The spirit of innovation seems always come from people who have vision, wisdom and passion. It also always come from the person who have strongest determination to make those vision, wisdom and passion successfully happen.
Through years, I happen to discover 4 leaders -- that eventually become "favourite" inspiring leader of mine -- that seems to consistently show those qualities of great leadership, of great innovation, and of great ability to make great things happen.
They are leaders with vision. Leaders with strong inner believe. Leaders with attitude. They are leaders that stood up for their people; leaders that -- through their act -- change society for the better.
They are also leader who are very much hands-on in their daily activity and doing.
Each of them uniquely marked by their great passion; by their dedication towards non-compromising excellence; by their non-compromising attitude to always try to do and build business "without evil".
No matter how big the hurdle is, they just seem to never give up to reach their goal.
These people and their great leadership act eventually produce many great accomplishments, which eventually turn their once small tiny struggling company into a true great giant company we all respect for.
Most importantly, their business act -- and their company's act as a whole -- eventually improves society for the better.
These 4 of my "favourite" inspiring leaders are:
Akio Morita, Sony - Famous for his "It's a Sony" brand campaign, he preached "Business with attitude", and throughout Sony's amazing growth and history he co-invented many of Sony great and amazing product. Later on he become the driving motivator and greatest driver for the groundbreaking Sony Walkman. He excel at establishing Sony's brand magic of brand, and in driving the world attention towards miniaturization & innovation. Together with his long-life partner Masaru Ibuka, he envisioned Sony from the very beginning to become "the place for greatest & most talented engineers". In the process they crafted and created one of the most amazing consumer product empire, the one that once become the darling of the consumer electronic industry. Of all his magic act and fascinating believe, one key value system that is still strong within the organization is that: 1. All company member are one Sony family. 2. Everybody have to give people chance to learn, contribute, explore and understand. Sony become a truly amazing company that contribute greatly to the advancement of greater world-society during his leadership era.
Morita on business, leadership, innovation, passion, creativity & society:
- "Don't be afraid to make a mistake. But make sure you don't make the same mistake twice".
- "We will try to create conditions where persons could come together in a spirit of teamwork, and exercise to their heart's desire their technological capacity".
- "Curiosity is the key to creativity".
- "Carefully watch how people live, get an intuitive sense as to what they might want and then go with it. Don’t do market research".
- "If you go through life convinced that your way is always best, all the new ideas in the world will pass you by".
- "Advertising and promotion alone will not sustain a bad product or a product that is not right for the times".
- "From a management standpoint, it is very important to know how to unleash people's inborn creativity. My concept is that anybody has creative ability, but very few people know how to use it".
- "The most important mission for a manager is to develop a healthy relationship with his employees, to create a family-like feeling within the corporation, a feeling that employees and managers share the same fate. We will try to create conditions where persons could come together in a spirit of teamwork, and exercise to their heart’s desire their technological capacity".
- "My solution to the problem of unleashing creativity is always to set up a target".
- "Management of an industrial company must be giving targets to the engineers constantly; that may be the most important job management has in dealing with its engineers".
- "I established the rule that once we hire an employee, his schools records are a matter of the past, and are no longer used to evaluate his work or decide on his promotion".
- "We all learn by imitating, as children, as students, as novices in the world of business. And then we grow up and learn to blend our innate abilities with the rules or principles we have learned".
- "The key factor in industry is creativity".
- "There are three creativities: creativity in technology, in product planning, and in marketing. To have any one of these without the others is self defeating in business".
- "We want to keep the company healthy and its employees happy, and we want to keep them on the job and productive".
- "I believe one of the reasons we went through such a remarkable growth period was that we had this atmosphere of free discussion".
- "The important thing in my view is not to pin the blame for a mistake on somebody, but rather to find out what caused the mistake".
- "In all my years in business I can recall very few people I have wanted to fire for making mistakes".
- "We want everybody to have the best facilities in which to work, but we do not believe in posh and impressive private offices".
Henry Ford, Ford Motor - His vision for "The horseless carriage!" is truly phenomenal. He envisioned a world whereby a vision for "Car for the people" is becoming a true reality on a world-scale basis. He pioneered adaptation of "Assembly Manufacturing" productivity and efficiency and apply it later on at his ultra modern facility at its best. When his company is still small and struggling, Ford already show his talent as one of the greatest dedicated tinkerer/passionate business-leader/handson-doer-manager of all time. Yet after his company is becoming a huge giant in the automobile industry, he seem to still have and still apply the same hands-on, business and technology tinkerer person persona he always been. If not for his dedication and motivation to bring the "horseless carriage" to the masses, (that's how car was being explained to people during his time and era), society would never reach the level of modernity we experienced today.
Ford on business, leadership, innovation, passion, creativity & society:
- "A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business".
- "A market is never saturated with a good product, but it is very quickly saturated with a bad one".
- "Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young".
- "Chop your own wood, and it will warm you twice".
- "Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success".
- "Don't find fault, find a remedy; anybody can complain".
- "Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes shine to the stars. Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait. The grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas".
- "Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement".
- "I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can't be done".
- "I cannot discover that anyone knows enough to say definitely what is and what is not possible".
- "If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself".
- "If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability".
- "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right".
- "It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste".
- "Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward".
- "Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them".
- "My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me".
- "Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs".
- "One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do".
- "Speculation is only a word covering the making of money out of the manipulation of prices, instead of supplying goods and services".
- "The only real security that a man can have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience and ability".
- "Quality means doing it right when no one is looking".
- "There are no big problems, there are just a lot of little problems".
- "There is joy in work. There is no happiness except in the realization that we have accomplished something".
- "Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.
- "You can't learn in school what the world is going to do next year".
- "We don't want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker's dam is the history we make today".
