Sayings that resonate

imagesI had been involved with an executive search.  It is a fascinating experience.  We have had the privilege of meeting with some really interesting people.  Some of their tidbits have really resonated with me.  Of course each of them apply to any company particularly a start-up.

My favorite line was that someone said that they were given the autonomy to fail.  That is big.  I am a big believer in that.  Micro-managing doesn’t do anyone any good.  It doesn’t let your employees grow and it doesn’t create a healthy environment.  Giving autonomy is giving trust.

Then I heard someone say we were encouraged to be curious.  Curiosity is the key to life.  It keeps you engaged and your mind active.  Particularly when it comes to children.  All children should be encouraged to be curious and ask as many questions as possible.

Here are a few others.  Constantly manage your environment.  Never let a good crisis go to waste.  No generation can take a vacation from history.  Good managers think dimensionally and hire people better than them.

I am loving all of these bits of wisdom.   Particularly the one about autonomy to fail.

Comments (Archived):

  1. AMT Editorial Staff

    Glad to see you connect the tidbits to raising kids. Parents need to back off and give kids the freedom to fail & the earlier the better. Resilience/Grit is the reward. Micro-managing = helicopter parenting. Was just re-reading a parenting book and a preschooler couldn’t go to the bathroom the day mom wasn’t there. Why? Because “mommy claps for me.” Teacher says, “well you can clap for yourself.” Problem solved.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Clap for yourself. Love that.

  2. Brandon Burns

    I love bits of wisdom like this, too. It’s too bad that so often people don’t (or can’t) put their own wisdom to practice.Example: I know heaps of people who preach the mantra of hiring people better than oneself. Like, everyone says this — but most everyone is fearful of, or just plain don’t like people who are smarter than them, whether its expressed consciously or not.I have a friend who’s a startup CEO that lives by this mantra. If you were interviewing him, he would tell you all the great things about the people he has hired that are “smarter” than him. It would be bullshit. He has hired zero people that are actually smarter than him because he’s too insecure, and his instinct to protect himself is much stronger than that learned bit of wisdom. But he knows that saying “hire people smarter than you” is good to do, and makes him sound smart when he says it, and he might even believe that he’s actually doing it. A mind in denial is a powerful thing.The conscious mind may have great pieces of wisdom, but that doesn’t mean it’ll seep into the unconscious mind and actually help guide your true behavior. Instincts trump wisdom every time. And someone’s instincts are a lot harder to suss out in an interview.

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Another trap is when impostor syndrome leads one to think *everyone* is smarter. I’ve done that. Hired someone I figured MUST be smarter than me only to learn the hard way that they weren’t. Done it more than once.

      1. Brandon Burns

        Yep. What people say they do is often not what they actually do.Sucks for both hiring and dating!

      2. Erin

        Ha! Yes. I get this.

    2. Susan Rubinsky

      Yes, it takes a really strong person to truly hire someone smarter. And then allow that smarter person that autonomy to fail.

  3. Susan Rubinsky

    These are all really great. I always say: surround yourself with people who are strong where you are weak.

    1. Gotham Gal

      That’s good too

    2. Brandon Burns

      I like this much better than “hire people smarter than you.” It’s a lot easier for people to get comfortable with the idea of hiring, say, someone who’s a natural talent with sales when they’re not. It’s also more specific; it gets to *how* to hire people smarter than you.

      1. LE

        Hiring someone who knows something you don’t (“smarter than you”) is difficult if you don’t know anything about the topic yourself or have little skill in that area. Unless you are a large enough business to have people who can find that person or get a qualified referral. One of the reasons I don’t like trite phrases. The devil is in the details (a trite phrase of course).

    3. Cam MacRae

      I know a guy who actually does this; he now owns an island 🙂

  4. NicholeSmaglick

    Thanks so much for sharing these. It was a great start to my day. This and your recent post about a college education and the need for creative thinkers have spawned some good conversations over here. Much appreciated!

    1. Gotham Gal

      Glad to hear it

  5. Cam MacRae

    One of the reasons organizations cease to innovate is that they transfer corporate risk to personnel, that is, they offer the autonomy to fail in name only. If you smack your people for a good decision with a poor result you’ve completed the transfer and henceforth your organization will only make incremental bets.Perhaps you should hire the person that hired that person!

  6. pointsnfigures

    “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”-George S. Patton.

  7. pointsnfigures

    Not a big fan of never let a crisis go to waste….Sometimes managing a crisis just means to put your hand on the keel a little stronger. There is a storm and you didn’t do anything to cause it. I am reminded of that again and again when I traded and saw markets go nuts, people react in a nutty way or over manage their positions, only to have things calm down and they found themselves into a position that they had to over manage in calm times.

  8. TanyaMonteiro

    Brilliant bits of wisdom to remember in one blog post, Thank you!