As business leaders and entrepreneurs, having laser-like focus on earning profits, coupled with a steadfast will to win, are only as good as the purpose that drives them. And let’s face it, driving can get old very quickly.
Humour helps keep things fresh and recharges the entrepreneurial batteries to keep you on the road to business domination.
So, instead of the tired motivational posters of heartfelt quotes and a picture of a mountain or something equally forgettable, here are six entertaining quotes with leadership implications that every entrepreneur should know.
I’ll always find a lazy person to do a difficult job… he’ll find an easy way to do it.
— Bill Gates
A spin on the saying, ‘if you want something done quickly, give it to a busy person,’ Bill Gates injects humour into an important business lesson. Taken literally, the result of giving a task to a genuinely lazy person is likely to be a half-assed job. However, the principle expressed here is to find the right, even if unusual, person to do the right task. Look for latent talent, intellectual clarity and composure to get difficult tasks done efficiently.
Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.
— Elbert Hubbard
When stress builds and you’re at wit’s end, just remember one thing: It can always be worse. Always. It pays to have a sense of humour for two reasons. First, it tells other people that you’re somebody who doesn’t get flustered under pressure. Second, when you look for the humour, you create emotional anchors to those stressful situations.
An anchor is an emotional imprint spurred by memory that puts you in a happy (or bad) mental place. If you can anchor yourself to humour in times of havoc, your brain will begin to associate stress with positivity rather than trepidation.
Life is tough, but tougher when you’re stupid.
— John Wayne
There’s a fine line between confidence and conceit, and indecision and exploration. Knowing your boundaries is paramount to leading effectively. Overconfidence can lead to complacency if one’s arrogance gets the better of him, and indecision can be masked as an ‘exploratory phase’ to avoid appearing weak in others’ eyes. Strong leaders know when to ‘slow roll’ and when to defer to the experts.
The 7 Ps: Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance
— British Army
Let’s face it, the five Ps of marketing and strategy can be boring. Here, the British army use humour and shock with a mild expletive, to help make the life-saving adage memorable. As a leader, find creative ways to spice up fundamentals and motivate your team. Whether it’s project planning or life-or-death situations, proper planning that’s well-managed will get you the results you want.
If someone says ‘you’re one in a million,’ they’re telling you that there are 7 038 people just like you.
— Sheldon Cooper
No matter how high up the ladder you climb, just remember one thing: You’re never too good to take out the garbage. Arrogance and an overbearing ego is probably the quickest way to turn away people. The most effective leaders are those who are authentic, humble, and realise that there are other people out there in the universe who may be smarter than them.
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.
— Steve Martin
Stating the obvious is painful if you’re on the receiving end. However, the deeper rooted issue in playing Captain Obvious is that there is a disconnect between what you expect people to know and what they actually do. In other words, a gap in knowledge sharing exists. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have had to put on the captain’s hat. Share what you know with others such that your people are on the same page as you. Doing so will free up your time because they won’t have to be told anything, they’ll just do.
Tracy-Lee Nicol is an experienced business writer and magazine editor. She was awarded a Masters degree with distinction from Rhodes university in 2010, and in the time since has honed her business acumen and writing skills profiling some of South Africa's most successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, franchisees and franchisors.Find her on Google+.