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Business

  • ... in show business there's not much point in asking yourself if someone really likes you or if he just thinks you can be useful to him, because there's no difference.

  • ... the position of children as a group, in a commercial society, is not wholly advantageous. A commercial society urges its citizens to be responsible for things, but not for people. It is the unquestioned assumption of a mercantile culture that things need and deserve attention, but that people can take care of themselves ...

  • ... children are an embarrassment to a business civilization. A business society needs children for the same reason that a nomadic or a pastoral society needs them — to perpetuate itself. Unfortunately, however, children are of no use to a business society until they have almost reached physical maturity.

  • A business society, therefore, always has in its children a large group of individuals who cannot make money and who do not understand (or want to understand) the profit motive. In short, they are subversives ...

  • The business society is interested in training its citizens to make money, and, in this objective, it is often successful. Many of them do make money, and the ones who do not obligingly regard themselves as failures who have wasted the precious gift of life.

  • In a business society, the emotional economy is an economy of scarcity.

  • In a business society, the role of sex can be summed up in five pitiful little words. There is money in it.

  • ... American business, while it does not frown on helping the human race, frowns on people who start right in helping the human race without first proving that they can sell things to it.

  • There is too great a tendency (perhaps encouraged by popular journalism) to deal with the dramatic moments, forgetting that these are not always the most significant moments. ... To find the significant rather than the dramatic features of industrial controversy, of a disagreement in regard to policy on board of directors or between managers, is essential to integrative business policies.

    • Mary Parker Follett,
    • in Henry C. Metcalf and L. Urwick, eds., Dynamic Administration: The Collected Papers of Mary Parker Follett ()
  • ... if you wish to train yourself for higher executive positions, the first thing for you to decide is what you are training for. Ability to dominate or manipulate others? That ought to be easy enough, since most of the magazines advertise sure ways of developing something they call 'personality.' But I am convinced that the first essential of business success is the capacity for organized thinking.

    • Mary Parker Follett,
    • in Henry C. Metcalf and L. Urwick, eds., Dynamic Administration: The Collected Papers of Mary Parker Follett ()
  • ... while the executive should give every possible value to the information of the specialist, no executive should abdicate thinking on any subject because of the expert. The expert's information or opinion should not be allowed automatically to become a decision. On the other hand, full recognition should be given to the part the expert plays in decision making.

    • Mary Parker Follett,
    • in Henry C. Metcalf and L. Urwick, eds., Dynamic Administration: The Collected Papers of Mary Parker Follett ()
  • If you can't add to the discussion, don't subtract by talking.

  • Always hire people who are better than you. Hiring dummies is shortsighted. You can't move up the ladder until everyone is comfortable with your replacement.

  • The single most dangerous word to be spoken in business is 'no.' The second most dangerous word is 'yes.' It is possible to avoid saying either ...

  • Briefcases, like CEOs, should never look new and unused.

  • What a denial of our humanity that at the centers of power, where decisions are made, there is no room for nurturing, for love, and children. There is more to life than the 'inhuman' work place. It is terrible that many men do not know that: it is a tragedy if women follow them.

    • Dora Russell,
    • in Dale Spender, There's Always Been a Women's Movement This Century ()
  • Commercial concerns have expanded from family business to corporate wealth which is self-perpetuating and which enlightened statesmen and economists now dread as the most potent oligarchy yet produced.

  • It was left for the present age to endow Covetousness with glamour on a big scale, and to give it a title which it could carry like a flag. It occurred to somebody to call it Enterprise. From the moment of that happy inspiration, Covetousness has gone forward and never looked back.

  • ... in the era of imperialism, businessmen became politicians and were acclaimed as statesmen, while statesmen were taken seriously only if they talked the language of succcessful businessmen ...

  • I don't believe in business plans. If you have a plan, it means you're not prepared for change.

