Robert Townsend

Robert
Townsend
1920
1998

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

Author Quotes

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.

All decisions need to be made as "low" as possible in the company. The charge of the Light Brigade was ordered by an officer who wasn't there looking at the territory.

It?s interesting that otherwise competent businessmen, capable of budgeting a complex operation, can't figure out that the cost of maintaining two women is twice the cost of one plus certain fringes. An early symptom of the mistress is a sudden surge of creativity in an executive's expense account. I once had a personnel vice-president who had taken up with one of our executive secretaries. If it had been outside the company I wouldn?t have minded unless it interfered with his work. But a personnel man with his arm around an employee is like a treasurer with his hand in the till? These guys are in the moment, so they can convince even themselves about what they?re saying.

True leadership must be for the benefit of the followers, not the enrichment of the leaders.

All organizations are at least 50 percent waste -- waste people, waste effort, waste space, and waste time.

It's a poor bureaucrat who can't stall a good idea until even its sponsor is relieved to see it dead and officially buried

Try calling yourself up to see what indignities you have built into your own defenses.

Cars that have been seriously damaged in one state can be wind up in another.

Make every decision as if you owned the whole company.

When you get right down to it, one of the most important tasks of a manager is to eliminate his people's excuses for failure.

Compromise is usually bad. It should be a last resort. If two departments or divisions have a problem they can?t solve and it comes up to you, listen to both sides and then, unlike Solomon, pick one or the other. This places solid accountability on the winner to make it work. This places solid accountability on the winner to make it work. Condition your people to avoid compromise.

Managers must have the discipline not to keep pulling up the flowers to see if their roots are healthy.

Why spend all that money and time on the selection of people when the people you?ve got are breaking down from under-use. Get to know your people. What they do well, what they enjoy doing, what their weaknesses and strengths are, and what they want and need to get from their job. And then try to create an organization around your people, not jam your people into those organization-chart rectangles.

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"