Over the past 30 years, I have presented a lot of workshops and seminars and have a standard set of quotes that I use all the time. I even embed many of them into the toolkits that I sell that other people can use.

So, the thought struck me to put some of them out for more general availability, since so many supervisors and managers are looking for ideas and tools to improve their communications. Sometimes, having a one-liner can fit perfectly into a workplace discussion around issues and opportunities.

My most favorite quote has been used many times in my blog posts — I used it yesterday, actually. This one is from Joseph Heller, author of the book, Catch 22. In the first couple of pages of his sequel, Closing Time, Heller writes:

“Nothing made sense, and neither did everything else.”

So, I thought to post up a few of them in the start of a series of posts. And I will leave them as unformatted, so that you can simply copy and paste. Let me also mention that my most favorite closing story, The Moose Joke, is available to download from my website — there is a pictorial flipbook on this page but you can actually download the powerpoints with speaking notes by signing up.

Here are a few:

Between the idea and the reality,
Between the motion and the act,
Falls the Shadow.
   TS Eliot    (Question: What are some Best Ideas for managing The Shadow?)

 The First Rule of Holes: When you’re in one, stop digging.

 A superior pilot uses his superior judgment to avoid situations that require the use of his superior skill. (Old Aviation Proverb)

Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.
         Mark Twain

You don’t get harmony when everybody sings the same note.
         Doug Floyd

Ships in a harbor are safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.
         John Shedd

If a man knows what harbor he seeks, any wind is the right wind.

Any one can hold the helm when the sea is calm.  (
Publilius Syrus)

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. 
- Max DePree

When what you are doing isn’t working, you tend to do more of the same and with greater intensity.
– Dr. Bill Maynard & Tom Champoux Heart, Soul and Spirit

Luis Polonia averaged .293 in 13 years of professional baseball. On his second trade from the NY Yankees, he said:  “The Yankees are only interested in one thing. And I don’t know what that is.”

To get rid of the corporate mummies, you have to get rid of corporate pyramids first.         (Advertisement for Origin in Wired Magazine 3.12)

Irish Poem:
May those who love us, love us

And those that don’t love us, may god turn their hearts.
And if he doesn’t turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles,
So we will know them by their limp.

Don’t pay any attention to the critics – don’t even ignore them.
         Samuel Goldwyn

 Nothing is ever as dangerous as having “The Answer.”
       (That’s “the” as in “duh.”)

Descartes:   To do is to be.
Voltaire:   To be is to do.
Sinatra:   Do be do be do.

If caterpillars were meant to fly, god would have given them wings.

If you like these, let me know and I can post up some more of them,

For the FUN of It!

Scott small pic

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant. 
Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com

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