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Change Quotes

  • "Unless the company becomes obsessed with constant change for the better, gradual change for the worse usually goes unnoticed."
    Vineet Nayar (1962–), Indian businessman, CEO of HCL Technologies
    Source: Employees First, Customer Second: Turning Conventional Management Upside Down (2010)
  • "So many companies adhere to the Zimbabwe school of change management—altering course only after ruin, by coup d’etat."
    Simon Caulkin, British business journalist
    Source: Observer (London) (February 15, 2009)
  • "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been."
    Wayne Gretzky (1961–), Canadian ice-hockey player
    Source: Quoted in How to Work for an Idiot (John Hoover, 2004)
  • "The future is already upon us, it is just unevenly distributed."
    William Gibson (1948–), US-Canadian science-fiction writer
    Source: Quoted in the Economist (London) (June 23, 2000)
  • "Technology changes. Economics does not."
    Carl Shapiro (1955–), US academic and author
    Source: Information Rules (cowritten with Hal L. Varian, 1999)
  • "If the 1980s were about quality and the 1990s were about reengineering, then the 2000s will be about velocity."
    Bill Gates (1955–), US entrepreneur, cofounder and chairman of Microsoft
    Source: Business @ the Speed of Thought (cowritten with Collins Hemingway, 1999)
  • "This extraordinary arrogance that change must start at the top is a way of guaranteeing that change will not happen in most companies."
    Gary Hamel (1954–), US academic, business writer, and consultant
    Source: Interview, Strategy + Business (October–December 1997)
  • "It is extremely important that you show some insensitivity to your past in order to show the proper respect for the future."
    Roberto Goizueta (19311997), US CEO of Coca-Cola
    Source: Quoted in Fortune (December 1995)
  • "When the rate of change outside exceeds the rate of change inside, the end is in sight."
    Jack Welch (1935–), US former CEO and chairman of General Electric
    Source: Inc. (March 1995)
  • "When you are through changing, you are through."
    Percy Barnevik (1941–), Swedish former CEO of ABB
    Source: Quoted in Financial Times Handbook of Management (Stuart Crainer, ed, 1995)
  • "It is idle to speak of organizational transformation without individuals being transformed, especially the leader."
    S. K. Chakraborty (1957–), Indian academic
    Source: Ethics in Management: Vedantic Perspectives (1995)
  • "Anyone in a large organization who thinks major change is impossible should probably get out."
    John P. Kotter (1947–), US writer and academic
    Source: The New Rules (1995)
  • "Notions of property, value, ownership, and the nature of wealth itself are changing more fundamentally than at any time since the Sumerians first poked cuneiform into wet clay and called it stored grain … few people are aware of the enormity of this shift and fewer of them are lawyers or public officials."
    John Perry Barlow (1947–), US academic, lyricist, and writer
    Former songwriter for the Grateful Dead, Barlow was the first to use William Gibson's science-fiction term cyberspace to describe the global electronic social space.
    Source: “The Economy of Ideas,” Wired (March 1994)
  • "Management that wants to change an institution must first show that it loves that institution."
    Sir John Tusa (1936–), British broadcaster and former managing director of the Barbican
    Source: Observer (London) (February 1994)
  • "From now on, change will be the constant. The individuals best prepared to succeed are those who can learn, modify, and grow, regardless of age, experience, or ego."
    Danny Goodman (1950–), US writer
    Source: Living at Light Speed: Your Survival Guide to Life on the Information Superhighway (1994)
  • "To succeed at re-engineering, you have to be a missionary, a motivator, and a leg breaker."
    Michael Hammer (19482008), US author and academic
    Source: Fortune (August 1993)
  • "Unless companies change these rules, any superficial re-organizations they perform will be no more effective than dusting the furniture in Pompeii."
    Michael Hammer (19482008), US author and academic
    Source: Re-engineering the Corporation (cowritten with James Champy, 1993)
  • "I want to put a ding in the universe."
    Steve Jobs (19552011), US cofounder, chairman, and CEO of both Apple and Pixar
    Source: Quoted in Made in the USA (Phil Patton, 1992)
  • "It isn't the changes that do you in, it's the transition."
    Daniel Webster (17821852), US statesman, orator, and lawyer
    Source: Managing Transitions (1991)
  • "If it ain't broke, break it."
