Rules for Stifling Innovation

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in Leadership

1.  Regard any new idea from below with suspicion—because it’s new, and because it’s from below.

2.  Insist that people who need your approval to act first go through several other levels of management to get their signatures.

3.  Ask departments or individuals to challenge and criticize each other’s proposals.  (That saves you the job of deciding; you just pick the survivor.)

4.  Express your criticisms freely, and withhold your praise.  (That keeps people on their toes.)  Let them know they can be fired at any time.

5.  Treat identification of problems as signs of failure, to discourage people from letting you know when something in their area isn’t working.

6.  Control everything carefully.  Make sure people count anything that can be counted, frequently.

7.  Make decisions to reorganize or change policies in secret, and spring them on people unexpectedly.  (That also keeps people on their toes.)

8.  Make sure that requests for information are fully justified, and make sure that it is not given out to managers freely.  (You don’t want data to fall into the wrong hands.)

9.  Assign to lower-level managers, in the name of delegation and participation, responsibility for figuring out how to cut back, lay off, move people around, or otherwise implement threatening decisions you have made.  And get them to do it quickly.

10.  And above all, never forget that you, the higher-ups, already know everything important about this business.

Source:  Rosabeth Moss Kanter, The Change Masters

What You Are Is As Important As What You Do

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in Leadership

It was a sunny Saturday afternoon in Oklahoma City.  My friend and proud father Bobby Lewis was taking his two little boys to play miniature golf.  He walked up to the fellow at the ticket counter and said, “How much is it to get in?”

The young man replied, “$3.00 for you and $3.00 for any kid who is older than six.  We let them in free if they are six or younger.  How old are they?”

Bobby replied, “The lawyer’s three and the doctor is seven, so I guess I owe you $6.00.”

The man at the ticket counter said, “Hey Mister! Did you just win the lottery or something? You could have saved yourself three bucks.  You could have told me the older one was six; I wouldn’t have known the difference.”

Bobby replied, “Yes, that may be true, but the kids would have known the difference.”

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.” 

In challenging times when ethics are more important than ever before, make sure you set a good example for everyone you work and live with.

Watch Your Words…

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in Leadership

There was a little boy with a bad temper.  His father gave him a bag of nails and told him to hammer a nail in the back fence every time he lost control.

The first day, the boy drove 37 nails into the fence.  Then it gradually dwindled down.  He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally, the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all.  His father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.  The father led his son to the fence.

“You have done well, but look at the holes in the fence, ” he said.  “When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like the nail holes.  You can put a knife in a person and draw it out.  It won’t matter how many times you say ‘I’m sorry,’ the wound is still there.  A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.”

Great Expectations

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in Leadership

On the first day of school, a teacher was glancing over the roll when she noticed a number after each student’s name, such as 154, 136 or 142.

“Wow! Look at these IQ’s!” she said to herself.  “What a terrific class.”  The teacher promptly determined to work harder with this class than with any other she ever had.

Throughout the year, she came up with innovative lessons that she thought would challenge the students, because she didn’t want them to get bored with work that was too easy.

Her plan worked! The class outperformed all the other classes that she taught in the usual way.

Then, during the last quarter of the year, she discovered what those numbers after the students’ names really were:  their locker numbers.

How often do you determine your degree of effort or dedication to the task by your preconceived expectations, good or bad?

“High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectations.” ~ Charles F. Kettering

Failures … But Not Quite

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in Motivation

After Fred Astaire’s first screen test, a 1933 memo from the MGM testing director said, “Can’t act.  Slightly bald.  Can dance a little.”  Astaire kept that memo over the fireplace in his Beverly Hills home.

A relatively unsuccessful marketer of restaurant equipment, he didn’t sell his first hamburger until age 52. At a time when many people prepare for retirement, Ray Kroc built McDonald’s from a handful of hamburger stands into the world’s largest food chain.

When his older brother was killed during WWII, he first withdrew into a shell.  Then he began to listen to the radio to ease his pain.  Soon he was dreaming about hosting his own radio show.  That led Dick Clark to start American Bandstand.

