepting yourself for who you are, mistakes and all.

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” Marilyn Monroe

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”  Judy Garland

“If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire—then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience. Life is inconvenient. Life is lumpy. Learn to separate the inconveniences from the real problems. You will live longer.” Sigmund Wollman

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” Elbert Hubbard

“It was when I found out I could make mistakes that I knew I was on to something.” Ornette Coleman

“That’s not serious, it’s just human.” Jerry Kopke

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” John Powell

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” Albert Einstein

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.” Walter Elliott

“Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.”  Harriet Braiker

“It is very easy to forgive others their mistakes; it takes more grit to forgive them for having witnessed your own.” Jessamyn West

“Make bold choices and make mistakes. It’s all those things that add up to the person you become.” Angelina Jolie

What are your wise words on making mistakes?

Lessons in Leadership

Last week was the Leadership Summit which is hosted each year by Willow Creek and the stage is shared by may big leaders in both business and church arenas.  Today I’ve got a few thoughts from the summit to share with you, I’ll expand on some of these in the future.  If you were able to attend or watch I invite you to share your thoughts in the comments section as well.

“Great leadership is, by definition, relentlessly developmental.” Bill Hybels

“You want legacy leaders (in for the long-term) and not ladder-climbers. Legacy leaders are concerned about culture and making a difference–versus ladder-climbers who are driven by ambition.” Bill Hybels

“Our people don’t expect us to be perfect. They expect us to be human.” Patrick Lencioni

“People never become defensive about what you’re saying. They become defensive because of why they think you’re saying it.” Joseph Grenny

“The power of a group is a function of the purity of its motives.” Joseph Grenny

“Any time you find yourself stuck, there is always a crucial conversation not happening.”  Joseph Grenny

“Every leader knows that life is short. This is what gives us the urgency to lead people who don’t have that urgency.”  Louie Giglio

“Power is the potential or ability to move reality, to make something happen.”   Ivan Satyavrata

“Great leaders refuse to use their power to intimidate or manipulate or control. Rather they use their power to give and add value.” Ivan Satyavrata

“Leadership is about how much you are willing to learn, how much you are wiling to give, self-awareness, serving others.” Jeffrey Immelt

“We expect all our leaders (including me) to teach and train leadership to our employees at all levels. It not only benefits the students–but puts our leaders face-to-face with every level and this impacts our own leadership.” Jeffrey Immelt

“You want employees who are willing buck the system, question authority, and have a burning desire to change.” Jeffrey Immelt

“We don’t expect people to have perfect careers. We expect them to learn from their failures and get better.” Jeffrey Immelt

“The highest calling of leadership is to unlock the potential of others.” Carly Fiorina

Presidential Business

Ah yes, today we’re looking to the presidents of the USA for some wisdom on how to run our businesses.

“One man with courage is a majority.” Thomas Jefferson
Sometimes all it takes is one person to make a difference in your business, and sometimes only one person has to stand up to make everyone else stand too.

“It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn’t.” Martin Van Buren
Stop putting stuff off, start getting it done!

“The man who can look upon a crisis without being willing to offer himself upon the altar of his country is not for public trust.” Millard Fillmore
As an owner of a business you are ultimately responsible for the actions or in-actions of your employees.  Always be willing to admit that responsibility.

“You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” Abraham Lincoln
If something shady or less than five-star is going on in your business, at least one person knows about it.

“Above all, tell the truth.”  Stephen Grover Cleveland
I believe in open and honest businesses.  Businesses who don’t hide behind fine print or lie about their capabilities.

“We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers.” Thomas Woodrow Wilson
You started the business with a dream in mind.  How big you grow depends on how big your dream is and your ability to get others to see your dream.

“We need a spirit of community, a sense that we are all in this together. If we have no sense of community, the American dream will wither.” Bill Clinton
If there’s no sense of community in your business or sense of responsibility or even affection towards your business from your employees, your business will fail.

