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Raffles Leadership Centre is proud to present the best quotes from Lee Kuan Yew and other famous leaders in the world. Please give appropriate credits to Raffles Leadership Centre if you are using this list in whole or in part. Thank you. 

” Whoever governs Singapore must have that iron in him. Or give it up. This is not a game of cards. This is your life and mine. I have spent a whole lifetime building this and as long as I am in charge, nobody is going to knock it down.”
Lee Kuan Yew

A leader can be made, provided he is born.”
Lee Kuan Yew

” I am very determined. If I decide what something is worth doing, then I will put my heart and soul to it. The whole ground can be against me, but if I know it is right.  I will do it.  That’s the business of a leader.”
Lee Kuan Yew

” Rest on laurels?  I wish I could do that.  No, you rest when you are dead.”
Lee Kuan Yew

” A military presence does not need to be used to be useful.”
Lee Kuan Yew

Change is the very essence of life. The moment we cease to change, to be able to adapt, to adjust, to respond effectively to new situations, then we have begun to die.”
Lee Kuan Yew

” No policy is cast in stone.”
Lee Kuan Yew

” To be a leader, you must be able to communicate your feelings and move the other fellow. It is not just ideas.”
Lee Kuan Yew

Temper, if you can switch it on and off, yes, it can be a tool of government.” 
Lee Kuan Yew

A leader without the vision, to strive to improve things, is no good. Then you will just stay put, you won’t progress.”
Lee Kuan Yew

” My faults are impatience in getting things done, pressing my associates and aides in putting in their best to get the job done, or fairly quickly replacing them when they are not making the effort well.”
Lee Kuan Yew

” So there are alpha males and there are omega males.. but if you are omega, then all the training will not make you a platoon commander.”
Lee Kuan Yew

I believe you are what you are and very often, there’s little that polishing can do to make you different.
Lee Kuan Yew

“Between being loved and being feared, I have always believed Machiavelli was right. If nobody is afraid of me, I’m meaningless.”
Lee Kuan Yew

A politician just wants to publicise himself and get into office, and he enjoys the pride of being there. A leader has a mission. You seek power because you want to do certain things. A statesman is one who has not only sought power and done those things but is able to hand over to a good successor.”
Lee Kuan Yew

However different the various religions, this government is in favour of a man believing in something than believing in nothing. I would rather have a Muslim, a devout Hindu, than a permissive atheist”
Lee Kuan Yew

Unlike other emergent countries, China wants to be China and accepted as such, not as an honorary member of the West.”
Lee Kuan Yew

No, any system needs to be revised from time to time. No system lasts forever. Conditions change. Some flaws in the system, you’ve got to revise them. You cannot say this is a general principle that is good for eternity.” 
Lee Kuan Yew

Running a government is not unlike conducting an orchestra. No Prime Minister can achieve much without an able team. While he himself need not be a great player, he has to know enough of the principal instruments from the violin to the cello to the French horn and the flute, or he would not know what he can expect from each of them” 
Lee Kuan Yew

So I am in Korea and South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon knew that the Americans were supporting Goh Chok Tong for the job. So when Goh retired, they wanted him to take this job on (to succeed Kofi Annan as the UN Secretary-General) I said no.” 
Lee Kuan Yew

Because I know Ong Beng Seng and I know how he operates. He’s not an organisation man. He’s an entrepreneur and an oil dealer. He goes out and captures this deal and that, then he hands it over to somebody to run it.”
Lee Kuan Yew

Your mental capacity and your EQ and the rest of you, 70 to 80 per cent of that is genetic. It takes time for you to mature, that’s all. Twenty to 30 per cent is nurturing. That’s life.” 
Lee Kuan Yew

I was Education Minister for four months from June to October 1975, as an interim measure before appointing a full-time minister. Close scrutiny of the education system led to a rude discovery – the years of promoting bilingualism in schools were not having their desired effect. I decided to ask Dr Goh Keng Swee, who was then Defence Minister … to look into the problem… the Goh Keng Swee Report which came out in 1979 was a watershed.” 
Lee Kuan Yew

Ministers are not all paid the same because their contributions are not the same. I see it like this: The PM is the CEO of a team and he’s got to make that team work. And the team costs less than 0.02% of GDP or less than what Mindef has to pay for one F15 fighter aircraft”
Lee Kuan Yew

