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Management Quotes

  • "Most managers only measure outputs, not inputs, which is like telling a Little League team to score more runs, rather than actually explaining how to swing a bat and make contact with the ball. Similarly, most companies measure traffic, revenue or earnings, without considering how to improve the company at an atomic level: how to make a meeting better, or an engineer more productive."
    James Slavet, US venture capitalist
    Source: Forbes (December 13, 2011)
  • "A book called Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead, written by a couple of high-flying experts in entrepreneurialism, is about to be published … There is, it seems, a desperate hunger among business types for some code that will help them make more money. In recent years, an addiction to metaphor has been in evidence—businesses only understand how it works through the prism of an entirely different world. Before writers raided the hippie archive, there were management manuals based on Greek mythology, on classical history, on war. Next it will be the natural world … This week a collection of lessons from nature will be published under the title Smart Swarms."
    Terence Blacker (1948–), British author and journalist
    Source: Independent (London) (August 3, 2010)
  • "Management theory is like Marxism in the last years of the Soviet Union—nobody believes it, but everybody must pretend that they do."
    Bryan Appleyard (1951–), British journalist
    Source: Sunday Times (London) (July 19, 2009)
  • "The management model that has run us for the past 30 years, like the discredited economic theories … to which it cringes, is bust, dead, finished—a mortal danger to us and the planet."
    Simon Caulkin, British business journalist
    Source: Observer (London) (June 14, 2009)
  • "The edifice of management had been turned upside down—it was shareholders who had become monarch, their courtiers lavishly rewarded managers whose MBA courses had taught them to manage deals and numbers, not things or people. Management had suffered a reverse takeover. Finance ousted reality, cost ousted value, the means became the end."
    Simon Caulkin, British business journalist
    Source: Observer (London) (June 14, 2009)
  • "Locke defined a madman as someone “reasoning correctly from erroneous premises.” For Einstein, madness was repeatedly doing the same thing and hoping for a different result. The worst of modern management—and, alas, that often seems most of it—manages to combine the two."
    Simon Caulkin, British business journalist
    Source: Observer (London) (April 26, 2009)
  • "The truth is that much conventional management is central planning in Western disguise. This is why most companies are zombie-like in their structural and strategic similarity. This is why, too, they are unable to learn."
    Simon Caulkin, British business journalist
    Source: Observer (London) (February 15, 2009)
  • "There are three secrets to managing. The first secret is have patience. The second is be patient. And the third most important secret is patience."
    Chuck Tanner (19282011), US baseball player and manager
    Source: Quoted in Tales from the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates (John McCollister, 2005)
  • "Management means, in the last analysis, the substitution of thought for brawn and muscle, of knowledge for folklore and superstition, and of cooperation for force."
    Peter F. Drucker (19092005), US management consultant and academic
    Source: Quoted in The Financial Times Handbook of Management (Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove, 2004)
  • "Good management to Wall Street means nothing more than a company with three consecutive quarters of rising earnings. Make it four quarters and you have great management."
    Ralph Wanger (1925–), US investor
    Source: Quoted in 500 of the Most Witty, Acerbic, and Erudite Things Ever Said About Money (Philip Jenks, 2002)
  • "The first steps to becoming a really great manager are simply common sense; but common sense is not very common."
    Gerald M. Blair (1959–), US writer
    Source: What Makes a Great Manager (2000)
  • "Controlled unreasonableness."
    Gerry Robinson (1948–), Irish former chairman of Granada Television and of the Arts Council of England
    Referring to his personal management style.
    Source: Management Today (April 1999)
  • "Responsibility without control is at the core of management."
    Paul Corrigan (1948–), British author
    Source: Shakespeare on Management (1999)
  • "Ultimately, the job of the manager is to get ordinary people to create extraordinary results."
    Christopher Bartlett (1945–), Australian business writer
    Source: The Individualised Corporation (cowritten with Sumantra Ghoshal, 1997)
  • "In large organizations, middle managers serve the purpose of relaying information up and down—orders down, numbers up. But with the new information technologies and more efficient forms of work, their purpose dwindles."
    James Champy (1942–), US business executive
    Source: Quoted in the New York Times (January 7, 1996)
  • "Traditional management structures were devised when information was a scarce commodity, so that knowledge about how to run the business could be communicated layer by layer."
    Raymond W. Smith (1937–), US former CEO and chairman of Bell Atlantic
    Source: Speech (October 17, 1995)
  • "This blight is management—the dreaded four Ms, male, middle class, middle-aged and mediocre."
    Janet Street-Porter (1946–), British broadcaster
    Referring to television management in the United Kingdom.
    Source: MacTaggart Lecture, Edinburgh Television Festival, UK (August 1995)
  • "Management, a science? Of course not, it's just a wastepaper basket full of recipes which provided the dish of the day during a few years of plenty and economic growth. Now the recipes are inappropriate and the companies which persist in following them will disappear."
