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Some Of The Greatest Motivational Quotes From CEOs This Year

At times this year when the world’s moral compass seemed to be at its lowest point, CEOs stepped up and gave us some motivating words to encourage all leaders and people to learn from the past but stay focused on the future. Here are some of our favorite quotes from CEOs in 2017. As we move into a new year, we look forward to continuing to be inspired by America’s and the world’s business leaders.

Making Social Responsibility Pervasive

“It should no longer be just about typical ‘corporate social responsibility’ (or that horrible acronym CSR) where the ‘responsibility’ bit is usually the realm of a small team buried in a basement office – now it should be about every single person in a business taking responsibility to make a difference in everything they do, at work and in their personal lives.” Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, in a LinkedPost he published April 4, 2017

Coming Together for the Greater Good

“Business leaders must work together to bridge our political, religious and cultural differences, which is more important now than ever before. Our democracy is too precious to be torn apart by our differences. Something greater than ourselves is at stake.” Stanley Bergman, chairman and CEO of Henry Schein, Inc., in his acceptance speech as Chief Executive’s 2017 CEO of the Year

Thinking Like Humans

“I’m not worried about artificial intelligence giving computers the ability to think like humans. I’m more concerned about people thinking like computers without values or compassion, without concern for consequences. That is what we need you to help us guard against. Because if science is a search in the darkness, then the humanities are a candle that shows us where we’ve been and the danger that lies ahead.” Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, in his commencement address to graduates of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, June 9, 2017

Robots and Artificial Intelligence

“In 30 years, a robot will likely be on the cover of Time magazine as the best CEO. Machines will do what human beings are incapable of doing. Machines will partner and cooperate with humans, rather than become mankind’s biggest enemy.” Jack Ma, founder and chairman, Alibaba, addressing an entrepreneurship conference in central China, April 24, 2017

Risk Tends to Find Us

“We spend a lot of time looking for systemic risk; in truth, however, risk tends to find us. During such scary periods, you should never forget two things: First, widespread fear is your friend as an investor, because it serves up bargain purchases. Second, personal fear is your enemy.” Warren E. Buffet, chairman, Berkshire-Hathaway, in his address to shareholders, Omaha, Nebraska, February 25, 2017

A Bold Vision Statement

“G.M.’s vision is a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.” Mary Barra, chairman and CEO of General Motors, in a speech in Shanghai, China, September 1, 2017

Executive Recognition

“It occurred to me that I never thank the parents of my executives for the gift of their child to PepsiCo. So I started to write personal letters to the parents expressing my thanks. It is always a positive report card. I won’t write anything else. The letters opened a floodgate of emotions. The parents are so delighted about getting the letter, they tell neighbors, uncles and aunts, and then the executives say, my God, this is the best thing that happened to my parents, and best thing to happen to me as an executive.” Indra Nooyi, CEO PepsiCo, on Bloomberg’s The David Rubenstein Show, January 4, 2017

Taking Risks

“When I’m 80 years old, I want to have minimized the number of regrets I have. I think  our biggest regrets, in most cases, turn out to be acts of omission. It’s paths not taken and they haunt us. Once I thought about it that way, it was immediately obvious to me. I knew that when I’m 80, I would never regret trying this thing that I was super excited about and it failing. If it failed, fine. I would be very proud of the fact when I’m 80 that I tried. And I also knew that it would always haunt me if I didn’t try. It would be 100 percent chance of regret if I didn’t try and basically a zero percent chance of regret if I tried and failed. So I think that’s a useful metric for any important life decision.” Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, on his decision to leave a good job to start Amazon, recounted in a “Conversation Between Jeff and Mark Bezos,” Los Angeles, Summit LA17, November 4, 2017 (Mark Bezos, who works at the Robin Hood Foundation, is Jeff Bezos’ younger brother)

Beware of Those Who Want to Slow You Down

“It’s good to be idealistic. But be prepared to be misunderstood. Anyone working on a big vision will get called crazy, even if you end up right. Anyone working on a complex problem will get blamed for not fully understanding the challenge, even though it’s impossible to know everything upfront. Anyone taking initiative will get criticized for moving too fast, because there’s always someone who wants to slow you down.” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, addressing the graduates of the 366th class of Harvard University on March 26, 2017

Best Leadership Advice Received

“I want you to do the jobs no one else wants to do. Because in those jobs you can demonstrate the depths of your capability and you can do things you can’t do [in jobs that are more desirable]. I was being encouraged to be as courageous as I could be.” Greg Creed, CEO of Yum! Brands, recalling the best advice he received early in his career when he was at Unilever, in an interview December 14, 2017

Using Navy Experience to be a Better CEO

“As an executive, I’ve learned that I can’t work 9 to 5 and check out at the end of the day while others continue to toil. Everyone has a job to do, and no one should sit on a perch watching others perform. It doesn’t matter who founded the company, who has the most exits, or who holds a certain title. The ultimate respect has to be earned, and the only way to do that—and instill a culture of togetherness—is for the CEO to lead by doing, not by issuing orders.” David A. Yovanno, CEO of data analytics company Impact Radius, in an interview he gave on May 28, 2017


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