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Goals and Objectives

  1. A good goal is like a strenuous exercise-it makes you stretch.

Mary Kay Ash (1915-2001) U.S. entrepreneur, business executive, and founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics. On People Management (1984)


  1. Goals too clearly defined can become blinkers.

Mary Catherine Bateson (b.1939) U.S. anthropologist. Composing a Life (1989)


  1. Men do not live only by fighting evils. They live by positive goals, individual and collective, a vast variety of them, seldom predictable, at times incompatible.

Isaiah Berlin (1909-97) British philosopher. “Political Ideas in the Twentieth Century,” Four Essays on Liberty (1969)


  1. Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?

Robert Browning (1812-89) British poet. “Andrea del Sarto” (1855), 1. 97


  1. Make no effort to increase fortune, but spend the surplus each year for benevolent purposes. Cast aside business forever…get a thorough education.

Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) U.S. industrialist and philanthropist. Written in a New York hotel, the memorandum outlined his strategy for retiring from business in 1870, aged 35. In the event it was not until 1901 that he stopped actively acquiring wealth. Personal memorandum (1868)


  1. When you meet someone better than yourself, turn your thoughts to becoming his equal. When you meet someone not as good as you are, look within and examine your own self.

Confucius (551-479 B.C.) Chinese philosopher, administrator, and writer. Analects (500? B.C.)


  1. Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating the talents of those who work for us and pointing them towards a certain goal.

Walt Disney (1901-66) U.S. entertainment entrepreneur and founder of the Walt Disney Company. Quoted in The Disney Version (Richard Schickel; 1968)


  1. The great majority of executives tend to focus downward. They are occupied with efforts rather than with results…The effective executive focuses on contribution. He looks…outward towards goals.

Peter F. Drucker (b.1909) U.S. management consultant and academic. The Effective Executive (1967), ch. 3


  1. I will build a motor car for the great multitude…constructed of the best materials…so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one.

Henry Ford (1863-1947) U.S. industrialist, automobile manufacturer, and founder of Ford Motor Company. Quoted in “The Businessmen of the Century,” Fortune (November 22, 1999)


  1. Despair is the prize one pays for setting oneself an impossible aim.

Graham Greene (1904-91) British novelist. The Heart of the Matter (1948)


  1. Only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find his right road.

Dag Hammarskjold (1905-61) Swedish politician, writer, and UN Secretary-General. Marking (Leif Sjoberg and W> H. Auden, tr.; 1964)


  1. Our vision controls the way we think and, therefore, the way we act…the vision we have of our jobs determines what we do and the opportunities we see or don’t see.

Charles G. Koch (b.1935) U.S. management theorist, author, chairman and C.E.O. of Koch Industries. “The Future of American Business” (March 1996)


  1. The goal of a big business person should be to create a new organization that feels and operates like a smaller business, yet retains the resource advantages of big business.

John P. Kotter (b.1947) U.S. writer. The New Rules (1995)


  1. It is my hope someday to build houses in which our work-people will be able to live…and in which they will learn that there is more enjoyment in life than in the mere going to and returning from work.

Lord Leverhulme (1851-1925) British entrepreneur, philanthropist, and cofounder of Unilever. On cutting the first sod at the site of his new Port Sunlight factory; Port Sunlight subsequently became the home for his model workers’ community. Speech, Port Sunlight, near Liverpool, England (1888)


  1. If you would hit the mark, you must aim a little above it; Every arrow that flies feels the attraction of earth.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-82) U.S. poet, “Elegaic Verse” (1880)


  1. Commitment to objectives is a function to the rewards associated with their achievement.

Douglas McGregor (1906-64) U.S. academic, educator, and management theorist. The Human Side of Enterprise (1960)


  1. I believe a person of action…an administrator if you will, should put more weight on contemplation, should put more weight on establishing values in his mind, establishing goals and objectives for himself, for his organization and those he’s associated with.

Robert S. McNamara (b.1916) U.S. politician and president of the World Bank. Interview, Conservations with History series, Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley. “A Life in Public Service” (April 16, 1996)


  1. In the foundation and development of a successful enterprise there must be a single-minded pursuit of financial profit.
  2. Northcote Parkinson (1909-93) British political scientist and author. Quoted in Famous Financial Fiascoes (J. Train; 1995)


  1. Like many businessmen of genius he learned that free competition was wasteful, monopoly efficient. And so he simply set about achieving that efficient monopoly.

Mario Puzo (1920-99) U.S. novelist. Referring to Don Vito Corleone. The Godfather (1969), bk. 3, ch. 14


  1. If companies are in business solely to make money, you can’t fully trust whatever else they do or say…The whole sense of fun is lost, the whole sense of play, of derring-do.

Anita Roddick (b.1942) British entrepreneur and founder of The Body Shop. Body and Soul (cowritten with Russell Miller; 1991)

  1. If the business is to accomplish all that the Directors desire in combining social progress with commercial success, the entire body of workers must be animated by a common aim.

Joseph Rowntree (1836-1925) British confectionary entrepreneur, philanthropist, and social reformer. Editorial, Cocoa Works Magazine (1902)


  1. There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second.

Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946) British essayist and critic. “Life and Human Nature,” Afterthoughts (1931)


  1. We can chart the path to the future clearly and wisely only when we know the path which has led to the present.

Adlai E. Stevenson (1900-65) U.S. statesman and author. Speech, Richmond, Virginia (September 20, 1952)


  1. In an economy where for the first time jobs are looking people…ensuring that no American is left behind is as much an economic as a moral imperative.

Lawrence H. Summers (b.1954) U.S. president of Harvard University, economist, and politician. Speech, Washington, D.C. “Making the Right Choices for America’s Long-term Prosperity” (September 19, 2000)


  1. In the 21st century, successful companies will need to develop new approaches for addressing key social and environmental concerns. They will need to develop new products and to identify new markets. They will need to work with others in developing innovative and creative solutions.

Jeroen Van Der Veer (b.1947) Dutch Advisory Director of Unilever, vice chairman of the Royal Dutch/Shell Company. Speech, “Earning the License to Grow” (November 26, 1999)


  1. There will always be those who argue that the role of business is purely the narrow pursuit of profit, regardless of the consequences. This view has been around since the 19th century…Toda, it’s a curiously outdated and old-fashioned view.

Jeroen Van Der Veer (b.1947) Dutch Advisory Director of Unilever, vice chairman of the Royal Dutch/Shell Company. Speech, “Earning the License to Grow” (November 26, 1999)


  1. Fulfillment is the nuts and bolts of any mail-order or online business.

Lillian Vernon (b.1927) U.S. entrepreneur and C.E.O. of Lillian Vernon Corporation. “mentor FAQs,” Inc. (2000)


  1. The mantra of “execute, execute, execute, speed, speed, speed” seems to preclude any consideration of what we are speeding toward. That’s sort of like saying, “Don’t bother me with the facts-I’m busy executing them.”

Jay S. Walker, U.S. entrepreneur, founder of, and C.E.O. of Walker Digital Corporation. Interview, Strategy + Business (January-March 2000)


  1. Dreams have their place in management activity, ut they need to be kept severely under control.

Arnold Weinstock (1924-2002) British managing director of General Electric Company. Financial Times (London) (December 30, 1989)