Robert Townsend

United States
30 Jul 1920 // 12 Jan 1998
Executive, Author

Quotes



Get to know your people. What they do well, what they enjoy doing, what their weaknesses and strengths are, and what they want and need to get from their job.

Further Up the Organization (1984)
If you don't do it excellently, don't do it at all. Because if it's not excellent, it won't be profitable or fun, and if you're not in business for fun or profit, what the hell are you doing there?

Further Up the Organization (1984)
Nobody should be chief executive officer of anything for more than five or six years. By then he's stale, bored, and utterly dependent upon his own clichés.

Up the Organization (1970)
One of the most important tasks of a manager is to eliminate his people's excuses for failure.

Further Up the Organization (1984)
Most people in big companies are administered, not led. They are treated as personnel, not people.

Further Up the Organization (1984)
The first lesson is: To hell with centralized strategic planning. If you don't have a good leader, it's all nothing; it's just a bunch of papers flying around.

Townsend's Third Degree in Leadership
If you have to have a policy manual, publish the Ten Commandments.

Up the Organization (1970)
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On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
Essays
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."
Essays