    • Brenda French,
    • in Leslie Brokaw, ed., 301 Great Management Ideas ()
  • Only the fittest will survive, and the fittest will be the ones who understand their office's politics.

  • In business courtesy and efficiency have a symbiotic relationship.

  • You've got to spend a little money to make a little money.

  • The more big business talks about something, the less of it there is. For example, it 'values' jobs just at the moment when they disappear; it revels in 'autonomy' when in fact you have to fill out forms in triplicate for the slightest trifle and ask the advice of six people to make insignificant decisions; it harps on 'ethics' while believing in absolutely nothing.

  • ... any effort at large-scale reorganization — that is, any project spanning more than two years and, more generally, anything that has not already been done — is inevitably doomed to failure.

  • Only communist regimes have churned out more jargon than modern business.

  • Corporations never actually mention 'money'; that would be vulgar. They prefer such words as 'turnover,' 'profit,' 'salary,' 'revenue,' 'budget,' 'premium,' and 'savings,' all much more refined.

  • ... the middle manager is doomed to remain just that. Once an office rat, always an office rat.

  • The religion of the corporate world is novelty. What is new is always right.

  • Culture, which by definition serves no purpose, has now found a role as the consort of business. Right off the bat we have a beached whale, since there is nothing that disdains culture as much as business does. ... In fact, 'corporate culture' is nothing more than the crystallization of the stupidity of a group of people at a given moment.

  • Business and its logic of productivity have become the reference point in a society that thinks marketing every time it opens its mouth.

  • ... although the typist has disappeared, her work has not: now you do it yourself. ... Since most companies have reduced the managerial ranks, there are fewer and fewer bosses, so you become a manager, his boss, and his secretary all rolled into one.

  • What you do is ultimately pointless. You could be replaced any day of the week with the first moron who walks in the door. So work as little as possible, and spend a little time (not too much, though) 'selling yourself' and 'networking' so that you will have backup and will be untouchable (and untouched) the next time the company is restructured.

  • In the biggest companies, seek out the most useless positions: those in consultancy, appraisal, research, and study. The more useless your position, the less possible it will be to assess your 'contribution to the firm's assets.'

  • When you're 'recruiting' people in temporary positions for the firm (short-term contracts, free-lancers, etc.) treat them well: remember, they're the only ones who actually do any work.

  • Business was his aversion; pleasure was his business.

  • The fact is, you don't have to be brilliant, funny, nice, or sane to be successful in an office.

  • Forget what organization experts tell you. Read it once, and if it has anything to do with you, keep it in a file at home. You will be very happy that you did

  • It's okay to be unprofessional as long as you're professional about it.

  • Business before pleasure ...

  • Big Business and Politics are twins, they are the monsters who kill everything, corrupt everything.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1957, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 6 ()
  • Business once lost, does not easily return to the old hands.

    • Abigail Adams,
    • letter (1815), in John P. Kaminski, The Quotable Abigail Adams ()
  • Mamma was a crackerjack of a business woman. The kind that'd make money if you let her down a well ...

  • There can be no freedom in the large sense of the word, no harmonious development, so long as mercenary and commercial considerations play an important part in the determination of personal conduct.

    • Emma Goldman,
    • "What I Believe," in The New York World ()
  • The best reason for believing that more women will be in charge before long is that in a ferociously competitive global economy, no company can afford to waste valuable brain power simply because it's wearing a skirt.

    • Anne Fisher,
    • "When Will Women Get to the Top?" in Fortune ()
  • Now the sole remedy for the abuse of political power is to limit it; but when politics corrupt business, modern reformers invariably demand the enlargement of the political power.

  • ... the world is no longer run by governments, it's run by corporations.

  • The thesis of this book ... is that expressive behaviors — namely, a sensitivity to personal needs and to alliance building — are just as important as task-oriented behaviors — setting high standards for oneself and others — in managing today's workforce and improving productivity. This blend of male and female qualities — androgynous behavior — is the promise of better management in the future.

