Nothing is so contagious as an example. We never do great good or great evil without bringing about more of the same on the part of others.
You do not become a "dissident" just because you decide one day to take up this most unusual career. You are thrown into it by your personal sense of responsibility, combined with a complex set of external circumstances. You are cast out of the existing structures and placed in a position of conflict with them. It begins as an attempt to do your work well, and ends with being branded an enemy of society.
If you want to build a ship, then don't drum up men to gather wood, give orders, and divide the work. Rather, teach them to yearn for the far and endless sea.
History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.
If you raise your children to feel that they can accomplish any goal or task they decide upon, you will have succeeded as a parent and you will have given your children the greatest of all blessings.
I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.
Good leaders must first become good servants.
I had learned to respect the intelligence, integrity, creativity and capacity for deep thought and hard work latent somewhere in every child; they had learned that I differed from them only in years and experience, and that as I, an ordinary human being, loved and respected them, I expected payment in kind.
We can no longer stand at the end of something we visualize in detail and plan backwards from that future. Instead, we must stand at the beginning, clear in our intent, with a willingness to be involved in discovery.
Necessity is the plea of every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
Without trust, words become the hollow sound of a wooden gong. With trust, words become life itself.
As for the future, your task is not to foresee, but to enable it.
Again and again some people in the crowd wake up.
They have no ground in the crowd
And they emerge according to much broader laws.
They carry strange customs with them
And demand room for bold gestures.
The future speaks ruthlessly through them.
There are only two lasting bequests we can give our children... one is roots, the other wings.
Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead.
The major problem faced by corporations today is not the scarce allocation of capital, but the bottleneck of capabilities.
Learning in organization is nothing more, not less, than the evolution of human consciousness. And the role of the organization is to facilitate that process.
Many agencies think short term, run programs designed by those who will never need to use them, and promote a "do to" philosophy. But programs that do not begin with the community determining their own needs are not sustainable.
I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among men the greatest asset I possess. The way to develop the best that is in a man is by appreciation and encouragement.
But the tenders of vision are often lonely,
And frequently demand that others change.
People with a vision inject ambiguity
Into our lives.
They embark on voyages to new worlds.
A problem is something met which bars my passage. It is before me in its entirety. A mystery on the other hand is something I find myself caught up in, and whose essence is therefore not before me in its entirety. It is as though in this province the distinction between "in me" and "before me" loses its meaning.
He who is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much. No initiate has ever passed the great test of initiation who has not accustomed himself to pass lesser tests every day of his life
The principal fact of life is the free mind. For good and evil, man is a free creative spirit. This produces the very queer world we live in, a world in continuous creation and therefore continuous change and insecurity. A perpetually new and lively world, but a dangerous one, full of tragedy and injustice. A world in everlasting conflict between the new idea and the old allegiances, new arts and new inventions against the old establishment.
The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own.
Few things are harder to put up with than a good example.
Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being.
The most important thing in music is what is not the notes.
Look at the world through "soft eyes." Hard eyes distinguish and judge, noting the differences between ourselves and others. Soft eyes discern instead our commonality, the web of life that weaves itself through all humanity and nature.
Trust is the bandwidth of communication.
Our behavior indicates to the world who we are and what we believe. One way to change our experience of the world is to dramatically change our behavior in it. When we change, our experience of the world will change and with it, our beliefs.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
Empowerment is not the things you do to or for people, it's the impediments you take away, leaving space for folks to empower themselves.
The wise leader knows what is happening in a group by being aware of what is happening here and now. This is more potent than wandering off into various theories or making complex interpretations of the situation at hand. Stillness, clarity, and consciousness are more immediate than any number of expeditions into the distant lands of one's mind. Such expeditions, however stimulating, distract both the leader and the group from what is actually happening. By staying present and aware of what is happening, the leader can do less yet achieve more.
The whole universe, it seems, is lawful and yet it has freedom of choice. The price for this freedom is an inability to know the final destination or to be in control of the journey.
The main challenge before all of us is to learn to organize in such a way that unpredictable things have a chance to happen.
We as leaders don't do a good enough job of explaining to people that the quality of the community cannot be seen in terms of the best-off part of the community; it's measured in terms of how the most vulnerable people are doing.
Replicating in one setting what happened in another is literally impossible. What is absolutely crucial in replication is that the assumptions, conceptions, values, and priorities undergirding what you seek to replicate are clear in your head and you take them seriously, you accept and believe them, they are non-negotiable starting points. "How to do it"" is one thing. "How to think it" is another.
You can achieve amazing things and have highly motivated, incredibly loyal people — if they think management is willing to ignore the rules to get things done.
Rather than thinking of an organization as an imposed structure, plan, design, or role, it is clear that in life, organization arises from the interactions and needs of individuals who have decided to come together.
An optimist is a person who sees only the lights in the picture, whereas a pessimist sees only the shadows. An idealist, however, is one who sees the light and the shadows, but in addition sees something else: the possibility of changing the picture, of making the lights prevail over the shadows.
All behavior consists of opposites. Learn to see things backward, inside out, and upside down.
In every office
you hear the threads
of love and joy and fear and guilt,
the cries for celebration and reassurance,
and somehow you know
that connecting those threads
is what you are supposed to do
and business takes care of itself.
We must keep the tradition and modify it so we stay resilient to change. Too traditional is loss of change; too changing is loss of meaning and memory.
"Doing good" is risky business, especially for those "done to".
The most powerful kind of leadership is to offer people pathways and permissions to do things they want to do but feel unable to do for themselves. That sort of leadership evokes energies within people that far exceed the powers of coercion.
The essence of being a leader is to make sure the organization knows itself.
The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order.
There is a quality even meaner than outright ugliness or disorder, and this meaner quality is the dishonest mask of pretended order, achieved by ignoring or suppressing the real order that is struggling to exist and to be served.
We have all had the experience of finding that our reactions and perhaps even our deeds have denied beliefs we thought were ours.
What makes reform so difficult is that we try to achieve it with methods springing from the very same belief system that we intend to reform.
The greatest challenge of the day is to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution that has to start with each one of us.
The tension of our times is that we want our organizations to behave as living systems, but we only know how to treat them as machines.
The idea of there being a best leader must die,
because it takes away the responsibility
and awareness of what needs to be done
by each individual...
The real leader can be any individual,
who is aware
of the type of process trying to happen
and makes room for it to happen.
Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err.
Human experience is usually paradoxical, that means incongruous with the phrases of current talk or even current philosophy.
I like people who are alive. People who are alive are hard to control. They have ideas, aspirations, and feelings, including anger. Nice people have the bad habit of letting me down. Nice people don't offer me anything I have not thought of before. Nice people don't save me from my mistakes. Nice people end up acting on feelings they have always had but never wanted to tell me about.
The aim is to let things and people speak for themselves. Live order forms by itself, if processes are allowed to unfold.
You can only lead others where you yourself are prepared to go.