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My 2014 End Of Year Top 10 + 1 Favorite Quotes On Innovation and Success

Each year I make it a point to collect quotes that either got my noodle working and/or gave me a good chuckle.

Though it was hard to narrow the field of choices down to just 10 (+1) quotes, I thought you might enjoy these and perhaps have a laugh or two.

Mindset matters
“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you are right.”
– Henry Ford

You are so right Mr. Ford. Having the right mindset to innovate is essential. How else would you face uncertainty if you couldn’t believe in yourself?

On change and irrelevance
“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”
– General Eric Shinseki, retired Chief of Staff, US Army

Best to accept the fact that change is the only constant these days. Otherwise you will find yourself a thing of the past in the not too distant future.

Putting innovation and uncertainty into perspective
“Both precision and certainty are false ideals. They are impossible to attain, and therefore, dangerously misleading if they are uncritically accepted as guides.”
– Karl Popper – Philosopher of Science

The only thing we know about the future is that it will be different than today in ways we could never have imagined.

Set the bar high enough to be great
“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”
– Michelangelo

If your goals are sure bets, I am willing to bet your innovation initiatives aren’t delivering any breakthroughs.

Words of wisdom on success and failure from a true winner
“Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”
-John Wooden

Amen Coach. If only the market wasn’t competitive, we could bask in the sun from our past success. Sorry but the competitors are out to eat your lunch and will innovate you out of business if you don’t keep moving forward with bold new products. And it takes courage to truly innovate and be bold, since we don’t know what we don’t know.

From the sage of all management sages on the purpose of business
“The sole purpose of a business is to create customers …. The pertinent question is not how to do things right but how to find the right things to do, and to concentrate resources and efforts on them.”
– Peter Drucker

Mr. Drucker was way ahead of his time. This quote is a good summary of what strategy is all about – making choices and focusing on them.

Mark Twain’s take on stretching the truth
“It’s not what people don’t know that scares me; but what they know that just ain’t so!”
– Mark Twain

Yup, often the loudest and those who appear to be ultra-confident – are the ones to be leery of. Always question assertions – because assertions are not facts . They could very well be lies! And always remember this little quote on ASSUME: “Don’t assume because it makes an ASS out of yoU and ME.

Good quote about planning or lack thereof
“Planning without action is futile, action without planning is fatal”
– Unknown

Reminds me of another quote I heard early on in my career: “Don’t confuse motion with progress.”

And what of our government?
“Giving money and power to government is like giving whisky and car keys to teenage boys.”
– PJ O’Rourke

Had to throw that one in. Given our national politics these days – PJ’s analogy unfortunately is spot on.

What would a list on innovation be without Mr. Jobs (not jobs to be done!)
“My model for business is The Beatles: They were four guys that kept each other’s negative tendencies in check; they balanced each other. And the total was greater than the sum of the parts. Great things in business are never done by one person, they are done by a team of people.”
-Steve Jobs

Mr. Jobs was known for his negative tendencies – yet he was able to create a team that achieved greatness – just like the Beatles. Who’s keeping rhythm and the beat on your team?

Okay the + 1 and the last quote is from yours truly – and you can quote me on this
“If we stick to doing only what we think we can do, we may very well find ourselves obsolete and irrelevant in the not too distant future.”
– Kevin B. McGourty

I guess this was my mash up from the quotes of Ford, Shinseki, and Wooden. Mastering our mindset, adapting and learning are “the” essential keys to innovation and business execution.

What’s your favorite quote from the year 2014? Love to hear it.

Until the next time – have a happy holiday and a sensational new year!

 

Kevin

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