100 Maxims, Anecdotes and Stories

Fundamental Principles

100 Maxims, Anecdotes and Stories - from "Why Climb The Corporate Ladder When You Can Take The Elevator?" and "If You Want The Rainbow You Gotta Put Up With The Rain."

  1. Remember to dig deep when interviewing someone for a key position...just as a wise man can say a foolish thing, a fool can say something wise once in awhile.
  2. "Worry about the small things...the big things will take care of themselves." C.R. Smith, Founder of American Airlines.
  3. Spend the extra dollars to maintain your equipment. Remember, you don't have to brush all your teeth either...only the ones you want to keep.
  4. Nothing is more rewarding than to watch someone who says it can't be done get interrupted by someone actually doing it.
  5. "When the pace of change outside an organization becomes greater than the pace of change inside the organization, the end is near." John R. Walter, President of AT&T.
  6. "You miss 100% of the shots you never take." Wayne Gretzky.
  7. "Don't build me a watch, just tell me the time." Charlie McCarthy, Chief Operating Officer of Tetley, USA.
  8. The race is not always won by the fastest runner but sometimes by those who just keep running.
  9. A turn in the road is not the end of the road unless you fail to make the turn.
  10. Smart executives know that they do the things they need to do when they need to do them so someday they can do the things they want to do when they want to do them.
  11. Analyze the facts before making key decisions. On June 25th, 1876, General George Armstrong Custer received information that a significant number of Indians were gathering at Little Big Horn. Without analyzing the facts, he decided to ride out with 250 men to "surround" almost 3000 Indians...this was a serious mistake.
  12. We do not stop working because we are old; we grow old because we stop working.
  13. It doesn't matter how many pails of milk you spill, just don't lose the cow.
  14. "Measure twice...cut once." Ross Perot.
  15. Worrying about what's right is always more important than worrying abot who's right.
  16. There Is Always A Right Way And A Wrong Way To Succeed. Two Jesuit priests both wanted a cigarette while they prayed. They decided to ask their bishop for permission. The first asked but was told no. A little while later he spotted his friend smoking. "Why did the Bishop allow you to smoke and not me?" he asked. "Because you asked if you could smoke while you prayed and I asked if I could pray while I smoked!" the friend replied.
  17. Wealth comes to those who make things happen not to those who let things happen.
  18. If you are constantly looking back, chances are pretty good you'll fall into a hole ahead.
  19. "If you have tried to do something but couldn't, you are far better off than if you had tried to do nothing and succeeded." John T. Ragland, Jr.
  20. Try not to work for a person who has more problems than you do.
  21. There are two types of folls: Those who trust everyone and those who trust no one.
  22. "If you go into a battle, it's better to win the first time." General George S. Patton
  23. All junior executives should know that if they work hard ten hours a day, every day, they could be promoted to senior executives so that they can work hard for fourteen hours a day.
  24. Executive personalities can sometimes be measured by their actions. For example, in driving, there are two types of executive motorists -- those who drive as if they owned the road, and those who drive as if they owned the car.
  25. The Ten Commandments Of Street Smarts by Mark H. McCormack
    1. Never underestimate the importance of money...It's how business people keep score!
    2. Never overestimate the value of money...cash is important, but sometimes not as important as respect, thanks, integrity, or the thrill of a job well done.
    3. You can never have too many friends in business...Given a choice always do business with a friend. It's the best way to leverage your success.
    4. Don't be afraid to say, "I don't know"...People will respect you much more and will always place more weight on what you do say...because they know you're right.
    5. Speak less...No one ever put their foot in their mouth when they were not speaking. Worse, if you are speaking, you can't be listening, and we always learn much more from listening.
    6. Keep your promises, the big ones and the little ones...both the starting point and the staying point in any business relationship is trust...not suspicion. Someone who does what he says he will do will always succeeed over a person who doesn't keep his word.
    7. Every transaction has a life of its own...Some need tender loving care, some need to be hurried away.
    8. Commit yourself to quality form day one...It's better to do nothing at all than to do something badly.
    9. Be nice to people...nice gets nice, and all things being equal, courtesy can be very persuasive.
    10. Don't hog the credit...share it. People will work with you and for you if they are recognized. They will also work against you if they are not.
  26. Not long ago at a One To One Dinner, Bill Russell, who I think is absolutely amazing, told the following story and his moral is one that I live by every day: "When I was in the 11th grade, I was cut from the junior varsity basketball team (really smart coach!). Our varsity coach then a pproached me and asked me to play on the varsity team. "I just got cut from the JV Team," I said. His answer: "I'm not coaching the JV." The moral of this story is to go with your instincts you may just be right. Editor's Note: Bill Russell is considered by many to be the greatest basketball player to ever play the game.
