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People and Relationships

1. Nobody knew why he wanted to go to the expense of a telephone. You could hear his voice from the ferry building to Twin Peaks.

Anonymous. Said by a colleague, referring to Amadeo Peter Giannini, U.S. founder of the Bank of America. “The Story of an Unusual Career,” Forbes (November 1923)


2. If Thomas Edison Had gone to business school, we would all be reading by larger candles.

Anonymous. Quoted in What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School (Mark H. McCormack; 1984)


3. Purpose to an Englishman any principle, or any instrument, however admirable and you will observe that the whole effort of the English mind is directed to find a difficulty, a defect, or an impossibility in it.

Charles Babbage (1792-1871) British mathematician and inventor. Referring to the British inability to support inventors. Quoted in The Code Book (Simon Singh; 1999)


4. We have got to take the gloves off and have a bare-knuckle fight on some of the things we have to do, because we have to have an effective and prosperous industry.

Terence Norman Beckett (b.1923) British business executive. Said as director-general of the CBI (confederation of British Industry). Speech, CBI Conference (1981)


5. When people are in unfamiliar environments and when they behave in unpredictable ways they are likely to lose control.

Rabi S. Bhagat (b.1950) Indian business author. “Cross-cultural Training in Organizational Contexts,” Handbook of Intercultural Training (coedited with Dan Landis, co-written with Kristin O. Prien; 1996)


6. Everyone has peak performance potential. You just need to know where they are coming from and meet them there.

Kenneth Blanchard (b.1939) U.S. management theorist and author. Leadership and The One Minute Manager (2000)


7. Everyone is a potential winner. Some people are disguised as losers, don’t let their appearances fool you.

Kenneth Blanchard (b.1939) U.S. management theorist and author. Leadership and The One Minute Manager (2000)


8. The best minute I spend is the one I invest in people.

Kenneth Blanchard (b.1939) U.S. management theorist and author. Leadership and The One Minute Manager (2000)


9. Develop the business around the people; build it, don’t buy it; and, then, be the best.

Richard Branson (b.1950) British entrepreneur, business executive and founder of the Virgin Group. Speech to the Institute of Directors, London. “Growing Bigger While Still Staying Small” (May 1993)


10. Distinguish between the person and the behavior or performance.

Stephen Covey (b.1932) U.S. writer and psychologist. Thirty Methods of Influence (1991)


11. Involve people in meaningful projects.

Stephen Covey (b.1932) U.S. writer and psychologist. Thirty Methods of Influence (1991)


12. Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on the earth. I said then and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it.

Eugene V. Debs (1855-1926) U.S. politician and labor union leader. Statement to the court after being convicted of violating the Sedition Act, Cleveland, Ohio (September 18, 1918)


13. Edison didn’t invent the light bulb…Edison invented the electric industry.

Peter F. Drucker (b.1909) U.S. management consultant and academic. Interview, Hot Wired (August 1996)


14. There is no more inflammatory issue than large-scale immigration, especially from countries of different cultures and religions.

Peter F. Drucker (b.1909) U.S. management consultant and academic. Management Challenges for the 21st Century (1999)


15. It is given to few persons to transform. Yet this was done by the late Madam C. J. Walker.

  1. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963) U.S. historian and politician. 1919. Quoted in Madam C. J. Walker (M.C. Brown; 1996)


16. People are now becoming the most expensive optional component of the production process and technology is becoming the cheapest.

Michael Dunkerley, British author. The Jobless Economy (1996)


17. The genius of any slave system is found in the dynamics which isolate slaves from each other, obscure the reality of a common condition, and make united rebellion against the oppressor inconceivable.

Andrea Dworkin (b.1946) U.S. feminist writer. Our Blood (1976)


18. No organizational action has more power for motivating employee behavior change than feedback from credible work associates.

Mark R. Edwards (b.1949) U.S. writer. 360 Degree Feedback (co-written with Ann J. Ewen; 1996)


19. A woman may see things that somebody who’s just crunching numbers may not. It’s almost as if women have a more general, macro view.

Grace Fey, U.S. vice president and director of Frontier Capital Management. Quoted in Women of the Street (Sue Herera; 1997)


20. A normalizing society is the historical outcome of a technology of power centred on life.

Michel Foucault (1926-84) French philosopher. The History of Sexuality (1976)


21. The glad hand is alright in sunshine, but it’s the helping hand on a dark day that folks remember to the end of time.