A person not born with leadership qualities cannot improve significantly, however thorough the training is. Those with leadership qualities, can with training, become somewhat better leaders than they would otherwise have been.
Lee Kuan Yew

” I tell people frankly God has made you that way. I’m not God. I cannot remake you. I can give you extra tuition, better environment, but the incremental benefits are not that much. And their peers with bigger engines will also make progress. So the gap will never be closed.”
Lee Kuan Yew

” So there are alpha males and there are omega males.. but if you are omega, then all the training will not make you a platoon commander.”
Lee Kuan Yew

“Of all my Cabinet colleagues, it was Goh Keng Swee who made the greatest difference to the outcome for Singapore…When he held a contrary view, he would challenge my decisions and make me re-examine the premises on which they were made. As a result, we reached better decisions for Singapore.”
Lee Kuan Yew

“I used to play golf, but found it did not give me vitality because it’s a slothful game… Nine holes of golf will take you one and a half, two hours. I run in 20 minutes, I feel better off. So the cost benefit made me drop golf. ”
Lee Kuan Yew

“If all the 300 (top civil servants and political elite) were to crash in one jumbo jet, then Singapore will disintegrate.”
Lee Kuan Yew on the Old Guard ministers and top civil servants

” Between being loved and being feared, I have always believed Machiavelli was right. If nobody is afraid of me, I’m meaningless.
Lee Kuan Yew

” I have never been over-concerned or obsessed with opinion polls or popularity polls. I think a leader who is, is a weak leader. If you are concerned with whether your rating will go up or down, then you are not a leader. You are just catching the wind…you will go where the wind is blowing.
Lee Kuan Yew

Friendship, in international relations, is not a function of goodwill or personal affection. We must make ourselves relevant so that other countries have an interest in our continued survival and prosperity as a sovereign and independent nation.”
Lee Kuan Yew

” We have to live with the world as it is, not as we wish it should be. We must remain nimble to seize opportunities that come with changing circumstances.
Lee Kuan Yew

Change is the very essence of life. The moment we cease to change, to be able to adapt, to adjust, to respond effectively to new situations, then we have begun to die.”
Lee Kuan Yew

Do not judge a man until you’ve closed his coffin.
Lee Kuan Yew

” To run a country, you need to have a feel for the people.”
Lee Kuan Yew

” I think the deepest compliment we could pay ourselves is to remember that there must come a time when the torch must be passed on. And there is no greater compliment that a man can pay to himself and to his group than to pass the torch on to like-minded people, fired by the same ideals, but younger, more vigorous, more capable to meet a more contemporary situation. I would like to believe that, as with me, so with you; as you pass the torch on to the next generation, you pass it on not only to capable hands but to good minds and good hearts.”
Lee Kuan Yew in 1967

” It is better to have stallions, which we occasionally have to pull back, than to have donkeys you have to kick to move.”
Goh Keng Swee

” The only way to avoid making mistakes is not to do anything. And that, in the final analysis, will be the ultimate mistake.”
Goh Keng Swee

” Politics is incessant and the pressure is continuous. Politics being a service industry, the customer is always right.
George Yeo

” Newspapers are like politicians. They try to influence public opinion… we can’t allow two forces to contend for public opinion.”
Goh Chok Tong

” Every organisation requires a different leadership style. A good leader is not one who has a particular style – though we all have our own idiosyncrasies – but one who can bring out the best from his team by adapting his leadership style.”
Chan Chun Sing

When I was in China, I had an extended conversation with my Chinese counterpart Minister Huai Jinpeng. He gifted me this phrase that neatly encapsulates what we are trying to do. In the past, both Singapore and China faced the same challenge – we could only have one standard way of teaching, which is based on the average abilities and needs of all our learners. So, Minister Huai shared that: “这种教学方法 – 强的学生吃不饱,弱的学生吃不好”. In English, it means that with this model of teaching where everything is centered on the average, the high-ability students cannot get enough, while lower-ability students get too much, and not necessarily what is appropriate for them” 
Chan Chun Sing