- "Wealth, like happiness, is never attained when sought after directly. It comes as a by-product of providing a useful service".
- "You will find men who want to be carried on the shoulders of others, who think that the world owes them a living. They don't seem to see that we must all lift together and pull together".
- "There is no man living that can not do more than he thinks he can".
- "Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are right".
Steve Jobs, Apple/NeXT/Pixar - Well known and famous for his fascinating magical act and truest dedication to style, perfection, simplicity and excellence, Steve Jobs is famous also for many of his groundbreaking quotes. He has this strong inner believe and the crucial ability to allow his business and his entrepreneurial spirit to shape and "define"/refine what is good and perfect for the masses out there. He describe the process as: "It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them". He is passionate for his team and his work to always make a great difference and "make a dent in the universe". He is a sincere believer in company 's outmost important ability to always being able to not only envision, but also deliver a great fascinating product that embraces passion of its founders and creators ("Great artists deliver"). He "THINK DIFFERENT" and his passion for excellence & his masterful capability of conducting continous magical act is legendary and fascinatingly unbeatable. He is maestro of "continous magic happen". Modern world culture many times improves so much better under his string of continuous great act.
Jobs on business, leadership, innovation, passion, creativity & society:
- "Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected".
- "I think we're having fun. I think our customers really like our products. And we're always trying to do better".
- "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower".
- "It took us three years to build the NeXT computer. If we'd given customers what they said they wanted, we'd have built a computer they'd have been happy with a year after we spoke to them - not something they'd want now".
- "You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new".
- "Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations".
- "A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets”.
- "I wish developing great products was as easy as writing a check...if so, then Microsoft would have great products".
- "Computers are like a bicycle for our minds".
- "Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it".
- "Apple is like a ship with a hole in the bottom, leaking water, and my job is to get the ship pointed in the right direction".
- "Because I'm the CEO, and I think it can be done".
-- On why Jobs chose to override engineers who thought the iMac wasn't feasible.
- "The products suck! There's no sex in them anymore!".
-- On Gil Amelio's lackluster reign
- "Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?".
- "We made the buttons on the screen look so good you'll want to lick them".
- "iMac is next year's computer for $1,299, not last year's computer for $999".
- "It wasn't that Microsoft was so brilliant or clever in copying the Mac, it's that the Mac was a sitting duck for 10 years. That's Apple's problem: Their differentiation evaporated".
- "We believe it's the biggest advance in animation since Walt Disney started it all with the release of Snow White 50 years ago".
-- On Toy Story
- "Nobody has tried to swallow us since I've been here. I think they are afraid how we would taste.
- "It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them".
- "Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything. It's very fortunate if you can work on just one of these in your career".
- "When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can oftentimes arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. Most people just don't put in the time or energy to get there. We believe that customers are smart, and want objects which are well thought through".
- "It comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don't get on the wrong track or try to do too much".
- "It is hard to think that a $2 billion company with 4,300-plus people couldn't compete with six people in blue jeans".
- "We're constantly taking things. It's a wonderful, ecstatic feeling to create something that puts it back in the pool of human experience and knowledge".
- "Pixar is the most technically advanced creative company; Apple is the most creatively advanced technical company".
- "I think Pixar has the opportunity to be the next Disney -- not replace Disney -- but be the next Disney".
- "Apple's market share is bigger than BMW's or Mercedes's or Porsche's in the automotive market. What's wrong with being BMW or Mercedes?".
- "Pretty much, Apple and Dell are the only ones in this industry making money. They make it by being Wal-Mart. We make it by innovation".
- "Real artists ship".
- "The only way to do great work is to love what you do".
- "Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works".
- "I want to put a ding in the universe".
- "We're here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?"
Thomas Watson Sr, IBM - He is famous around the world and across generations after him for his "THINK" perspective and believe. He build IBM from a relatively small company into one of the giant of the industry. He preached "Respect to individual" and to always put "People first" in any corporate doing. During his leadership era, IBM grow from a tiny company into one of the greatest and most respected company of its time. He is perhaps one of the most charismatic people-centric business leader of our time. Truly amazing persona and probably one of the greatest business manager of our time. Society development and business environment's working culture becomes so much better because of his great did, act and example.
Watson on business, leadership, innovation, passion, creativity & society:
- "If you want to achieve excellence, you can get there today. As of this second, quit doing less-than-excellent work".
- "Really big people are, above everything else, courteous, considerate and generous - not just to some people in some circumstances - but to everyone all the time".
- "Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot'' than the stigma of conformity".
- A manager is an assistant to his men.
- All the problems of the world could be settled easily if men were only willing to think. The trouble is that men very often resort to all sorts of devices in order not to think, because thinking is such hard work.
- Design must reflect the practical and aesthetic in business but above all... good design must primarily serve people.
- Don't make friends who are comfortable to be with. Make friends who will force you to lever yourself up.
- Every time we've moved ahead in IBM, it was because someone was willing to take a chance, put his head on the block, and try something new.
- Good design is good business.
- If you aren't playing well, the game isn't as much fun. When that happens I tell myself just to go out and play as I did when I was a kid.
- If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good.
- Nothing so conclusively proves a man's ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself.
- Once an organization loses its spirit of pioneering and rests on its early work, its progress stops.
- The toughest thing about the power of trust is that it's very difficult to build and very easy to destroy. The essence of trust building is to emphasize the similarities between you and the customer.
- The way to succeed is to double your error rate.
- Whenever an individual or a business decides that success has been attained, progress stops.
- Wisdom is the power to put our time and our knowledge to the proper use.
You don't hear things that are bad about your company unless you ask. It is easy to hear good tidings, but you have to scratch to get the bad news.
- The great accomplishments of man have resulted from the transmission of ideas and enthusiasm.