  27. If you keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep getting what you're getting.
  28. In business, a man should not be judged by what he eats so much as with whom he eats.
  29. Beware of the most dangerous person in business -- the articulate incompetent.
  30. In all my years in business, I have found that people in meetings tend to agree on decisions that, as individuals, they know are dumb.
  31. The best way to eliminate any enemy is to make him a friend.
  32. "It's not whether you get knocked down. It's whether you get up again." Vince Lombardi - Former NFL Coach
  33. In business, it's always easier to stay out of trouble than to get out of trouble.
  34. Don't try to do something cheaply that shouldn't be done at all.
  35. Keeping up is always easier than catching up.
  36. Don't hold a $1,000 meeting to solve a $100 problem.
  37. If someone says something unkind about you, live your life so that no one will believe it.
  38. If you think education is expensive, wait till you see what ignorance costs you.
  39. Avoid shortcuts. They always take too much time in the long run.
  40. Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make them all yourself.
  41. Some People Are Lucky and Some Are Not John Paul Getty, the oil executive and billionaire, once received a request from a magazine for a short article that explained his great success. The billionaire obligingly wrote: "Some people find oil -- others don't."
  42. "There are two types of employees: Those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is much less competition there." Indira Gandhi
  43. The greatest mistake an executive can make is to be afraid of making a mistake.
  44. If your only choice is to hire either a conceited executive or a foolish executive, hire the conceited one...occasionally he won't be conceited.
  45. The best time to save some money is when you have some.
  46. A fat lawsuit is never as smart as a lean compromise.
  47. More People Get Into Trouble For Things They Say Rather Than For What They Do. General Westmoreland called down to the base motor pool one day and asked what vehicles were on the base and available. The Private who answered the call said: "Two jeeps, one truck and one sedan for the stupid General." Not believing what he just heard, the General asked the Private: "Do you know who you're talking to?" The Private said: "No." "Well, this is General Westmoreland." The Private thought for a moment -- highly aware of his incredible blunder -- and asked: "Well, do you know who you're talking to?" The General responded "No, I don't," to which the Private said: "Well, so long stupid" and hung up the phone.
  48. To finish sooner, take your time.
  49. Never let what you can't do interfere with what you can do.
  50. "If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves." Thomas Edison
  51. In business, as in forest fires, big problems always start out small.
  52. Sometimes when a man with money meets a man with experience, the man with experience ends up with the money and the man with the money ends up with experience.
  53. Having something to say is always more important than wanting to say something.
  54. If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can't, you're right.
  55. Business is like riding a bicycle. Either you keep up your speed or you'll fall down.
  56. The executive who makes no mistakes usually doesn't make anything.
  57. In business as in life, foolish ideas dressed up to look impressive are usually dreamed up by impressive fools.
  58. "You never get ahead of anyone as long as you try to get even with him." Lou Holtz
  59. "There are two times in a man's life when he should not speculate -- when he cannot afford it, and when he can." Mark Twain
  60. If your company is stupid enough to be run by a committee, be on that committee.
  61. The meek might inherit the earth...but the strong will always retain the mineral rights.
  62. The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of meeting the schedule has been forgotten.
  63. "The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive." Albert Einstein
  64. The world is divided into people who get things done, and people who get the credit.
  65. The Truth Be Known! At a political dinner the famous newspaper columnist, Ann Landers, was introduced to a rather pompous Senator. "So, you're Ann Landers," he drawled. "Say something funny." Without hesitation, Ann replied, "Well, you're a politician...tell me a lie."
  66. Given a choice between building your business on large debt or facing a firing squad...choose the firing squad. There's a chance the firing squad might miss.
  67. People who will lie for you, will lie to you.
  68. To get the right answer, it helps to ask the right question.
  69. In business today, too many executives spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't need, to impress people they don't even like.
  70. If you're skating on thin ice, skate real fast.
  71. In business as in life, your chances of being run over are doubled if you stay in the middle of the road.
  72. "Now, I'm saying if I've got a goose that can lay a golden egg, then I would study that goose and say 'How can I get it to lay two eggs?'-- not, 'Should we have it for Thanksgiving dinner?'" Ross Perot
  73. "Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect." Vince Lombardi - Former NFL Coach
  74. If You Don't Ask...You Don't Get It seems there was a pretzel stand out front of an office building in New York. One day a man came out of the building, plunked down a quarter, and then went on his way without taking a pretzel. This happened every day for three weeks. Finally, the old lady running the stand spoke up: "Sir, excuse me. May I have a word with you?" The fellow said: "I know what you're going to say. You're going to ask me why I give you a quarter every day and don't take a pretzel." And the woman said, "Not at all. I just want to tell you the price is now 35 cents." William Schreyer - Former Chairman, Merrill Lynch
  75. "It's not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It's the customer who pays the wages." Henry Ford
  76. The executive who works from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. every day will be both very successful and fondly remembered by his widow's next husband.