The PM (Lee Kuan Yew) was inviting Leslie Fong, the editor and me for lunch. The start of a series of regular meetings. The venue was a small room … .above Lee’s office…He was a gracious host and careful eater. The menu was usually Western or Japanese: vegetable soup and steak unless lunch was Japanese. His steak was always a fifth the normal size, but he made up for it with fruit, which came in a huge basket. He evidently loved tropical fruits like pomelo, the pink variety from Thailand, as well as starfruit and pineapple, using his fruit knife like an expert chef. He drank warm water and Chinese or Japanese tea was always served.”
Cheong Yip Seng

If I have to lead, I lead. If I have to follow, I follow. If I need to be neither, that is wonderful.”
George Yeo

To lead Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew said I have to understand defence. That means, I must know the capability of our armed forces. If ever I had to stand eyeball to eyeball with a threatening neighbour, I need to know what we were capable of doing or not. If you are a brown belt and want to take on a black belt – don’t, let’s not quarrel, negotiate. 
Goh Chok Tong

” (on Lee Kuan Yew) He believed in getting the right man for the job and leaving him alone. That was the way he led.” 
Goh Chok Tong

But a good boss will say he is responsible. A good boss would say no, it was not the subordinate’s fault and I would take the responsibility.” 
Goh Chok Tong

I have come to the conclusion that neither money nor the house is the real issue. The dispute over 38 Oxley Road is only a fig leaf for the deep cracks within the family, cracks which perhaps started decades ago.” 
Goh Chok Tong

” After PM Lee Hsien Loong announced his intention to step down after the following General Election (2020), many people were concerned and disappointed. They included not only my friends but also some taxi drivers with whom I sometimes had interesting conversations during taxi rides…. They asked:” Why could PM Lee not have waited?” After all, he was young (about 70 years old) and fit enough (no major illnesses) for at least two, if not three terms (till he is about 85 years old). They hoped PM Lee would change his mind and urged me to persuade him to do so if I should meet him.” 
Professor S Jayakumar    (RLC Note: For context, Lee Kuan Yew stayed in the Istana till he was 91 years old)

” 青出于蓝而胜于蓝 ” – ” Green comes from blue; green exceeds blue” 
Chinese leadership idiom referring to a disciple eventually outperforming his master

Then again, a president wasn’t a lawyer or an accountant or a pilot, hired to carry out some narrow, specialised task. Mobilising public opinion, shaping working coalitions – that was the job.”
Barack Obama

People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want and if they can’t find them, make them”
George Bernard Shaw

” The difference between successful people and the really successful people is that the really successful people say no to almost everything.” 
Warren Buffett

In business, growth is a necessity. You grow or you get out. No company can stay anchored to the status quo, no matter how successful it is.” 
Michael Bloomberg

In the designs, the demeanor and the mental operations of a leader, there must always
be ‘something’ which others cannot altogether fathom, which puzzles them, stirs them
and rivets their attention.”
Charles de Gaulle

You have to always be leaning into the future. If you’re leaning away from the future, the future is gonna to win, every time.
Jeff Bezos

Men who continue hoarding great sums (of money) all their lives, the proper use of which for – public ends would work good to the community, should be made to feel that the community, in the form of the
state, cannot thus be deprived of its proper share. By taxing estates heavily at death, the state marks its condemnation of the selfish millionaire’s unworthy life”
Andrew Carnegie

We define leadership as the art of mobilising others to want to struggle for shared aspirations.” 
James Kouzes / Barry Posner

I must stand with anybody that stands right; stand with them while they are right and part with them when they go wrong”
Abraham Lincoln

” Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
Mahatma Gandhi

” It is better to have stallions, which we occasionally have to pull back, than to have donkeys you have to kick to move.”
Goh Keng Swee

When I was in China, I had an extended conversation with my Chinese counterpart Minister Huai Jinpeng. He gifted me this phrase that neatly encapsulates what we are trying to do. In the past, both Singapore and China faced the same challenge – we could only have one standard way of teaching, which is based on the average abilities and needs of all our learners. So, Minister Huai shared that: “这种教学方法 – 强的学生吃不饱,弱的学生吃不好”. In English, it means that with this model of teaching where everything is centered on the average, the high-ability students cannot get enough, while lower-ability students get too much, and not necessarily what is appropriate for them” 
Chan Chun Sing

