Thursday, October 4, 2012


A collection of thoughts from interviews conducted by Adam Bryant for the New York Times’ Corner Office.

…if you’re going to lead an organization, you need to have some sense of what everyone does every day.
James E. Rogers, Duke Energy

It’s not how much they (your employees) respect you that is most important. It’s actually how much you respect them. It’s everything.
Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation SKG

I’m not looking for a mirror image of me. I’m just looking for somebody who gets turned on about something. If you find that kind of person, then these are the people you want to climb mountains with.
Joseph J. Plumeri, Willis Group Holdings

Fear is not a motivating factor. You might be able to get a little bit more out of someone in the short term, but you will completely erode your business and your culture in the long term. You’re going to lose all your good people. You’re not going to have people tell you the truth, and it becomes the tradition.
Mindy Grossman, HSN, Inc.

People leave companies for two reasons. One, they don’t feel appreciated. And two, they don’t get along with their boss. We try to develop coaches instead of bosses.
David C. Novak, Yum Brands

I value a true meritocracy. The only way people will have a trust to give their all to their job is if they feel like their contribution is recognized and valued. If they see somebody else higher above them just because of a good resume, or they see somebody else promoted who they don’t think deserves it, you’re done.
Mark Pincus, Zynga

It’s one thing to say you’re inclusive, but it’s a whole other thing to be inclusive.
Susan Docherty, General Motors

(I learned) how much of what comes out of corporate offices is of absolutely no purpose, and how far removed some people are from the front lines.
Andrew Cosslett, InterContinental Hotels Group

…a lot of decisions (are) made behind closed doors and dictated to the staff without any bridging of the feasibility gap…you can’t disenfranchise people from the process by just giving them orders.
Don’t hire jerks, no matter how talented.
I don’t believe that creativity is a department. It’s cost of entry.
Michael Lebowitz, Big Spaceship

It’s too easy to let a person with great presentation skills buffalo you into thinking they are better or more knowledgeable than someone who might not necessary have that particular set of skills…(don’t) let the veneer distract you from the substance.
Robert W. Selander, MasterCard

It takes a lot of spine to tell the truth, especially in a large organization, where obfuscation is a political skill…if something goes wrong, it’s my problem; if something goes right, it’s their success.
Pamela Fields, Stetson

Different people have their own formula for success. I look for why they are successful, not just whether they are successful.
Richard Fein, Royal Caribbean Cruises

…avoid unnecessary process and hierarchy---things that might frustrate employees.
…people don’t perceive legitimacy from rank. They perceive legitimacy from how good you are.
David Sacks, Yammer

You have to make sure you never confuse the hierarchy that you need for managing complexity with the respect that people deserve. Because that’s where a lot of organizations go off track, confusing respect and hierarch, and thinking that low on hierarchy means low respect; high on the hierarchy means high respect.
Mark B. Templeton, Citrix

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