Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Harold Geneen, fully Harold "Hal" Sydney Geneen

American Businessman, CEO of ITT

"Uncertainty will always be part of the taking charge process."

"Leadership cannot really be taught. It can only be learned."

"A true leader has to have a genuine open-door policy so that his people are not afraid to approach him for any reason."

"Facts from paper are not the same as facts from people. The reliability of the people giving you the facts is as important as the facts themselves."

"I don't believe in just ordering people to do things. You have to sort of grab an oar and row with them."

"He suffered from paralysis by analysis. "

"I think it is an immutable law in business that words are words, explanations are explanations, promises are promises - but only performance is reality. "

"Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions. "

"The five essential entrepreneurial skills for success: Concentration, Discrimination, Organization, Innovation and Communication. "

"The best way to inspire people to superior performance is to convince them by everything you do and by your everyday attitude that you are wholeheartedly supporting them. "

"In the business world, everyone is always working at legitimate cross purposes, governed by self interest."

"In the business world, everyone is paid in two coins: cash and experience. Take the experience first; the cash will come later. "

"Better a good decision quickly than the best decision too late."

"Do you want my one-word secret of happiness -- It's growth -- mental, financial, you name it."

"Every company has two organizational structures: The formal one is written on the charts; the other is the everyday relationship of the men and women in the organization."

"If you keep working you'll last longer and I just want to keep vertical. I'd hate to spend the rest of my life trying to outwit an 18-inch fish."

"If your desk isn't cluttered, you probably aren't doing your job."

"In business, words are words; explanations are explanations, promises are promises, but only performance is reality."

"It is much more difficult to measure nonperformance than performance. Performance stands out like a ton of diamonds. Nonperformance can always be explained away."

"It is an immutable law in business that words are words, explanations are explanations, promises are promises-but only performance is reality."

"It's better to take over and build upon an existing business than to start a new one."

"Management must manage!"

"Performance is your reality. Forget everything else."

"Telephones, hotels, insurance - it's all the same. If you know the numbers inside out, you know the company inside out."

"Performance stands out like a ton of diamonds. Nonperformance can always be explained away."

"Management manages by making decisions and by seeing that those decisions are implemented."

"Managers in all too many American companies do not achieve the desired results because nobody makes them do it."

"The highest art of professional management requires the literal ability to 'smell' a 'real fact' from all others."

"The only unforgivable sin in business is to run out of cash."

"The worst disease which can afflict business executives in their work is not, as popularly supposed, alcoholism; it's egotism."

"We must not be hampered by yesterday's myths in concentrating on today's needs."

"The professional's grasp of the numbers is a measure of the control he has over the events that the figures represent."

"When I come upon a man who has a gleaming, empty, clear desktop, I am dealing with a fellow who is so far removed from the realities of his business that someone else is running it for him."

"When you have mastered numbers, you will in fact no longer be reading numbers, any more than you read words when reading books You will be reading meanings."

"You read a book from beginning to end. You run a business the opposite way. You start with the end, and then you do everything you must to reach it."

"You can know a person by the kind of desk he keeps. If the president of a company has a clean desk then it must be the executive vice president who is doing all the work."

"You cannot run a business, or anything else, on a theory."