” The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”
Thomas Paine

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
John Quincy Adams

Getting the right people in the right job is a lot more important than developing a strategy.
Jack Welch

The task of leadership is not to put greatness into others but to draw it out, for the greatness is there already”
John Buchan

Societies everywhere today place too much of a premium on cognitive abilities, and do not value sufficiently those engaging in other forms of work. As a result, merit has become narrowly defined by academic and cognitive abilities. But in fact, there’s a wide range of abilities and aptitudes needed for societies to thrive – we need the craft skills of artisans and technicians; the creativity and imagination of artists; and the human touch of those doing care jobs.” 
Lawrence Wong

The true measure of leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less.
John Maxwell

Lead, follow, or get out of the way.
Thomas Paine

” Why can’t we check the quality of our thoughts every hour like we check our mobile phones for notifications?”
Sister Shivani, at Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga Centre 

It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.
Warren Buffett

Leadership cannot be taught. It can only be learned
Harold Geneen

Each of us will one day be judged by our standard of life and not by our standard of living.”
William Ward

” .. I am not a good butcher but have had to learn how to carve the joint.” 
Margaret Thatcher , on her Cabinet reshuffle

The struggle is my life. I will continue fighting for the freedom until the end of my days.”
Nelson Mandela

” Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”
Harry Truman

Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right thing.
Peter Drucker

Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”
Warren Bennis

A leader’s singular job is to get results.”
Daniel Goleman

“He who decides a case without hearing the other side, though he decides justly, cannot be considered just.”

Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
Richard Branson

“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

“The price of greatness is responsibility.”
Winston Churchill

Lim Siong Guan used to be our Head, Civil Service. He used to be my Permanent Secretary in MINDEF. Once, he told me success for MINDEF is when you have built up a capability, operationalised the capability, retired the capability, never have to use it, and nobody knows about it”
Chan Chun Sing

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”

“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”
John Dryden

A house divided against itself cannot stand.
Abraham Lincoln

Income alone will never create wealth. You must focus on building your networth. Make it a policy to know your networth to the penny. Focus on all four networth factors: (1) increasing your income, (2) increasing your savings, (3) increasing your investment returns and (4) decreasing your cost of living by simplifying your lifestyle.”
T. Harv Eker

Platforms are big business. The world is moving in this direction and companies need to understand the implications.” 
David Yoffie

” If there is one trait that virtually all effective leaders have, it is motivation.”
Daniel Goleman

” Great ambition is the passion of a great character. Those endowed with it may perform very good or very bad acts. All depends on the principles which direct them.”
Napoleon Bonaparte

“I’m a little bit married to the job. At least, my wife says so”
Ingvar Kamprad, Founder, IKEA

“Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.”
Robert Louis Stevenson

You cannot let your failures define you. You have to let your failures teach you.
Barack Obama

When you become a leader, you give up the right to think about yourself.”
Gerald Brooks

” It is circumstances which show what real men are.”

Learning without thought is labour lost. Thought without learning is perilous.” 

The three most important things you need to measure in a business are customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and cash flow.” 
Jack Welch

” We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details.”
Jeff Bezos

The first systematic book on leadership: the Kyropaidaia of Xenophon – himself no mean leader of men – is still the best book on the subject.”
Peter Drucker

We should see our work in the office as though we are players in an orchestra… we must know what others are doing, so that we can blend our work with theirs to produce first class results.”
Lim Siong Guan

Knowledge may give weight but accomplishments give lustre. And many more people see than they weigh.”
Lord Chesterfield

It is not enough to be busy. The question is: ‘What are you busy about?”
Henry Thoreau

The game of life is the game of everlasting learning. At least it is if you want to win.” –
Charlie Munger

Progress often comes in small increments, sometimes two steps forward, one step back.”
Barack Obama

” Warships attract other warships”
Dr Mahathir Mohamad

The leader must know, must know that he knows, and must be able to make it abundantly clear to those about him that he knows.”
Clarence Belden Randall

There is a difference between training and development. Corporate universities should handle training. Universities aren’t good at training. It is skill-based while development is really giving you the knowledge. You don’t know when you will need that knowledge.” 
Jean Hauser

” Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try one more time.”
Thomas Edison

” We gain nothing by being with such as ourselves. We encourage one another in mediocrity. I am always longing to be with men more excellent than myself.”
Charles Lamb