  • As women, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and American Indians began to move into the world of management, the emphasis was not on learning from them. Efforts focused, instead, on fitting minorities and women into what once was the domain of white men. These efforts almost totally missed the point by failing to take advantage of the new resources being brought to the management world. Interestingly, though, as affirmative action has gained ground, management theory and practice are expanding the concept of what makes a good manager. The new members of the workforce exhibit many of the behaviors that are being discussed and very tentatively tried out by managers.

  • You simply cannot communicate enough. Experts say that you have to tell the average adult something six times before it is internalized. The challenge becomes communicating a message in such a creative way that it only has to be told once!

  • Anything you can do to creatively jazz up the memos and communications you send will result in more people actually reading them.

  • When you find employees reluctant to do certain tasks, it often helps to give them wonderful, classy tools to use, and then they become excited about doing the tasks because you have made them feel important.

  • Give employees small bits of information about the business that they may not know. Then not only will they feel more pride in the organization as a whole and better understand their role in the overall process, but they can also help to educate your customers.

  • ... a corporation does seem like a family. Not necessarily that one big happy family they like to boast about when they're hiring you, but, just like every family, a hotbed of passion, rivalry, and dreams that build or destroy careers. (Especially in the home office.)

  • Today's corporate family is headed by a 'father' who finds the child he never had, the child he always wanted, at the office and guides him (sometimes her) up the ladder.

  • If you want to move up in the organization, you go along with the culture. If you don't care, well, you can wear anything.

    • Cora Rose,
    • in Jacqueline Murray with Toni Nebel, The Power of Dress ()
  • ... networking ... can change your whole way of thinking about what it takes to succeed in business. As a technique, it will introduce you to stimulating, knowledgeable allies you didn't know you had. As a process, it knows no limits — and neither will you if you use it to its fullest potential.

  • ... there's no art but has some business to it and no business but some art.

  • For a hot-shot CEO taking over a troubled company, mass firings are the ultimate quick fix, the accounting equivalent of crack: cheap, easy to score, instantly gratifying, and highly addictive.

  • ... corporate America corrupted the watchdogs that were supposed to be guarding the public interest by feeding them under the table.

  • Humans must breathe, but corporations must make money.

    • Alice Embree,
    • "Media Images I: Madison Avenue Brainwashing -- the Facts," in Robin Morgan, ed., Sisterhood Is Powerful ()
  • I ran the wrong kind of business, but I did it with integrity.

  • The surprise of the fight on the long day, of the experiments with the shorter one, has been not only that the business could stand it, but that the business thrived under it as surely as the man did. It is but another of the proofs which are heaping up in American industry to-day that whatever is good for men and women — contributes to their health, happiness, development — is good for business.

  • When the business man who fights to secure special privileges, to crowd his competitor off the track by other than fair competitive methods, receives the same summary disdainful ostracism by his fellows that the doctor or lawyer who is 'unprofessional,' the athlete who abuses the rules, receives, we shall have gone a long way toward making commerce a fit pursuit for our young men.

  • Buy cheap and sell high is a rule of business, and when you control enough money and enough banks you can always manage that a stock you want shall be temporarily cheap. No value is destroyed for you — only for the original owner.

  • We are a commercial people. We cannot boast of our arts, our crafts, our cultivation; our boast is in the wealth we produce. As a consequence business success is sanctified, and, practically, any methods which achieve it are justified by a larger and larger class.

  • There is no gaming table in the world where loaded dice are tolerated, no athletic field where men must not start fair. Yet Mr. Rockefeller has systematically played with loaded dice, and it is doubtful if there has ever been a time since 1872 when he has run a race with a competitor and started fair.

  • One of the most depressing features of the ethical side of the matter is that instead of such methods arousing contempt they are more or less openly admired. And this is logical. Canonise 'business success,' and men who made a success like that of the Standard Oil Trust become national heroes!