  77. Lawyers earn more from problems than solutions.
  78. If your business isn't moving fast enough, consider the turtle...It can't move at all if it doesn't stick its neck out.
  79. Take Risks Not long ago, I had dinner with Jim Burke. We were supporting a "One to One" function for our mutual friend, Ray Chambers, and we got into a discussion about taking risks in business. Jim told me a wonderful story that I would like to share with you: Jim Burke became the head of a new products group at Johnson & Johnson. One of his first products was a children's chest rub. It failed miserably and Jim believed he would be fired when he was called into the chairman's office. However, to his surprise, Mr. Johnson asked if he was the one who just cost the company a lot of money and then added. "Well, I want to congratulate you. If you made a mistake, it means you took a risk, and if we don't take risks, we will never grow. That is what business is all about." Years later Jim Burke became the Chairman of Johnson & Johnson.
  80. Negotiation At Its Best J.P. Morgan was interested in buying a pear pin. The jeweler he approached found the perfect pin and sent it in a box to Morgan with a bill for $5,000. The following day the box was returned with a note from Morgan: "I like the pin, but I don't like the price. If you will accept the enclosed check for $4,000, please send back the box which is sealed with the seal unbroken." The enraged jeweler returned the check to the messenger and dismissed him in anger. He opened the box to remove the pin only to find that it had already been replaced with a check from Morgan for $5,000.
  81. Always Maintain a Positive Attitude Many years ago, a large American shoe manufacturer sent two sales reps out to different parts of the Australian outback to see if they could drum up some business among the aborigines. Some time later, the company received telegrams from both agents. The first one said, "No business here...natives don't wear shoes." The second one said, "Great opportunity here...natives don't wear shoes!"
  82. Dumb executives tend to become best friends with other dumb executives.
  83. The concerned investment banker is the one who blows the horn on his Mercedes as he drives through a red light.
  84. If you aren't happy with what you've got now, what makes you think you'll be happier with more?
  85. If there are things about a job candidate you don't like, you will like them even less after you hire him.
  86. Only make a great deal if you have no intention of ever doing business with that person again...otherwise make a good deal.
  87. If you know how, you'll always have a job. If you know why, you'll be the boss.
  88. Ever notice how the empty can makes the loudest noise.
  89. If you're in charge and you stop rowing, don't be surprised if the rest of your crew stops too.
  90. In business, people take different roads to achieve success. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost.
  91. People who wait for all conditions to be perfect before acting, never act.
  92. The Less Baggage, The Easier The Ride Wally Amos once said: "My experiences have shown me that life truly is a journey, and the less baggages we carry, the easier the ride." I also define baggage as doing business with people that you don't like, don't trust, or just find annoying. Clearly, it isn't always possible, but consider how great it would be to go through a day only speaking to people you truly enjoy. A goal should be to try to cut back on anything negative so all you have left are the positives.
  93. The problem with success is that by the time you're rich enough to sleep late, you're so old you always wake up early.
  94. To Survive in Business You Must Be Able to Think and Act Quickly A story circulated around Wall Street a while ago about a tough chairman of a major company who stopped into the famous restaurant, "21," for a quick bite. Not being too hungry, he asked the water for half of a sirloin steak. Normally the waiter would simply have told him they didn't serve half steaks, but given the importance of this customer, the waiter agreed and left for the kitchen. Unbeknownst to the waiter, the chairman followed him to the kitchen to tell him he wanted the steak rare. As the waiter announced to the chef, "I need half a steak for a real jerk," he noticed the chairman standing behind him and, without missing a stroke, continued to comment to the chef, "and the other half goes to this gentleman."
  95. Always remember you spend at least 8 to 10 hours of your waking day with your secretary and only 3 to 4 hours a day with your wife...and your wife knows it. Send a gift once in a while for no reason at all...to your wife.
  96. Any problem you can solve with a check isn't a problem, it's an expense.
  97. The first step you should take if you want to be successful is to decide what kind of executive you are. Executives fall into three categories: Those who make things happen; those who watch things happen; and those who wonder what happened.
  98. It isn't the employees you terminate who make your life miserable, it's the ones you don't.
  99. The low bidder is usually someone who is wondering what he left out.
  100. He Who Laughs First Doesn't Always Laugh Last George Bernard Shaw, the famous playwright, sent Winston Churchill two tickets to the opening of his play, Saint Joan, with a note: "One for yourself and one for a friend -- if you have one." Churchill replied that he regretted being unable to attend the opening, but asked if it would be possible to have tickets for the second night -- "if there is one."