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper for lacking ideas.  He also went bankrupt several times.  If he had quit too soon after his theme park concept was trashed 302 times, there would be no Disneyland.

If Howard Schultz gave up after being turned down by banks 242 times, there would be no STARBUCKS.

If J.K. Rowling stopped after being turned down by publishers for years, there would be no HARRY POTTER.

One thing is for sure: If you give up too soon, you’ll never know what you’ll be missing. Keep going and NEVER quit! Define success on YOUR terms and don’t let anyone else define it for you! It’s never too late to set a new goal!

Well-Rounded Wellness

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in General

When most people think of wellness, they think of physical and emotional health, but there’s more.  Here are eight dimensions of wellness to think about.  Each dimension can affect others so ensure you’re healthy in all areas.

Social:  Have positive relationships with family, friends and co-workers; enjoy spending time with others — whether talking or doing something together.

Emotional:  Understand yourself and your feelings — both good and bad — and find healthful ways to deal with life’s ups and downs.

Spiritual:  Have peace in your life, know your purpose, and make sure what you do matches what you truly believe.

Environmental:  Get involved in making your environments — your home, community and planet — better places for yourself and others.

Occupational:  Enjoy your job, and make sure you keep a work-life balance.

Intellectual:  Open your mind to new ideas, experiences and lifelong learning to keep life interesting.

Physical:  Choose a healthful lifestyle that includes eating right and exercising while avoiding bad habits so you have the energy and body to live life to its fullest.

Financial:  Understand that money can’t buy happiness and have enough money for your needs and wants without going into debt.

Source:  University of California, Riverside

Amazing Mission Statement

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in Leadership, Motivation

As Corporate Mission Statements go, we’ve all undoubtedly seen several dozen over the course of our careers.  Most are filled with words that the authors undoubtedly felt obligated to include:  service, customers, employees, values.  But it’s rare to actually find one that seems to reflect something deeper, more meaningful, one of real substance.

I’d like to use today’s blog to share the Mission Statement of Holstee, Inc. and the story behind it because, to me, it represents the very best of what leadership, business and even life should include.  I hope you’ll find it inspirational and that it motivates you….

Holstee is an exceptional New York-based company that sells eco-friendly clothing and accessories.

Here’s the story behind the Company and what led up to its incredible “Manifesto” as told on it’s website (

“In the heat of the recession in May 2009, brothers Mike and Dave and their partner, Fabian started Holstee. More than a company, or clothes, the trio wanted to create a lifestyle. Starting in the summer of 2009 they dove head first into the world of design and production. After six months and a huge learning curve, Holstee launched its first line of Recycled Tees made of 100% recycled plastic bottles that were milled, cut and sewn within 150 miles of each other in North Carolina. Starting with this first round, 10% of all sales were lent to entrepreneurs in extreme poverty through non-profit micro-lending organizations like – a tradition they are proud to still embrace.

In the months leading up to the summer of 2009, Holstee was just a small side project. We had sold a hundred or so shirts, mostly to family and close friends looking to support us. Having just quit our jobs without a plan or idea of how we would spend our days, we were filled with a ton of raw energy, emotion, and ideas – a feeling that we never wanted to forget. So the first thing Holstee’s three founders – Mike, Fabian and Dave – did was sit together on the steps of Union Square and write down exactly what was on their minds and the tips of their tongues. It wasn’t about shirts and it wasn’t about their old jobs. It was about what they wanted from life and how to create a company that breathes that passion into the world everyday. It was a reminder of what we live for. The result became known as the Holstee Manifesto.

Through all avenues of social media, our Manifesto has been viewed over 80,000,000 times.”


“This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often.  If you don’t like something, change it. If you don’t like your job, quit. If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing the things you love…  Stop over analyzing, life is simple.  All emotions are beautiful.  When you eat, appreciate every last bite.  Open your mind, arms and heart to new things and people, we are united in our differences.  Ask the next person you see what their passion is, and share your inspiring dream with them.  Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself.  Some opportunities only come once, seize them.  Life is about the people you meet, and the things you create with them, so go out and start creating. Life is short. Live your dream and share your passion.”