Amadeo Giannini (1870-1949) U.S. banker and founder of Bank of America. “The Citizen” (October 1926)


22. Just look at him. He runs his company with five people in an office the size of a closet.

Katharine Graham (1917-2001) U.S. newspaper publisher and owner of Washington Post. Referring to Warren Buffett. U.S. News & World Report (1986)


23. I want to make people feel intensively alive. I’d rather have them against me than indifferent.

Martha Graham (1894-1991) U.S. dancer and choreographer. Interview (1960)


24. Bill Gates follows somebody’s tail lights for a while then zooms past. Soon there will be no tail lights left.

Andrew S. Grove (b.1936) U.S. entrepreneur, author and chairman of Intel Corporation. Business Week (June 1994)


25. Most individuals, by the time they reach maturity, have built up an array of concepts which they use to interpret the data they observe.

Charles Handy (b.1932) British business executive and author. Understanding Organisations (1993)


26. We are self-activating organisms and can to some degree, control our own destiny and our own responses to pressures…we can select our goals and choose the paths toward them.

Charles Handy (b.1932) British business executive and author. Understanding Organisations (1993)


27. Every falling-away from species virtue, every crime against one’s own nature, every evil act, every one without exception records itself in our unconscious, and makes us despise ourselves.

Abraham Maslow (1908-70) U.S. behavioral psychologist. Toward a Psychology of Being (1968)


28. Ordinary people may not understand the meaning of democracy but they’ve a passionate regard for fair play.

Robert Maxwell (1923-91) British publisher, business executive and politician. Quoted in Maxwell (Joe Haines; 1988)


29. We don’t have the slightest idea of what people are going to buy.

Rupert Murdoch (b,1931) U.S. C.E.O. of News Corporation. Business Week (March 1994)


30. You’re useless in business with just an academic background. You’re also useless if you spend too much time in the military.

Ken Olsen (b.1926) U.S. computer designer and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation. Quoted in In the Company of Giants (Rama dev Jager; 1997)


31. Resentment or grudges do no harm to the person against whom you hold these feelings but everyday and every night of your life, they are eating at you.

Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993) U.S. religious leader. Positive Thinking Every Day (1995)


32. The excellent companies treat the rank and file as the root source of quality and productivity gain.

Tom Peters (b.1942) U.S. management consultant and author. In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies (cowritten with Robert H. Water, JR.; 1988)


33. Successful organizations understand the importance of implementation, not just strategy and moreover, recognize the crucial role of their people in this process.

Jeffrey Pfeffer (b.1946) U.S. writer. The Human Equation (1998)


34. The essence of high performance work arrangements is reliance on all organizational members for their ideas, intelligence and commitment to making the organization successful.

Jeffrey Pfeffer (b.1946) U.S. writer. The Human Equation (1998)


35. Human capital grows two ways: When the organization uses more of what people know and when more people know more stuff that is useful to the organization.

Thomas A. Stewart (b.1948) U.S. journalist and author. “Brain Power: Who Owns it…How They Profit From It,” Fortune (1997)


36. I was adopted myself. I know the importance of what family means. There are so many kids out there in foster care who don’t have a permanent home. You lose your childhood so fast. You realize how important it is to have that home.

Dave Thomas (1932-2002) U.S. founder of Wendy’s. “Dave Thomas’ Beef: ‘Nobody Thinks about It’,” Business Week (2000)


37. By a career-resilient workforce, we mean a group of employees who not only are dedicated to the idea of continuous learning but also stand ready to reinvent themselves to keep pace with change.

Robert H. Waterman, JR. (b.1936) U.S. consultant and author. “Toward a Career-Resilient Workforce,” Harvard Business Review (co-written with J.H. Waterman and B. A. Collard; 1994)


38. The point of work-out is to give people better jobs. When people see that their ideas count, their dignity is raised. Instead of feeling numb, like robots, they feel important.

Jack Welch (b.1935) U.S. former chairman and C.E.O. of General Electric. “Jack Welch’s Lessons for Success,” Fortune (Noel Tichy and Stratford Sherman; 1993)


39. We cannot hide behind our boundaries, or hold onto the belief that we can survive alone.

Meg Wheatley (b.1941) U.S. academic, management theorist and president of the Berkana Institute. Leadership and the New Science Revised (1999)