What presidential insights have you picked up over the years?  I invite you to share a comment!

Remembering Relationships

This week the love world lost a great writer, the woman who inspired many and helped many hearts, “Abby,” of the Dear Abby column.  Today I thought I would share a few of her words of wisdom to inspire the families and relationships she cared so much about.

“Loneliness is the ultimate poverty.”

“There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who walk into a room and say, “There you are” and those who say, “Here I am.”

“If we could sell our experiences for what they cost us, we’d all be millionaires.”

“The less you talk, the more you’re listened to.”

“Fear less, hope more. Eat less, chew more. Talk less, say more. Hate less, love more, and never underestimate the power of forgiveness.”

“If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.”

“Kissing power is stronger than will power.”

“JUST FOR TODAY, I will live through this day only. I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow. I will not set far-reaching goals or try to overcome all of my problems at once.
I know that I can do something for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.
JUST FOR TODAY, I will be happy. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. If my mind fills with clouds, I will chase them away and fill it with sunshine.
JUST FOR TODAY, I will accept what is. I will face reality. I will correct those things that I can correct and accept those I cannot.
JUST FOR TODAY, I will improve my mind. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration. I will not be a mental loafer.
JUST FOR TODAY, I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will be kind and courteous to those who cross my path, and I’ll not speak ill of others. I will improve my appearance, speak softly, and not interrupt when someone else is talking. Just for today, I will refrain from improving anybody but myself.
JUST FOR TODAY, I will do something positive to improve my health. If I’m a smoker, I’ll quit. If I’m overweight, I will eat healthfully — if only for today. And not only that, I will get off the couch and take a brisk walk, even if it’s only around the block.
JUST FOR TODAY, I will gather the courage to do what is right and take the responsibility for my own actions.”

Thank you for your wisdom Pauline Phillips.  What have you learned from her writings?

Leadership Inspiration

This month we’re talking about leadership, and today I though I’d share some of the thoughts that other leaders have shared about leadership, people and doing it right with you.

“Leadership is action, not position.” Donald H. McGannon

“Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.” Tom Peters

“I suppose that leadership at one time meant muscle; but today it means getting along with people.” Indira Gandhi

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” Steve Jobs
“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” John D. Rockefeller

“How we think shows through in how we act. Attitudes are mirrors of the mind. They reflect thinking.” David Joseph Schwartz

“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” John C. Maxwell

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” Warren G. Bennis

“No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit.” Andrew Carnegie

What inspires you as a leader?

Thanksgiving Thoughts

With Thanksgiving a few days away let’s take a look at some thoughts from men and women about being thankful.

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.”  Meister Eckhart

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”   John Fitzgerald Kennedy

“Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.”   Edward Sandford Martin

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”  Thornton Wilder

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”  Oprah Winfrey

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” Willie Nelson

“If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.” Frank A. Clark

“If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.” W. Clement Stone

“The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.”  Henry Ward Beecher

“No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.”  Alfred North Whitehead

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”  Gilbert Keith Chesterton

“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.”  Aesop

“For what I have received may the Lord make me truly thankful.  And more truly for what I have not received.” Storm Jameson

I am thankful for so many things!   What are you thankful for today?

Inspirational Passion

June is passion month!  I’ve gathered some wisdom from some people who know a little about what passion is.  I hope their passion inspires yours.

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” Oprah Winfrey

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln

“Passion makes the world go round.  Love just makes it a safer place.” Ice T

“Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is?” Mark Twain

“Passion is universal humanity.  Without it religion, history, romance and art would be useless.” Honore de Balzac

“Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of you, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.” Napoleon Hill

“Passion is the genesis of genius.” Tony Robbins

“A man can succeed at almost anything for which he has unlimited enthusiasm.” Charles M. Schwab

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Nelson Mandela

“What you can do, or dream you can, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Renew your passions daily.” Terri Guillemets

What will you do with your passion today?  Share your thoughts below.