Thought Trove

Thomas Merton: “If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.”

Abraham Lincoln : Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.

Lord Weinstock : We get suspicious when a business reports profits without generating cash

Ford CEO Alan Mulally : recounts an episode that makes him certain Ford has broken unworkable old ways and is locked and loaded for the future.

In one of his Thursday management meetings, where managers are supposed to show color-coded charts, red for serious problems, yellow for lesser issues, green for all OK, "all the charts were green and I know — we're going to lose $17 billion. I stopped the meeting and I said, 'Is there anything that isn't going well? We're losing $17 billion.' Eye contact goes down to the ground."

Mulally: "The next week here comes Mark (Fields, now president of Ford's North and South America operations) and the charts are all red. Everybody else's were green. I started to clap, and I said 'That's great.' "I looked around and said, 'Is there anything we can do to help'" , resolve problems Fields was having launching the Ford Edge. A dam burst. Other managers started tossing out solutions to similar problems they'd had.

Even so, managers took two weeks to follow the Fields example. "Next week everybody still was green, but (two weeks later) the entire 320 charts (of all the managers) looked like a rainbow. Everybody knew it was safe" to ask for help.

"At that moment I knew, and everybody else knew, that we had a chance now. You can't manage a secret. It was all out in the open. And everybody was committed to helping everybody else."

Nelson on cost control : 
Lord Viscount Nelson, Commander in Chief of the Mediterranean fleet. Britain at war with France and Nelson responsible for nine sail-of-the-line off an enemy coast..... he finds time to watch the costs:

'His officers soon realised that Nelson was eternally alert to value for money. At the end of December 1803 Captain William Parker would sense the all-seeing eye of his Commander in Chief when he received a communication: "I have this moment received a set of vouchers for five live bullocks, 300 pounds of onions, and six bags of hay, procured for the Company of his Majesty's Ship, Amazon, under your command; and I must desire to acquaint you that the onions ought not to have been purchased without my particular orders for so doing; and I see no reason for the purchase of hay for bullocks which have been killed so immediately."

Thatcher : The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money

Buffet on Washington Politics : “What is right about America just totally dwarfs what’s wrong with Washington. 535 people are not going to mess up 315 million over time"