Robert Townsend

Robert
Townsend
1920
1998

American Business Executive, CEO of Avis, Director of American Express, Author of "Up the Organization"

Author Quotes

The soul is made for action, and cannot rest till it be employed. Idleness is its rust. Unless it will up and think and taste and see, all is in vain.

If you have to have a policy manual, publish the Ten Commandments.

These are stretch targets - they are not easy for us.

If you shoot for the stars and hit the moon, it's OK. But you've got to shoot for something. A lot of people don't even shoot.

They know they're very good issues to be fighting for. They all feel good about it.

[A good leader should] carry water for their people, protect them from distraction, and appeal to the best in every employee. They should be visible to the troops.

If you?re not in business for fun or profit, what the hell are you doing here? [subtitle of UP the Organization]

To be satisfying a job should have variety, wholeness, autonomy, and feedback. In other words, no job description.

A good leader needs to have a compass in his head and a bar of steel in his heart.

In combat, officers eat last. Most people in big companies today are administered, not led. They are treated as personnel, not people.

To have a successful organization, you?ll have to give up being an administrator who loves to run others and become a manager who carries water for his people so they can get on with the job.

A good manager doesn't try to eliminate conflict; he tries to keep it from wasting the energies of his people. If you're the boss and your people fight you openly when they think that you are wrong -- that's healthy.

Is what I'm doing or about to do getting us closer to our objective?

Top management is supposed to be a tree full of owls...hooting when management heads into the wrong part of the forest. I'm still unpersuaded they even know where the forest is.

Getting there isn't half the fun - it's all the fun.

Author Picture
First Name
Robert
Last Name
Townsend
Birth Date
1920
Death Date
1998
Bio

American Business Executive, CEO of Avis, Director of American Express, Author of "Up the Organization"