  • [On dishonest business methods:] ... frequently the defender of the practice falls back on the Christian doctrine of charity, and points out that we are erring mortals and must allow for each other's weaknesses! — an excuse which, if carried to its legitimate conclusion, would leave our business men weeping on one another's shoulders over human frailty, while they picked one another's pockets.

  • Now, if the Standard Oil Company were the only concern in the country guilty of the practices which have given it monopolistic power, this story never would have been written. Were it alone in these methods, public scorn would long ago have made short work of the Standard Oil Company. But it is simply the most conspicuous type of what can be done by these practices. The methods it employs with such acumen, persistency, and secrecy are employed by all sorts of business men, from corner grocers up to bankers. If exposed, they are excused on the ground that this is business.

  • Very often people who admit the facts, who are willing to see that Mr. Rockefeller has employed force and fraud to secure his ends, justify him by declaring, 'It's business.' That is, 'it's business' has come to be a legitimate excuse for hard dealing, sly tricks, special privileges.

  • To Mr. Rockefeller this feeling was a weak sentiment. To place love of independent work above love of profits was as incomprehensible to him as a refusal to accept a rebate because it was wrong! Where persuasion failed then, it was necessary, in his judgment, that pressure be applied — simply a pressure sufficient to demonstrate to these blind or recalcitrant individuals the impossibility of their long being able to do business independently. ... He applied underselling for destroying his rivals' market with the same deliberation and persistency that characterized all his efforts, and in the long run he always won. ... there seemed to be no end to the way of making it hard for men to do business, of discouraging them until they would sell or lease, and always at the psychological moment a purchaser was at their side.

  • The trouble in corporate America is that too many people with too much power live in a box (their home), then travel the same road every day to another box (their office).

  • I don't want our success to be measured only by financial yardsticks, or by our distribution or number of shops. What I want to be celebrated for — and it's going to be tough in a business environment — is how good we are to our employees and how we benefit our community. It's a different bottom line.

    • Anita Roddick,
    • in Daniel Goleman, Paul Kaufman, and Michael Ray, The Creative Spirit ()
  • I don't think I'm a risk-taker. I don't think any entrepreneur is. I think that's one of those myths of commerce. The new entrepreneur is more values-led: you do what looks risky to other people because that's what your convictions tell you to do. Other companies would say I'm taking risks, but that's my path — it doesn't feel like risk to me.

    • Anita Roddick,
    • in Daniel Goleman, Paul Kaufman, and Michael Ray, The Creative Spirit ()
  • Why should how I act in my workplace be any different from how I interact with my family at home? It's making sure the company runs on feminine principles where the major ethic is care.

    • Anita Roddick,
    • in Daniel Goleman, Paul Kaufman, and Michael Ray, The Creative Spirit ()
  • I want to work for a company that contributes to and is part of the community. I want something not just to invest in. I want something to believe in.

  • I think it is completely immoral for a shop to trade in the middle of a community, to take money and make profits from that community and then ignore the existence of that community, its needs and problems.

  • What we are trying to do is to create a new business paradigm, simply showing that business can have a human face and a social conscience.

  • A great advantage I had when I started The Body Shop was that I had never been to business school.

  • I think all business practices would improve immeasurably if they were guided by 'feminine' principles — qualities like love and care and intuition.

  • A vision is something you see and others don't. Some people would say that's a pocket definition of lunacy. But it also defines entrepreneurial spirit.

  • I run my company according to feminine principles, principles of caring, making intuitive decisions, not getting hung up on hierarchy or all those dreadfully boring business-school management ideas; having a sense of work as being part of your life, not separate from it; putting your labor where your love is; being responsible to the world in how you use your profits; recognizing the bottom line should stay at the bottom.

    • Anita Roddick,
    • in Sally Helgesen, The Female Advantage: Women's Ways of Leadership ()
  • If trade undermines life, narrows it or impoverishes it, then it can destroy the world. If it enhances life, then it can better the world.