The Artists Have Always Gotten Passion!

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in Motivation

So What Is Passion Anyways?

We all probably have a pretty good idea of what passion is. The dictionary describes it as “a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything, such as a passion for music.”   I like that description because when I think about where passion is often exhibited, it is often in the arts.

The artists have always gotten it!

Beethoven said, “To play without passion is inexcusable!”

Martha Graham was an American dancer & choreographer regarded as one of the foremost pioneers of modern dance, whose influence on dance can be compared to the influence Stravinsky had on music, Picasso had on the visual arts, or Frank Lloyd Wright had on architecture. She said, “Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.”

Van Gogh vowed, “I would rather die of passion than of boredom.”

Midori Komatsu said it this way: “Passion is what drives us crazy, what makes us do extraordinary things, to discover, to challenge ourselves. Passion is and should always be the heart of courage.”

Surely we have all seen the differences between the musician who plays with great passion, the actor who embraces his role until it consumes him or the painter who pours her very soul into the canvas. While certainly all of those talents include a great amount of the sciences and mathematics, it is the passion with which the performer acts that draws us in, that compels us to live the story unfolding. It is never satisfied with just going through the motions.

Find passion in your life! For some, it’s a career. For others, it’s giving back to the community by donating time, money or talent to a worthy cause. For still others, it is some form of the arts, perhaps music, dance or theatre either professionally or community. Many find their passion in establishing a family and raising their children.

The key is not the WHAT that you are passionate about! It is that you spend every day doing what you love to do, throwing yourself in to it with all the love and passion it deserves, as though it is the very thing you live for! It should be!

A Lesson in Life Passion

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in Leadership, Motivation

“You’re good for nothing! You’ll be back in three weeks!” Words of a father spoken to his son, a young man as he was leaving home to embark on his passion to work in a kitchen. A month later, the chef for whom he went to work told him, “You’re good for nothing! Go back home to your mother!” He fired the young man.

We’ve all heard similar phrases and perhaps unfortunately maybe we’ve even used them ourselves to our children, our coworkers, our friends or our family:

  • You CAN’T do that!
  • You’re not smart enough!
  • You’re not pretty enough!
  • You’re too fat!
  • You’re too skinny!
  • Only rich people get to do that!
  • It’s WHO you know that lets you do ANYTHING in life!

The first time a child hears one of these phrases or 100’s of others like them begins for many a lifetime of programming for failure, for defeat, for complacency. Whether uttered by parents, siblings, friends, teachers, coaches, religious leaders, this negative programming can begin to dominate our thinking, how we see ourselves, how we believe other people see us. Playing over and over again in our heads, it begins to drive our decisions, our actions, our relationships, our lives….

That young boy doesn’t pursue the career of becoming a chef because he’s told he’s not good enough, boys don’t belong in the kitchen and you can’t make money flipping hamburgers. He’s told it takes money to make money and where is he going to get the money for culinary school, for a restaurant, for staff.

But, you see, for the person with the dream, tragically and all too often they will succumb to all this programming, become discouraged, give up on their dreams and accept something less than they really want for themselves. It takes away what they love to do, what they most care about becoming.

You see, what we’re talking about here is PASSION! Oprah Winfrey said, “Your true passion should feel like breathing; it’s that natural.”

Passion is something that should be a constant in our lives, children and adults. Think about the beauty and innocence of the child as they discover the world for the first time! EVERYTHING is new, EVERYTHING is exciting.

But sadly, as we grow up, our lives become routine, stagnant and monotonous. We gave up on our dreams years ago because we were programmed into believing we give up what we love doing to have a family, because we have a job with a lot of responsibility or long hours, because it’s irresponsible and selfish to think about what we really dream of doing in life when we have other people to think about. Sounds a little like the messages we were talking about earlier? Same junk in a slightly more grown up wrapper.

Remember, the little boy we talked about in the beginning? Can you imagine facing your father after that? His father basically told him he was a failure; the chef repeated it and he even got fired.

