Thoughts on leadership and community


We’re getting close to 40 Under Forty time, when our sister publication, The Business Journal of Tri-Cities TN/VA honors 40 professionals under the age of 40 who are rising stars in the business community. 2017 marks the 25th year of 40 Under Forty, meaning we’ll have honored 1,000 young leaders. Past honorees have included individuals who would become CEOs, successful entrepreneurs, not-for-profit directors and elected officials. In short, the community leaders of tomorrow are 40 Under Forty honorees today.

Every year at the gala (Oct. 6 at the Millennium Centre, mark your calendars), I end the festivities with a quote from Dr. Henry Kissinger, whom the over-40 crowd will remember as Richard Nixon’s secretary of state. Kissinger said, “A leader is someone who takes the people from where they are to where they have not been.” Then I remind the young leaders in the room there are a great many wonderful places we have not yet been, and tell them we are looking forward to following them to these places. It sets a proper tone of mixed responsibility and optimistic enthusiasm.

But I’ve been doing that for the better part of ten years now, and so I’ve been casting about this year for something new, yet equally – or even more – appropriate than the Kissinger quote. Turns out there are hundreds of quotable statements flying around on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media platforms. And that’s before I hit google or my collection of books (remember books?) of quotes.

Here are a few I won’t be using at this year’s gala, but that I think are worthy of attention.


Don’t underestimate the power of your vision to change the world. Whether that world is your office, your community, an industry or a global movement, you need to have a core belief that what you contribute can fundamentally change the paradigm or way of thinking about problems.

– Leroy Hood


Success in leadership requires learning as fast as the world is changing.

– Warren Bennis


Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things.

–  Peter Drucker


Community is much more than belonging to something; it is about doing something together that makes belonging matter.

– Brian Solis


Time management is an oxymoron. Time is beyond our control, and the clock keeps ticking regardless of how we lead our lives. Priority management is the answer to maximizing the time we have.

– John Maxwell


No matter how good you think you are as a leader, my goodness, the people around you will have all kinds of ideas for how you can get better. So for me, the most fundamental thing about leadership is to have the humility to continue to get feedback and to try to get better – because your job is to try to help everybody else get better.

– Jim Yong Kim


Leadership is not about the next election; it’s about the next generation.

–  Simon Sinek


A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.

–   Lao Tzu


Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.

– Steve Jobs


Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you are a leader, success is all about growing others.

–  Jack Welch


You have to think anyway, so why not think big?

–  Donald Trump


The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.

– Harvey Firestone


You have to enable and empower people to make decisions independent of you. As I’ve learned, each person on a team is an extension of your leadership; if they feel empowered by you they will magnify your power to lead.

– Tom Ridge


A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back to the crowd.

–  Max Lucado


Example is leadership.

–  Albert Schweitzer


High expectations are the key to everything.

–  Sam Walton


When all is said and done, the real citadel of strength of any community is in the hearts and minds and desires of those who dwell there.

–  Everett Dirkson


Community service has taught me all kinds of skills and increased my confidence. You go out there and think on your feet, work with others and create something from nothing. That’s what life’s all about.

–  Andrew Shue


If it’s lonely at the top, then you’re doing leadership wrong.

–  Henry Cloud


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