    Léon Courville (1945–), Canadian banker
    Source: Quoted in The Unconscious Civilization (John Ralston Saul, 1995)
  • "We have a technique at Hewlett-Packard for helping managers and supervisors know their people and understand the work their people are doing … Management by Walking About."
    David Packard (19121996), US entrepreneur and cofounder of Hewlett-Packard
    Source: The HP Way (1995)
  • "A couple of hours in a hot kitchen can teach you as much about management as the latest books on re-engineering or total quality management."
    Tom Peters (1942–), US management consultant and author
    Source: “The Way the Cookie Crumbles” (1995)
  • "Management today is reactive behavior. You put your hand on a hot stove and yank it off. A cat would know to do as much."
    W. Edwards Deming (19001993), US consultant and author
    Source: Quoted in BusinessWeek (January 10, 1994)
  • "The manager's job is to thrive in a chaotic world he cannot control. He is at last reconciled to being, openly, an intermediary."
    Theodore Zeldin (1933–), British academic, author, and historian
    Source: An Intimate History of Humanity (1994)
  • "He not only conducts his version of Beethoven and Bach, but scores it as he goes along."
    Tom Peters (1942–), US management consultant and author
    Referring to the management style of Cable Network News.
    Source: Liberation Management (1992)
  • "I've spent 30 years going round factories. When you know something's wrong, nine times out of ten it's the management … people aren't being led right. And bad leaders invariably blame the people."
    Sir John Harvey-Jones (19242008), British management adviser, author, and chairman of ICI
    Source: Interview, Daily Telegraph (London) (March 24, 1990)
  • "A manager is an assistant to his men."
    Thomas J. Watson, Sr (18741956), US founder and president of IBM
    Source: Quoted in Father, Son & Co.: My Life at IBM and Beyond (Thomas J. Watson, Jr, and Peter Petre, 1990)
  • "Frightened, nervous managers use thick, convoluted planning books and busy slides filled with everything they've known since childhood."
    Jack Welch (1935–), US former CEO and chairman of General Electric
    Source: Harvard Business Review (September–October 1989)
  • "Society has become unmanageable as a result of management."
    Henry Mintzberg (1939–), Canadian academic and management theorist
    Source: Mintzberg on Management (1989)
  • "Management is more fun, more creative, more personal, more political and more intuitive than any textbook."
    Charles Handy (1932–), Irish business executive and author
    Source: Gods of Management (1986)
  • "The conventional definition of management is getting work done through people, but real management is developing people through work."
    Hasan Abedi (19221995), Pakistani banker and president of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, Luxembourg
    Source: Leaders (July 1984)
  • "Management must manage!"
    Harold S. Geneen (19101997), US telecommunications entrepreneur and CEO of ITT
    Source: Managing (co-written with Alvin Moscow, 1984)
  • "Top management is supposed to be a tree full of owls … hooting when management heads into the wrong part of the forest. I’m still unpersuaded they even know where the forest is."
    Robert Townsend (19201998), US business executive and author
    Source: Further up the Organization (1984)
  • "The key managerial processes are enormously complex and mysterious, drawing on the vaguest of information and using the least articulated of mental processes."
    Henry Mintzberg (1939–), Canadian academic and management theorist
    Source: Harvard Business Review (July–August 1976)
  • "Nobody is sure anymore who really runs the company (not even the people who are credited with running it), but the company does run."
    Joseph Heller (19231999), US novelist
    Source: Something Happened (1974)
  • "Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done."
    Peter F. Drucker (19092005), US management consultant and academic
    Source: Management: Tasks, Responsibilities and Practises (1973)
  • "A good manager is a man who isn't worried about his own career but rather the careers of those who work for him."
    H. S. M. Burns (19001971), British oil industry executive, geophysicist, and president of Shell Oil Company
    Source: Quoted in Men at the Top (Osborn Elliott, 1959)
  • "Bad administration, to be sure, can destroy good policy; but good administration can never save bad policy."
    Adlai E. Stevenson (19001965), US statesman and author
    Source: Speech, Los Angeles (September 11, 1952)
  • "No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it. It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human beings."
    Peter F. Drucker (19092005), US management consultant and academic
    Source: Big Business (1947)
  • "At best we live by homely proverbs, at worst we live by pompous inanities."
    Herbert A. Simon (19162001), US political scientist and economist
    Source: Administrative Behavior (1947)
  • "Of all business activities, 99% are routine … The entire 100% can be handled by managing the 1% of exceptions."
    Alfred P. Sloan (18751966), US president of General Motors
    Source: “The Most Important Things I Learned About Management,” System (August 1924)
  • "To be dilatory about giving orders, but to expect absolute punctuality, that is called being a tormentor."
    Confucius (551479 bc), Chinese philosopher, administrator, and writer
    Source: Analects (500? bc)
  • "Managing is getting paid for home runs someone else hits."
    Casey Stengel (18901975), US baseball player and manager
    Source: Attributed

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