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Leadership According to Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood: Modern-Day John Wayne, an icon in American cinema, Dirty Harry himself. Clint Eastwood: Pragmatic leader? Yes, it’s true the man who made his bones as the king of the Spaghetti Western in the 1960s has evolved into one of the most celebrated auteurs of our time.  Although a film director must answer to a producer and, quite often the studio, once the cast and crew begin shooting, the director becomes CEO of the film set.

 A new book by Michael Henry Wilson, Eastwood on Eastwood, presents a series of conversations between Eastwood and Wilson over a period of 30 years. Unlike other books on Eastwood, Wilson doesn’t concern himself with Eastwood’s private life or political beliefs, but rather his work as actor and director. Eastwood’s onset demeanor is far from the archetypical temperamental, perfectionist, dictatorial tortured genius, but rather that of an efficient and pragmatic leader, who operates based on knowledge of what he knows of the medium and instinct.  

As Wilson says of Eastwood in relation to noted perfectionist, Martin Scorsese, “Marty uses every fiber of his soul… Clint is much more detached.” In other words, Eastwood remains cool, calm and collected in the high pressure, high stress atmosphere of a film shoot. He is able to channel his inner-Dirty Harry as it were. Eastwood is famous for doing as few takes as possible.  He hires a competent, highly-skilled crew and trusts that those who he hires are capable of executing in the jobs they were hired to do. Here are the top Clint Eastwood Leadership quotes. Hopefully, one or two of these will help “make your day.”

-“A good man always knows his limitations.” –Quote from the film, Magnum Force, 1973

-“I don’t believe in pessimism. If something doesn’t come up the way you want, forge ahead. If you think it’s going to rain, it will.”

-“After directing awhile, you get an instinct about it, but you have to be able to trust your own feelings. Invariably, two-thirds of the way through a film, you say, ‘Jeezus, is this a pile of crap! What did I ever see in it in the first place?’ You have to shut off your brain and forge ahead, because by that time you’re getting so brainwashed. Once I commit myself to a film I commit myself to that ending, whatever the motivations and conclusions are.”

-“As we grow old, we must discipline ourselves to continue expanding, broadening, learning, keeping our minds active and open.”

-“…I like to direct the same way that I like to be directed.”

-“Most people like the magic of having it take a long time and be difficult . . . but I like to move along, I like to keep the actors feeling like they`re going somewhere, I like the feeling of coming home after every day and feeling like you`ve done something and you`ve progressed somewhere. And to go in and do one shot after lunch and another one maybe at six o`clock and then go home is not my idea of something to do.”


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9 Great Leadership Quotes from 9 Not-So-Great Presidents

It’s pretty easy to put together a list of great Presidential leadership quotes if you rely on Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson, FDR and Reagan. But how about extracting inspiring words from the less famous (and in many cases far less talented) Presidents? Well believe it or not, the forgettable have actually said some memorable things. Please enjoy 9 Great Presidential Quotes from some of our lesser Commanders in Chief.

1. “It is not strange… to mistake change for progress.”  Millard Fillmore (1850-1853) 

2. “Frequently the more trifling the subject, the more animated and protracted the discussion.”  Franklin Pierce (1853-1857)

3. “It would be judicious to act with magnanimity towards a prostrate foe.” Zachary Taylor (1849-1850)

4. “Failure to accord credit to anyone for what he may have done is a great weakness in any man.”  William Howard Taft (1909-1913)

5. “The bold enterprises are the successful ones. Take counsel of hopes rather than of fears to win in this business.” Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881)

6. “The government should not be guided by Temporary Excitement, but by Sober Second Thought.” Martin VanBuren (1837-1841)

7. “A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits.”  Richard M. Nixon (1969-1974)

8. “It takes a great man to be a good listener.” Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929)

9. “It’s not necessary to fear the prospect of failure but to be determined not to fail.” Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)

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7 (complete lack of) Leadership Quotes from Donald Trump

I am sure by the time I post this blog, Donald Trump will have fallen a few more percentage points in his vainglorious attempt at capturing/buying the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination. But before he’s back to just being the world’s greatest everything-but-President of the United States, I thought I would list a few quotes that show Mr. Trump’s seeming lack of real leadership skills. Just because you’re a great businessman doesn’t make you a great leader. Last time I checked, Abe Lincoln’s chain of resort golf courses were still only in the planning stages, so the two don’t necessarily go hand in hand. 

I am sure Mr. Trump would disagree with my assessment (please, let him send me an angry email), but just to be clear I am only having a little innocent fun with an über-powerful man who most likely owns our building and thus holds my livelihood in his strong, masculine, God-like hands. OK enough with the keywords, let’s get to the list!

1. “Everything in life is luck.”

2. “A little more moderation would be good. Of course, my life hasn’t exactly been one of moderation.”

3. “Show me someone without an ego, and I’ll show you a loser.”

4. “All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.”

5. “I’m a bit of a P. T. Barnum. I make stars out of everyone.”

6. “Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game.”

…and last, but certainly not least:

7. “When I build something for somebody, I always add $50 million or $60 million onto the price. My guys come in; they say it’s going to cost $75 million. I say it’s going to cost $125 million, and I build it for $100 million. Basically, I did a lousy job. But they think I did a great job.”

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Top 10 Basketball Leadership Quotes

With March Madness in the air, I thought it would be a great time to list my 10 favorite basketball leadership quotes. Enjoy and good luck  filling out your bracket!

 1. “The best teams have chemistry. They communicate with each other and they sacrifice personal glory for the common goal.” — Dave DeBusschere

2. “Talent wins games, but team work and intelligence wins championships.” —Michael Jordan

3. “One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team.” —Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

4. “Whatever a leader does now sets up what he does later. And there’s always a later.” — Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K)

5. “A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.” — John Wooden

6. “The key is not the “will to win” . . . everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” — Bobby Knight

7.  “No matter what business you’re in, you can’t run in place or someone will pass you by. It doesn’t matter how many games you’ve won.”  — Jimmy Valvano

8. “To have long term success as a coach or in any position of leadership, you have to be obsessed in some way.”  — Pat Reily

9. “What you specifically teach is what your players will do best.” — Dick Bennett

 10. “I think that basketball players should get the job done no matter how it looks on the screen”.  — Oscar Robertson
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9 (Funny) Leadership Quotes From Euripides to Groucho Marx

It’s important to realize that the ability to laugh at yourself is actually key to having a good life and being a good leader. So take a few minutes off from the pressures of leading and/or being led, and enjoy my top 9 favorite humorous (and often painfully true) quotes on leadership.

1. Ten soldiers wisely led will beat a hundred without a head. – Euripides

2. It is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it… anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. – Douglas Adams

3. The man who smiles when things go wrong has thought of someone to blame it on. – Robert Bloch

4. It’s hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse. – Adlai Stevenson

5. If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. – The Bible

6. You do not lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not leadership. – Dwight Eisenhower

7. A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. – Groucho Marx

8. A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. – George Bernard Shaw

9. By trying we can easily endure adversity. Another man’s, I mean. – Mark Twain