A Couple More Quotes on Change

I’m re-reading Persuasion Engineering by Richard Bandler and John LA Valle, after recently taking an “influence and persuasion” training.

I’ve always enjoyed Bandlers work. I saw him speak once and he was entertaining and intense. He is definitely the source of a lot of good quotes on change.

Two of them I hit tonight:

One thing that we learn quickly is a rut.

– Richard Bandler

I really like this one from Virginia Satir:

The will to survive is not the strongest in human beings. The strongest instinct in human beings is to do what is familiar.

– Virginia Satir

I’m on a change kick lately. I think I’m taking a break from everything else, finishing this book, and then hitting “The Art of War by Sun Tzu, which is another book I’ve wanted to reread for a while.

Machiavelli Quote on Change

I heard this Machiavelli quote on the latest edition of the Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leadership Podcast, which was a talk given by Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of HP:

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.

– Niccolo Machiavelli

This was an excellent lecture and this quote really stuck with me. Change is hard, people will resist – and in many cases the person who takes the lead in introducing change is seen as an adversary who is trying to “take things away”.

The main thing being taken away, I think, is “comfort”.

Quotiki: A Social Site for Quote Man

As I was upgrading our Subversion software to 1.4.2 yesterday once everyone had left for the holidays (I’m really trying to keep up on this), I started browsing through LifeHacker, a site that Jason Calacanis has mentioned quite a few times on the Gillmor Gang and on his personal blog.

While browsing the site, I came across an article on Quotiki, a social quotes site.

Now anyone who knows me knows I love to collect quotes, so this site has me absolutely fascinated. Its a Digg like site where readers submit quotes and vote on them. For each quote, you can tag them, and it automatically provides “further reading” recommendations for the originator of the quote via Amazon.com.

The really fascinating thing to me is thinking about how the simplest idea, like making a web site for quotes, can keep my attention for so long. Rather than a web site completely built around the idea of making money, this site peaks my interest as a quote freak and gives me the opportunity to buy related materials from Amazon if I choose to do so. Rather than feeling that the money is being ripped from my wallet, I can buy something if I choose to if it is relevant to me at the time. Chances are, with someone like me who is fascinated by other peoples viewpoints and small glimpses of brilliance, the time will come where they will probably get one or more sales out of me just because I’m there doing something I enjoy.

The real question to wrestle with this is how you apply the concept in a corporate environment, making your customers feel that they are getting value out of you without making them feel like you are just after their piece of your total “revenue dollars”.

This is what I’ll probably spend the rest of Thanksgiving break thinking about. I’m that pathetic.

Quote Man

Photo by rbieber

Over the recent months I’ve started grabbing quotes I run across and posting them on my door. I’ve received some comments on them, but they are there mostly to help me keep perspective.

The picture is kind of hard to read unless you blow it up, so here are the quotes:

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.
– Frank Zappa

The better adapted you are, the less adaptable you tend to be.
– Gerald Weinberg from his book, Secrets of Consulting

Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations that we can perform without thinking about them.
– Alfred North Whitehead

The others are a pretty funny Dilbert cartoon on agile programming, and The Ten Commandments of Egoless Programming from Weinbergs book The Psychology of Computer Programming, of which I really like this one:

The only true power comes from knowledge, not from position – Knowledge engenders authority and authority engenders respect – so if you want respect in an egoless environment – cultivate knowledge.

Lean Principles from the Source

I’ve started reading The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles From The World’s Greatest Manufacturer by Jeffrey Liker. I’ve figured that as my curiosity peaks on Lean Development and Lean Principles in general, I might as well go to the source.

Chapter One opens with a quote from Fujio Cho, the president of Toyota Motor Corporation from 2002. I read the quote and thought I’d post it up here.

We place the highest value on actual implementation and taking action. There are many things one doesn’t understand and therefore, we ask them why don’t you just go ahead and take action; try to do something? You realize how little you know and you face your own failures and you simply can correct those failures and redo it again and at the second trial you realize another mistake or another thing you didn’t like so you can redo it once again. So by constant improvement, or should I say, the improvement based upon action, one can rise up to the higher level of practice and knowledge.

Toyota is thought of as one of the most process oriented companies around, and yet they still acknowledge that you do not know everything up front and build that into the process. A book that starts out this way has got to be one interesting read!


I’m currently reading Lean Thinking : Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation by James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones in my quest to learn more about lean principles in general.

During my reading this evening, I came across this quote that I really liked.

Perfection is like infinity. Trying to envision it (and to get there) is actually impossible, but the effort to do so provides inspiration and direction essential to making progress along the path.

This kind of reminds me of this Bruce Lee quote:

A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.

People tend to think of goal setting from only the S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely) perspective. While these goals are important, and give you an idea of short term goals, the idea of a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) as outlined in Jim Collins Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies are also very important, as they give you somewhere to move towards.

Just a little something I was thinking about this evening after reading that quote. Goals of the ‘Big Hairy Audacious’ type, with buy in and commitment from everyone, can be a really good way to drive behavior in a long term direction rather than keeping everything at an attainable and realistic viewpoint, which can often keep us in a very short term frame of mind.