Quotes on “Do the Right Thing”

As you may recall, I consider “Do the Right Thing” to be the first of the three keys for a Winning Business. Do the Right Thing is defined as:

  1. Ethics, Integrity and Character
  2. Do the Right Thing to Ensure the Success of the Business
  3. Focus and Prioritize to Effectively Get the Right Thing Done


Ethics, Integrity and Character

  1. “When it comes to bringing values to life –  to doing the good, right, and appropriate thing…we’re always working at it, we’re never totally there, and the challenge starts all over again with each new tomorrow.” Eric Harvey and Steve Ventura
  2. “We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence. But, rather we have those because we have acted rightly.” Aristotle
  3. “To build trust, you must do two things. First, say what you mean. Second, do what you say.” Jack Welch
  4. “We will forget and forgive any judgment error that you make, but integrity mistakes are forever.”  David Cottrell
  5. “Regard your good name as the richest jewel you can possibly be possessed of — for credit is like fire; when once you have kindled it you may easily preserve it, but if you once extinguish it, you will find it an arduous task to rekindle it again. The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.” Socrates
  6. “Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.”   Albert Einstein
  7. “We know not the future, and cannot plan for it much. But we can… determine and know what manner of men we will be whenever and wherever the hour strikes.” Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Defends Little Round Top in the Battle of Getttysburg
  8. “To conquer one’s spirit, abandon anger, and be modest in victory… whoever can do this I compare not to the greatest of men but to a god.” Cicero
  9. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle
  10. “Professionalism is not just about appearance, ethics and a code of conduct. Professionalism is about having a lifetime dedication and commitment to higher standards and ideals, honorable values, and continuous self-improvement. Professionalism is a built in guidance system for always doing the best that you can do, always doing the right thing, and always standing tall for what you believe in.” Jim Ball
  11. “Do first class business in a first class way.” JP Morgan


Do the Right Thing to Ensure the Success of the Business

  1. “Every day, in countless ways, the competitive position of each of our businesses grows either weaker or stronger. If we are delighting customers, eliminating unnecessary costs, and improving our products and services, we gain strength. But, if we treat customers with indifference or tolerate bloat, our businesses will wither. On a daily basis, the effects of our actions are imperceptible; cumulatively, though, their consequences are enormous. When our long-term competitive position improves as a result of these unnoticeable actions, we describe the phenomenon as “widening the moat.” And doing that is essential if we are to have the kind of business we want a decade or two from now. We always, of course, hope to earn more money in the short-term. But, when short-term and long-term conflict, widening the moat must take precedence. If a management makes bad decisions in order to hit short-term earnings targets, and consequently gets behind the eight ball in terms of costs, customer satisfaction or brand strength, no amount of subsequent brilliance will overcome the damage that has been inflicted. Take a look at the dilemmas of managers in the auto and airline industries today as they struggle with the huge problems handed them by their predecessors. Charlie Munger (Warren Buffett’s Number Two) is fond of quoting Ben Franklin’s “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” But sometimes no amount of cure will overcome the mistakes of the past.” Warren Buffett
  2. “It always surprises me that the government, unions, some employees and other stakeholders forget that a business has to be long-term profitable. Without long-term success, there is no business.  Hence, there are no jobs, there are no additional investments, there are no profits to pay shareholders, and there are no taxes.”
  3. “No one will thank the leader for taking care of the present if they have neglected the future.” Joel Barker
  4. “It is no use saying ‘We are Doing our Best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.” Winston Churchill
  5. “Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to be learned….”   Thomas H. Huxley (English biologist)
  6. “There are risks and costs to a program of action.  But they are far less than the long range risks and costs of comfortable action.” John F Kennedy. 
  7. “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they do not necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” Rosalyn Carter


Focus and Prioritize to Effectively Get the Right Thing Done

  1. “The Main Thing is to keep the Main Thing the Main Thing.” Crab Cooker Restaurant, Newport Beach, CA
  2. “Too many priorities mean no priorities.”
  3. “Breakthrough leaders, as compared to most CEOs, see difficult times as opportunities for the organization to develop a crystal clear focus on its most important initiatives and even to tap into energies in people that tend to go dormant during the good times.” Keith McFarland, The Breakthrough Company

  4. “As a leader, every day you must ask yourself, ‘is what I’m doing right now helping me to move closer to my ultimate vision and helping me to meet my goal?'”

  5. “You can’t move so fast that you try to change [a situation] faster than people can accept it. That doesn’t mean you do nothing, but it means that you do the things that need to be done according to priority.”     Eleanor Roosevelt
  6. “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” Herbert Simon (Economist)
  7. “There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all.” Peter Drucker
  8. “Sometimes, it is not what you add to a situation or problem, but what you take away that makes a difference” Jim Schack
  9. “If you are doing anything that you think a customer would not be willing to pay a premium for – think twice before doing it.” Carlos Brito (CEO Anheuser-Busch In-Bev)
  10. “The wise do only what needs to be done”
  11. “In practice, a person should work on three things at once, not forty.” The Leadership Machine

About David Shedd

David has been a President - CEO - COO of an up to $350M group of manufacturing, distribution, specialty retail and services companies, having led 22 different businesses from turnarounds to start-ups to fast growth companies.
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1 Response to Quotes on “Do the Right Thing”

  1. Pingback: 2010 in review | David Shedd's Blog

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