  • If civilization is going to survive, business and policy-makers must move on, to find within themselves more developed emotions than fear or greed.

  • If you pretend that business is beyond morality, that's the kind of morality you get.

  • ... if companies are in business solely to make money, no consumer can fully trust what they do or say.

  • The business of business should not just be about money, it should be about responsibility. It should be about public good, not private greed.

  • ... business itself is now the most powerful force for change in the world today, richer and faster by far than most governments. And what is it doing with this power? It is using free trade, the most powerful weapon at its disposal, to tighten its grip on the globe.

  • ... the world's latest tyrant. You can call it big business; you can call it the international cartels; you can call it a lot of things. But what it is is the group of men, relatively small, who have learned to manipulate and control what is known as the capitalistic system for their own ends. They're the smartest tyrants we've ever had because the system they control is so complex it's difficult even for an expert to understand it or to follow the moves in the game. And they've managed to remain largely anonymous, so that ordinary people don't even know their names. They're the true internationalists, using nationalism and patriotism quite cynically for their own ends.

  • I learned that in dealing with things, you spent much more time and energy in dealing with people than in dealing with things.

    • Chao Buwei Yang,
    • in Yuenren Chao, trans., Autobiography of a Chinese Woman ()
  • Legalistic quibbles have no place in the answer to a complaint. The customer is rightly or wrongly dissatisfied; business is built only on satisfied customers. Therefore the question is not to prove who is right but to satisfy the customer. This doctrine has its limitations, but it is safer to err in the way of doing too much than in doing too little.

  • In Business School they taught us about cash flow, not about corporate politics; about return on equity, not about egos and pride. Oh, there were optional courses on 'Organizational Behavior' and 'Managerial Skills,' but these were a little too bloodless to convey what I learned on the job.

  • Your personal stake in letters may be greater than you think. For in the business world, the ability to express ideas clearly and convincingly shows up in letters more than in any other form of written communication.

  • If you can't say it to everybody, don't say it to anybody. There are people who will use what you have to say to undermine you or ingratiate themselves with someone else.

    • Janice LaRouche,
    • in Janice LaRouche and Regina Ryan, Janice LaRouche's Strategies for Women at Work ()
  • Like the color black, business mixed with anything turns to business.

  • Nostalgia is also a trait of the organizations that I call lodges — everything from corporate cultures to religious sects. Their bonding power often exceeds loyalty to family or country because they create intimacy through shared ideals and beliefs, ceremonies, stories, and legends, and depend on it for their survival. The message is clear: Don't question what we're doing. Just appreciate how long we've been doing it.

  • Intuition is a combination of insight and imagination that was once attributed to spiritual communication. Mathematicians call it 'fuzzy logic,' drawing conclusions from vague or subjective input. The mind becomes aware without the direct intervention of reasoning. Once you can imagine something you can begin the process of creating it. Executives use intuition to make many product, investment, and hiring decisions, even if they deny it. Success in business may depend on an accurate gut.

  • Effectiveness today involves the creation and maintenance of relationships among customers and suppliers, among those who toil together, and between individuals and their places of work. Our ability to achieve our highest potential at work now rests on the relationships we create.

  • The military influence on business is morphologic; it relates to the form and structure of organization, considered apart from function. The functions of private industry — the everyday operations — are governed by another formula which has its genesis in a more familiar though not unrelated activity — team sports.

  • The existing system is the game of business. The landscape which has been contoured out of a miliary-sports subsoil is the territory of play, the game board. The rules of the game are those firmly established generations ago by the male WASP founders whose descendants are still the star players.

  • Racism and oppression have traditionally been synonymous with good business practice for America.

  • In business you get what you want by giving other people what they want.

  • Faultless honesty is a sine qua non of business life. Not alone the honesty according to the moral code and the Bible. When I speak of honesty I refer to the small, hidden, evasive meannesses of our natures. I speak of the honesty of ourselves to ourselves.

