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Leaderly Thoughts

Backpacker Sunrise

Take a moment to reflect on these quotations from a variety of respected thinkers. And enjoy the accompanying photos I’ve taken during my travels.Jim

Boat (Alma, New Brunswick)

People with a high level of personal mastery are able to consistently realize the results that matter most deeply to them*in effect, they approach their life as an artist would approach a work of art. They do that by becoming committed to their own lifelong learning. Personal mastery is the discipline of continually clarifying and deepening our personal vision, of focusing our energies, of developing patience, and of seeing reality objectively. As such, it is an essential cornerstone of the learning organization–the learning organization’s spiritual foundation.
(Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline)

DSCN0222 (Mount Washington)
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know,
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.

(T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets, East Coker)

light (Maine)

A leader is best when people barely know he exists, not so good when people obey and acclaim him, worse when they despise him. But of a good leader, who talks little, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: “We did this to ourselves.”

Canyon (Grand Canyon)

We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion.
(Max DePree)

DSC_0470 (Ottawa, Ontario)
The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.
(Warren Bennis)

DSCN0044 (Ottawa, Ontario)
It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.
(Albert Einstein)

GrandMan (Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick)
A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don’t have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.
(Nelson Mandela)

Irving (Irving Nature Park, New Brunswick)
Predictions are good therapy, arising from a human thirst for certainty. That might have been reasonable in some ancient world, but is hardly right for today’s.
(Nassim Nicholas Taleb)

Fred (Fredericton, New Brunswick)
I am a short-term pessimist but a long-term optimist. I think some future crisis will rally the country and bring out new leaders. These are the cycles of history.
(Arthur Schlesinger: historian, Harvard professor, assistant to President Kennedy)

Row Boat(Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick)

If you consider yourself a leader, be sure to check the rearview mirror regularly to ensure you have followers.
(James Taggart)

Sign(Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick)

Imagine a world where everyone was constantly learning, a world where what you wondered was more interesting than what you knew, and curiosity counted for more than certain knowledge. Imagine a world where what you gave away was more valuable than what you held back, where joy was not a dirty word, where play was not forbidden after your eleventh birthday. Imagine a world in which the business of business was to imagine worlds people might actually want to live in someday. Imagine a world created by people, for the people not perishing from the earth forever.

Yeah. Imagine that.
(Christopher Locke, “The Cluetrain Manifesto,” from the final chapter “Post Apocalypso”)

San(San Francisco)

I’ve been incredibly ambitious ever since I was young and in some respects have had no reservations about going for things I’ve wanted without questioning what the result will be.
(Leonardo DiCaprio, in conversation with TIME on his movie J. Edgar)


There are domains in which expertise is not possible. Stock picking is a good example. And in long term political strategic forecasting, it’s been shown that experts are just not better than a dice-throwing monkey.
(Daniel Kahneman, Psychologist and Nobel-winning economist, in conversation with TIME)

BBoats(Alma, New Brunswick)
[Consensus is] the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects…What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner ‘I stand for consensus.’
(Great Britain Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher)

San(San Francisco, from Alcatraz)

To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only this to say, “You turn if you want; the lady’s not for turning.”
(Great Britain Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher)

Sedona(Sedona, Arizona)

If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can’t it get us out?
(Will Rogers)


To thrive in a world of change and chaos, we will need to accept chaos as an essential process by which natural systems, including organizations, renew and revitalize themselves.
(Kevin McCarey, Videoscript, Leadership and the New Science)

Quebec(Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City)

To create the incentive to think seriously about future strategy, you have to create a deep sense of restlessness with the status quo. You have to help people understand that current success is very impermanent.
(Gary Hamel)

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