- "You can't boil the ocean" and
"Always moving forward"
- Small steps lead to big accomplishments. I like
brainstorming about the future and strategy but, when it comes time
to execute, you often need to move in small steps. I've seen
far too many large initiatives go astray because their goals were too
lofty and the associated costs and timeframes created their own
risks. I've also led some amazing large successful
initiatives but these initiatives require extra attention and risk
- Any "big idea" can be broken down into small tasks and
accomplished one by one. This creates momentum, buy-in,
excitement, and a higher probability of long term success.
- My management team will often hear me remark "always moving
forward" to refer to small but meaningful ideas and accomplishments.
- "Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and
they will surprise you with their ingenuity." - General George S.
- Teams can accomplish more than individuals. My role as a
leader and manager is to foster teamwork and encourage disciplined
risk taking. I don't presume that I know the answers and
therefore I encourage everybody to explore creative solutions.
I'm the last person to micro-manage. If a manager requires
that level of direction then he or she is most likely the wrong person
for the job.
- I've seen environments - particularly smaller companies - where
one dominant leader unintentionally suppresses motivation and
initiative. If you build a strong team then you have to give
them the freedom to act.
- "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." - Thomas Edison
- I also like to say that a good idea with no execution is like no
idea at all. I've never seen an environment with a lack of
ideas - but I've seen many environments with no follow-through on
ideas. There is no substitute for hard work and
follow-through. It doesn't have to be the biggest
accomplishment (i.e., you can't boil the ocean) but it's important
to always move forward!
- "The only way to guarantee that you won't ever miss a goal is to
never try to score"
- I love coaching my children's sports teams. Years ago we
entered a soccer tournament for 8 and 9 year old boys. One of
our 'stars' missed a wide open goal near the end of the game.
He was crying and very upset. The whole team was very upset
after our loss and I needed to settle them down before leaving.
We were all sitting in a hallway and I told them that I just figured
out a way to never miss another goal. They all slowly stopped
crying - waiting for the answer. I simply told them that I was
proud of their effort and the only way to not miss a goal - and
never lose a game - was to not try at all. This little lesson
applies throughout business and I've used this little story after
small setbacks and failures in business. You can't be afraid
to fail - the trick is to learn, try again, repeat.
I have many more quotes and sayings that I use in my daily work life
(and coaching life!). They can be very effective to deliver a
message succinctly and effectively.