Really liked this quote by Frederick Smith of FedEx from a CNNMoney article on 10 Fortune 500 Military CEOs:
"Leadership is simply the ability of an individual to coalesce the efforts of other individuals toward achieving common goals. It boils down to looking after your people and ensuring that, from top to bottom, everyone feels part of the team."
Concise and accurate.
A friend passed along a quote the other day:
So I just picked up this book today....and found this quote in the forward: "The truth of the matter is, if you need to “save” your job, I can’t help you. This book isn’t about struggling to maintain the level of mediocrity required not to get fired. It’s about being awesome. It’s about winning. You don’t win a race by trying not to lose. And you don’t win at life by trying not to suck. Fortunately, the content of the book has never been about trying not to suck. I can’t think that way, and neither should you."
Steve Aschburner's article on Mike Miller's surprising drop in productivity contains a nice gem from Don Nelson:
"My first years with Nash, he wanted to be John Stockton,'' Nelson said. "He wanted to get 10 points and 15 assists. I wanted him to get 20 and 10. I felt he could score 20 points a game, but it took me a year to get him to. I ended up having to get angry at him. He was getting booed and he stopped looking for his shot and the team was going poorly, and finally we just had it out after a game.
"I basically told him he had to do what I asked him to do. He had abilities he hadn't even scratched the surface on, and he turned out to be an All-Star for me [in Dallas] and an MVP [in Phoenix]. I just didn't want him to only pass. He was my best outside shooter and he would never take an outside shot.''
Nash averaged 7.9 and 8.6 points in his first two seasons with the Mavericks, then bumped to 15.6 in 2000-01. He was at 15.5 (2004-05) and 18.8 (2005-06) in his two NBA MVP seasons for the Suns.
"You want them to max out on their abilities,'' Nelson said. "You want players to do what they do, if they're good at it. They can work on what they're not good at it. But each guy has his strength, and he's got to go to that.''
I think the same is true of any successful team environment: get people to max out their abilities and let them develop and work on what they're not good at; place people in position to succeed and you can drive the success of the individuals and also the team.
From an SI article on the success of the San Antonio Spurs, a quote from Jacob Riis which coach Greg Popovich uses to help his players gain perspective:
"When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before."
I'm not a metal fan, but I like this one.
"We Need To Let Metal And Odin Catch The Kids Before Jesus Does!" -- HELHEIM
An article in the April issue of MSDN magazine features an interview with Bjarne Stroustrup, the man that invented C++. There's an interesting quote that quite eloquently and succintly sums up my distaste for Windows Workflow Foundation and BizTalk (at least the versions that I've worked with).
When asked about his feelings on IDEs and how they should (or should not) support languages and the role of the IDE in software development, Stroustrup responsed:
I'm not a heavy IDE user. I appreciate a responsive IDE editor with understanding of my language, but I also want to be able to work without an IDE. My desire for portability of code plays a role here. With C++, I want to be able to understand my system from just the source code in the source files. I actively dislike IDE mechanisms that involve trasformations or generation that cannot be represented as code fit for human consumption.
While WF does certainly generate code in the background, it's not what I would consider "code fit for human consumption". It's messy and aesthetically unpleasing (so far as code goes). I always inevitably end up spending quite a bit of time cleaning up the mess left by the code generation engine; there's an odd disconnect between the cleanly delineated visual design of the workflow and the mess of code that gets generated just for a dependency property.
In celebration of this day, I think it's worth the time to listen to a recording of his historic speech.
Could the civil rights movement have had a better, more visionary, and stronger leader than MLK? It's hard to believe so. Let's hope that his message doesn't die and lose it's power with today's generation.
I often find myself wondering whom in our time can even be compared to the great people of years past. Who will we remember as "great" in the decades to come? It often seems that such people are increasingly rare these days...
I leave you with a passage from his speech which resonates with me:
But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
From November 20 issue of Time:
I also am in favor of toppling dictators, establishing democracy and watching it spread painlessly throughout every region where there is no experience of it. Not only that: I am in favor of turning sand into ice cream and guaranteeing a cone to every child in the Middle East. But you can't turn sand into ice cream. That is not a defect in the execution of the idea. It is a defect in the idea itself.
-- Michael Kinsley