The 10 Best Quotes For Entrepreneurs To Become Better Leaders

The 10 Best Quotes For Entrepreneurs To Become Better Leaders

Leadership | Posted by - September 1, 2017 at 12:30 am

Whether you've been in the business world for a long time or you're a newly minted entrepreneur, everyone needs trusted leadership advice. YouInc rounded up 10 of the best quotes from some of the best business thinkers in the startup industry. They're quotes with advice that will help you think and act on how you lead yourself, your teams, and your companies, and if you want to read more on their thinking, they have books, articles, and business models that you can use - we've linked to some of those resources here, as well:

"The fundamental unit of disruption is the individual." - Whitney Johnson, Author and Management Thinker

Leading management thinker Whitney Johnson wants to know, 'how are you disrupting yourself?' It's the question at the helm of her mission to empower individuals to recognize their strengths and pursue those strengths in otherwise traditionally moulded roles. 

"People talk about getting lucky breaks in their careers. I'm living proof that the 'lucky breaks' theory is simply wrong. You get to make your own luck. The world is run by those who show up, not those who wait to be asked." - Steve Blank, Founder, Lean Startup

Steve Blank created the Customer Development Methodology that later became the holy grail of startups, the lean startup methodology. What many people might not know about Blank's career is that it started with repairing fighter planes in Thailand during the Vietnam War before he arrived in Silicon Valley in the late 1970s to found eight high-technology companies in the span of 20 years. Since then his work has varied from introducing new classes at Stanford to serving as the public official of the California Coastal Commission. 

"Ordinary people are extraordinarily creative, when given a design process and tools." - Ayse Birsel, Co-founder of Birsel + Seck, & Author of Design the Life You Love

Birsel Seck believes that our life is our biggest project to be designed. She calls herself a designer of life. She puts an hour of time aside each day to reflect without judgement on what she's doing. She says, once we can break preconceptions, we can begin to shift our perspectives, and learn how to realize what we value. Seck's work is important for entrepreneurs, as we don't often separate life and work and rather see our goals as one larger life purpose. 

"Burn your business plan before it burns you." - Alex Osterwalder, Co-founder of Strategyzer

Alex Osterwalder hates business plans. The problem with business plans he says is that they're static. His PhD turned into his life's work when he created the Business Model Canvas, used by more than five million business professionals around the world, to develop better customer relationships, create better products, and grow businesses. 

"Companies run on passion, and if you can't find the passion in the work you're doing today, then you're in the wrong place." - Dave Gray, Founder of XPLANE

Dave Gray knew his passion well in the early 1990s when he founded XPLANE, to help companies visualize their business ideas through drawings. Nearly 25 years later, Gray's work has evolved to design techniques like Culture Mapping that organizations use to transform their cultures. 

"Leading in a startup is a lot like leading a group of volunteers. People are super talented and don't have to work with you, so it's important to explain the "why" of the work and the outcome you are all trying to achieve together." - David J Bland, Founder & CEO of Precoil


David J Bland shared this sentiment when he was recently asked what he learned from his first startup that he still applies today. Bland helps companies navigate uncertainty and embrace lean startup methodoogies. Bland's work, much like David Gray, and Alex Osterwalder, uses design thinking techniques and mapping.

"Find something you said 'no' to that should have been a 'yes', and make it right." - Danielle Morrill, Founder & CEO, Mattermark

Danielle Morrill has been working on startups for about 10 years; she knows how often teams say 'no' to their own ideas. Last December she blogged about saying 'yes' more often to explore the potential of great products - Mattermark had previously passed over an idea that became one of the company's most popular features. 

"To be a great boss you have to give frequent feedback, both praise and criticism. Praise is the best way of letting people know what to do more of. Criticism lets them know what to do better." - Kim Scott, Co-founder, Candor & Author of forthcoming Radical Candor

In March, Kim Scott will publish her first book, Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your HumanityScott coins the term Radical Candor as the sweet spot between bosses who are "obnoxiously aggressive on one end and ruinously empathic on the other." She employs three basic principles to help bosses give better feedback and produce better results. 

"I look for self-belief in founders, and try to size up whether that self-belief confers enough stamina for the journey ahead." - Azeem Azhar, Vice President & Head of Venture and Foresight at Schibsted

In a recent interview, Azeem Azhar, as an advisor for ventures like re:infer and Seldon, shared what he looks for in founders at companies that he might engage. His newsletter, Exponential View, shares this philosophy by exploring the implications of technology on society. He helps people understand these issues and how to participate in them rather than be a spectator. 

"You're not going to build a billion dollar business on a string of bad days. It has to be a sequence of your very best days," she says. "Your performance is tied 100% to your attitude." - Katia Verresen, Technology Leadership Coach

Bay Area and New York-based leadership coach Katia Verresen works with C-suite executives and rising leaders in early-stage startups to realize their full potential through what she calls our abundant thinking. By being our authentic selves, Verresen says we can develop more power to lead.

"Sharing our true, honest selves is how we as a community help each other." - Khalid Halim, Founder, Reboot

Khalid Halim built his company Reboot around the belief that people no longer see work as just a job or paycheck; people want to contribute to something larger than themselves. Reboot helps CEOs and employees lead as their authentic selves; he says it's about  "how to be human with other humans."

Who do you follow for leadership advice? Share your comments and quotes you turn to for advice in the comments below. 

Tags: arlene dickinson, business advice, business success, criticism, entrepreneur, leadership, leadership advice, team building

Kristen Marano

Kristen Marano covers women and their work for publications around the world. She has interviewed some of the most influential business leaders in Canada and the most passionate change makers in towns and cities as isolated as Perth, Western Australia. Most recently she interviewed Canadian businesswoman Zita Cobb about reinvigorating the economy in Newfoundland through the arts. Kristen's work encourages women to share honest and open perspectives about the emotional challenges of their journeys.

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