That night, he wanted to jump in the river and wanted to kill himself. He stood on the bridge for an hour and he wanted to jump because he couldn’t face going back home. But suddenly, he had a thought and he decided, “You know, I’m just going to go back tomorrow and see what happens.” The hotel’s owner took pity on him and sent him to work at a different hotel in the same city.

You see, his dogged determination and passion for what he loved ultimately paid off. Today, he’s a celebrity chef sitting atop a $350 million culinary empire that includes upscale and casual restaurants, prepared foods, cookbooks, television programs and housewares. You know him as Wolfgang Puck.

He didn’t give up on his passion. He refused to walk away from his dreams. He didn’t forego having a family. He didn’t become an irresponsible or selfish individual. Quite the contrary, he has created tens of thousands of jobs that not only allows those employees to support themselves and their families, but to pursue dreams of their own.

Wolfgang had undying courage to pursue the life he chose. Joyce Meyer, in her book I Dare You: Embrace Life with Passion, said “Courage is fear that has said its prayers and decided to go forward anyway.”

You can pursue the dreams of your childhood and still have all the things that life has to offer! In fact, they’ll be phenomenally better because you’ll rush every day with excitement, with joy and with PASSION!

Road to Hana & Life

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in Motivation

On Wednesday, I continued my visit to Maui by traveling the amazing Road to Hana. If you’re not familiar with it, the Hana Highway, as it is officially known, is a 68-mile stretch which connects Kahului with the town of Hana in east Maui. Although Hana is only about 52 miles away, it takes about 2.5 hours to drive each way with no stops because the highway is very winding and narrow and it passes over 59 bridges, 46 of which are only one lane wide. There are approximately 620 curves, virtually all of it through lush, tropical rainforest. It’s easily understood why it’s so popular with tourists because it is arguably one of the most beautiful sites Mother Nature offers!

As I made this trek (it took me about 7 hours with obligatory stops for banana bread, fresh coconut and star fruits!), I spent some time reflecting on how this adventure is a wonderful analogy to Life. It’s been said that the Road to Hana should never be rushed, it’s not about the destination but about the journey!

And that is so true about life in general, isn’t it? Life isn’t about rushing to a destination, about trying to get somewhere or achieve some major feat. It’s about savoring the moment, every day! As I was driving and saw all the memorials along the path, I was also reminded of a quote from Tony Gaskins that I had tweeted earlier this week: “Wake up MOTIVATED! Not everybody made it, so don’t take it for granted!”

Hana parallels life in many other ways too. 620 curves, so many of them almost complete switchbacks! When we get too comfortable in life and we think we know just where we’re going and how everything’s going to be, life throws us a curve, sometimes a very big one and sends us in a completely different direction!

Just as with Hana where you go around one of those curves and find yourself then staring at a waterfall that plummets hundreds of feet and the sheer beauty of it takes your breath away, so life sometimes will close one door but open a better one!

The 59 bridges to Hana, 46 only wide enough for one car to squeeze through, where you often have to yield to the oncoming traffic to clear before you can proceed, reminded me that life sometimes makes us wait and gives us timing we don’t always like or expect. It means waiting for someone else to do their part or to have their way or waiting for something else to happen first before our goals or expectations can proceed. From those experiences, we learn patience and humility.

The Road to Hana is literally abundant with so many amazing sites to see around every turn! Inspiring views of the surf crashing hundreds of feet below the narrow path you travel, lush rainforest so green and thick and vibrant, the faces of hardworking people working their lands. I thought how life gives us those opportunities everyday too, showing us so many sites to behold and people with whom we interact and the differences we make in each other’s lives. Sometimes it’s mentoring someone, sometimes it’s giving food to eat or a place to sleep, sometimes it’s as simple as giving a smile to someone who doesn’t expect it.

My challenge to you today is to take the time to greet someone you might normally walk past and have a genuine conversation with them! Really focus on learning things about them and what makes them uniquely interesting!

While you’re at it, break from your regular routine and do something special that causes you to appreciate something beautiful around you. Take the time to walk on the beach or through the woods. Go for a drive. Take in a play or a concert. Give back to a worthwhile cause!

Trust me, you’ll find it addictive!

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