    Richard Pascale (1938–), US academic and author
    Source: Managing on the Edge (1990)
  • "The incremental approach to change is effective when what you want is more of what you've already got."
    Richard Pascale (1938–), US academic and author
    Source: Managing on the Edge (1990)
  • "Revitalizing General Motors is like teaching an elephant to tap dance. You find the sensitive spot and start poking."
    H. Ross Perot (1930–), US entrepreneur and presidential candidate
    Source: International Management (February 1987)
  • "All great change in business has come from outside the firm, not from inside."
    Peter F. Drucker (19092005), US management consultant and academic
    Source: Quoted in “Seeing Things As They Really Are,” Forbes (Robert Lenzner and Stephen S. Johnson, 1987)
  • "Open the windows, let in the year we’re living in."
    Kitty D'Alessio, US business executive
    Referring to the conflict between tradition and modernity after she succeeded company founder Coco Chanel to become president of Chanel, Inc.
    Source: New York Times (1985)
  • "Better never means better for everyone … It always means worse, for some."
    Margaret Atwood (1939–), Canadian poet and novelist
    Source: The Handmaid's Tale (1985)
  • "Changing the direction of a large company is like trying to turn an aircraft carrier. It takes a mile before anything happens. And if it was a wrong turn, getting back on course takes even longer."
    Al Ries (1926–), US marketing strategist and author, founder and chairman of Ries & Ries consultancy
    Source: Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind (cowritten with Jack Trout, 1980)
  • "Most of us are about as eager to be changed as we were to be born, and go through our changes in a similar state of shock."
    James Baldwin (19241987), US writer
    Source: “Every Good-Bye Ain’t Gone,” New York (December 19, 1977)
  • "If I were to give off-the-cuff advice to anyone trying to institute change, I would say, “How clear is the metaphor?”"
    Warren Bennis (1925–), US educator and writer
    Source: “Why Leaders Can’t Lead,” Amacom (1976)
  • "Future shock is the disorientation that affects an individual, a corporation, or a country when he or it is overwhelmed by change and the prospect of change … we are in collision with tomorrow."
    Alvin Toffler (1928–), US social commentator
    Source: Observer (London) (1972)
  • "Change means movement. Movement means friction."
    Saul Alinsky (19091972), US activist
    Source: Rules for Radicals (1971)
  • "Change is the process by which the future invades our lives."
    Alvin Toffler (1928–), US social commentator
    Source: Future Shock (1970)
  • "Change is not merely necessary to life, it is life."
    Alvin Toffler (1928–), US social commentator
    Source: Future Shock (1970)
  • "If we want everything to remain as it is, it will be necessary for everything to change."
    Giuseppe di Lampedusa (18961957), Italian writer
    Source: The Leopard (1955), ch. 1
  • "I never think of the future. It comes soon enough."
    Albert Einstein (18791955), German-born US physicist
    Source: Interview (December 1930)
  • "The inevitability of gradualness."
    Sidney Webb (Lord Passfield) (18591947), British economist, historian, and social reformer
    Source: Speech, Labour Party Conference (1920)
  • "The more things change, the more they are the same."
    Alphonse Karr (18081890), French author
    Source: Les Guêpes (1849)
  • "The reformer has enemies in all who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order."
    Niccolò Machiavelli (14691527), Italian historian, statesman, and political philosopher
    Source: The Prince (1513)
  • "It is only the very wisest and the very stupidest who cannot change."
    Confucius (551479 bc), Chinese philosopher, administrator, and writer
    Source: Analects (500? bc)
  • "The new environment dictates two rules: first, everything happens faster; second, anything that can be done will be done, if not by you, then by someone else, somewhere."
    Andrew S. Grove (1936–), Hungarian-born US entrepreneur, author, and former chairman of Intel Corporation
    Source: Attributed
  • "Let chaos reign, then rein in chaos."
    Andrew S. Grove (1936–), Hungarian-born US entrepreneur, author, and former chairman of Intel Corporation
    Source: Attributed
  • "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten."
  • "To change and to improve are two different things."
    German proverb
  • "When the wind of change blows, some build walls, others build windmills."
  • "If you want truly to understand something, try to change it."
    Kurt Lewin (18901947), US author
    Source: Attributed

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