  • Competition is. In every business, no matter how small or how large, someone is just around the corner forever trying to steal your ideas and build his success out of your imagination, struggling after that which you have toiled endless years to secure, striving to outdo you in each and every way. If such a competitor would work as hard to originate as he does to copy, he would much more quickly gain success.

  • That is the wearisome part of business — there is no peace, no sense of certain, permanent achievement, no stability. The unexpected, and usually the awful, is forever happening.

  • In business everyone is out to grab, to fight, to win. Either you are the under or the over dog. It is up to you to be on top.

  • You may break any written law in America with impunity. There is an unwritten law that you break at your peril. It is: Do not attack the profit system.

  • For twenty years it had been generally known that an insidious Lobby was maintained in Washington to influence legislation and executive action on behalf of vested interests. ... The lobby was a creature of darkness. It worked behind closed doors and whispered in corners. This ancient industry was one form of invisible government.

  • The only bad customer is the one who doesn't come.

  • One of the first things to be noted in business life is its imperialism. Business is exacting, engrossing, and inelastic.

  • ... if the word frankly or sincerely is not uttered in the first ten minutes — or let us speak openly — then you are not in the presence of a genuine businessman, and he will certainly go bankrupt: take care ...

  • The conduct of these two groups of men, the politicians and the businessmen, shows how absolutely interchangeable the terms 'business' and 'politics' are in the capitalistic world.

  • No form of enterprise is either intelligent or productive of social value if it is run on the business principle of manufacturing as long as you sell at a profit and closing down as soon as a few people are not getting what they think they are entitled to. Until business recognizes its social obligations, no permanent improvement can be expected.

  • Business is really more powerful than politics. ... Its power to confuse an issue by insisting upon acceptance of such clichés as 'free enterprise' in a world where nothing is free from interrelationships, and its absolute refusal to meet the practical issue of needs of human beings for such simple things as food, clothing, and shelter, are the real obstruction in clearing the path for permanent prosperity and peace.

  • A business set up just to make money is rarely efficient, because it is not often intended to create wealth; it is only expected to make a fortune for certain people who occupy executive positions.

  • The more important the title, the more self-important the person, the greater the amount of time spent on the Eastern shuttle, the more suspicious the man and the less vitality in the organization.

  • The degree to which the opportunity to use power effectively is granted to or withheld from individuals is one operative difference between those companies which stagnate and those which innovate.

  • The importance of discretion increases with closeness to the top of a hierarchical organization.

  • Women, whatever Godfrey may tell you, make excellent men of business. They are, if anything, over-prudent, over-cautious where money is concerned; but that is a very good fault in a trustee.

  • A risk-taking environment starts at the top of a corporation. If the CEO doesn't have this spirit, chances are you won't find it anywhere else in the organization.

  • Wall Street owns this country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street and for Wall Street.

    • Mary Lease,
    • speech (1891), in Judith Anderson, ed., Outspoken Women ()
  • ... every unhappy customer will tell ten others about a bad experience, whereas happy customers may tell three.

  • ... sometimes it's easier to start a new business than to keep a tired one going.

  • Boundless greed, immense hubris, criminal carelessness, rabid dishonesty, utter disregard for life, and a psychotic detachment from reality are endemic at the highest levels of government and industry.

  • We don't care. We don't have to. We're the phone company.

  • I once heard a business lecturer say that if an executive makes just 50 percent of her decisions correctly, she can be successful. The key is to make them.

  • Men always try to keep women out of business so they won't find out how much fun it really is.

    • Vivien Kellems,
    • in Alice Charlotte Goff, Women Can Be Engineers ()
  • When you stop talking, you've lost your customer.

  • The very instrument that was supposed to be the greatest time-saver in our history has turned into the biggest time-waster. The telephone causes more interruption and generates more stress than anything else in our business environment.

  • Business is other people's money.