Leadership is intentional influence
Joseph Grenny

” The starting point of all achievement is drive, determination and desire.”
John Maxwell

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their  mind cannot change anything.”
George Bernard Shaw

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”
Ronald Reagan

Never use yesterday’s processes, rules and regulations for tomorrow’s challenges. Keep thinking about the new structures, new processes, new rules and regulations that we need to come up with in order for us to be prepared for tomorrow’s challenges.”
Chan Chun Sing

” Being Prime Minister is a lonely job, you cannot lead from the crowd.”
Margaret Thatcher

A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”
Charles Darwin

” Human progress has never been shaped by commentators, complainers or cynics.”
Tony Blair

” A-players hire A-players, and B-players hire C-players. We want only A-players here.”
Steve Jobs

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
John C. Maxwell

We cannot learn men from books.”
Benjamin Disraeli

The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time.
Abraham Lincoln

” Leadership is a privilege to better the lives of others.”
Mwai Kibaki

” We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are.”
Max de Pree

” We gain nothing by being with such as ourselves. We encourage one another in mediocrity. I am always longing to be with men more excellent than myself.”
Charles Lamb

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

” The great use of your life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”
William James

“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.”
George S. Patton Jr.

When faced with something challenging , break it down, go as far as you can see and when you get there, go as far as you can see again and keep going as far as you can see…”
Jaren Chan

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
Albert Einstein

” This is my life. I seek improvements ceaselessly”
Li Ka-shing

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Leadership is about going somewhere. If you and your people don’t know where you are going, your leadership doesn’t matter.”
Drea Zigarmi

” Serenity is the window through which one looks out on the world of affairs. It is how one feels inside as he engages with spirit, in the turmoil and strife of the world of affairs.”
Robert Greenleaf

” Adopt the attitude that everything is negotiable. A world of opportunity will greet you.”
Jim Rohn

“The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.”
Tony Blair

” The team leader’s role is to enable the team to win.”
Gerald Westerby – “Schoolboy” from the Institute

” Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.”
Og Mandino

” I’d rather be a loser than quitter.”
Tony Abbott

If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place.
Stephen Covey

” I am not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues.”
Franklin Roosevelt

” The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”
William James

Either you run your day, or the day runs you.
Jim Rohn

” I do not let my experiences define me; I define my experiences.”
Dr Jaren E Chan

There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.”

“A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others see.”
Leroy Eimes

” I fear not the man who has practised 10,000 different kicks , but I fear the man who has practised one kick 10,000 times. “
Bruce Lee

” There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.”

” New broom sweeps clean but the old broom knows where the dirt is”
Dr Jaren E Chan

” The most difficult thing is the decision to act. The rest is merely tenacity.”
Amelia Earhart

” As a businessman, if you have no problems, you have no business.”
Donald Trump

Remember to exercise your heart as well as your head in the practice of medicine.”
Professor James Best

Five percent of the challenge is the strategy. Ninety-five percent is the execution.”
Carlos Ghosh

“Business is all about risk taking and managing uncertainties and turbulence.”
Gautam Adani – Indian billionaire

” Remember that failure is an event, not a person.”
Zig Ziglar

“If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.”        Kimnesha Benns

” It’s what you go out with that counts – 20, 50 years later what people feel you have achieved.”
Warren Buffet

” High-achieving leaders are usually restless with the status quo. They want to do things better.”
Jaren Chan

” Every successful enterprise requires three men – a dreamer, a businessman and a son-of-the-bitch.”
Peter McArthur

“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”
Maya Angelou

” The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Mahatma Gandhi

” Fall 7 times and stand up 8″
Japanese proverb

” When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes clear”
Roy Disney

Let me put it bluntly: anyone who says money isn’t important doesn’t have any!
T.Harv Eker

” Our embrace of multiculturalism speaks to our deepening sense of ourselves as a nation, which itself goes hand in hand with how we see and project our place in the world.” 
Anthony Albanese

” Newspapers are like politicians. They try to influence public opinion… we can’t allow two forces to contend for public opinion.”
Goh Chok Tong

Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.”
Peter Drucker

“Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes.”
Peter Drucker

I think the fundamental difference of being a CEO is like what Harry Truman said that the buck stops here. You are on your own. Yes, you have a board of directors. But the fact is that on day-to-day decisions in the company, you can consult everybody you want, but in the end it is going to be your decision.” 
Andrew Gould

” When you are finished changing, you are finished”
Benjamin Franklin

” A man can seldom – very, very seldom- fight a winning fight against his training: the odds are too heavy.”
Mark Twain

” I’d rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate”
George Burns

“We must learn that humanity is one big family. We’re all brothers and sisters: physically, mentally and emotionally the same. But we still focus far too much on differences instead of what we have in common. After all, every one of us is born the same way and dies the same way.”
Dalai Lama

” Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony”
Mahatma Gandhi

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”

“It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it”
Joseph Joubert

Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of men who follow and of the man who leads that gains the victory.”
George Patton

There is nothing noble in being superior to others. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self
Indian proverb

” Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”
Helen Keller

Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.”
Andy Warhol

You can’t make being the leader your principal goal, any more than you can make being happy your goal. In both cases, it has to be the results, not the cause.” 
Gloria Anderson

That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity”
Steve Jobs

All leaders should ask this question: How do I make a positive difference as a leader? “
Jaren Chan

How do you give a recognition medal to someone who didn’t exist and for something that did not happen?
A former G7 spy chief

“There are only two forces that unite men – fear and interest.”
Napoleon Bonaparte

“Trust but verify”
Ronald Reagan

” We need to awaken the next generation to understand that we are all change-makers. The nation is not as strong as its government but its next generation”
Nick Vujicic

” I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples”
Mother Teresa

But it is not this way with you, but the one who is greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.”
Luke 22:26

” A leader leads by example, whether he intends to or not.”
John Quincy Adams

Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.”
Les Brown

It is the man behind who makes the man ahead”
Merle Crowell

” No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it”
Dale Carnegie

Leadership is about getting results. So how do you inspire your people to perform?”
Jaren Chan

” It is better to be approximately right than precisely wrong”
Warren Buffet

If you set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.”
Margaret Thatcher

” My old boss said that most management consultants have never managed a hot dog stand.”
Ben Horowitz

” The best leaders make it a point to develop more leaders around them.”
Charles Caldwell     ( Jaren Chan’s Top 10 quotes )

True leadership is guiding others to success.
Bill Owens

” Ambition is the last refuge of failure.”
Oscar Wilde

People makes the organisation. Leadership makes the people.”
Dr Jaren Chan

“A spiritually illumined soul lives in the world, yet is never contaminated by it.”

” A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.”
John Maxwell

To be a successful entrepreneur, improve your overall competitiveness, be mentally strong and to understand your markets and your competitors well ..”
Zhou Qunfei, Lens Technology, richest self-made woman in China

Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall”
Stephen Covey

The common trait of CEOs and business leaders is that they are learners. If you had dinner with Warren Buffet, I guarantee you he is going to ask you more questions than he answers.”
Jeff Immelt

When it comes to leadership, you have just begun the task when you change a single leader. The rest of the job is to develop a critical mass of resonant leaders and thereby transform how people work together, and then to encourage the ongoing development of such leaders.
Daniel Goldman

The true test of a leader is whether his followers will adhere to his cause from their own volition, enduring the most arduous hardships without being forced to do so, and remaining steadfast in the moments of greatest peril”

” The mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates, the great teacher inspires.”
William Arthur Ward

” The first virtue in a soldier is endurance of fatigue; courage is only the second virtue.”
Napoloen Bonaparte

” Life is a journey. When we stop, things don’t go right.”
Pope Francis

” I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself.”
Robert E Lee

” If we don’t know how to be alone, we will only know how to be lonely.”
Sherry Turkle

” Leadership is also a performing art – a collection of practices and behaviours – not a position”
James Kouzes / Barry Posner

I was the chief dot connector. At the end of the day, I had to connect the dots from vision and strategy to the front line.”
Ward Clapham

” I would think of some fundamental basic need of all people, and I would supply that need more cheaply and more efficiently than anyone else.”
Henry Ford

” You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”
Zig Ziglar

” People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.”
John Maxwell

” Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”
Jack Welch

” You become what you say, and what you say becomes you.”
Paul Hawken

” Not enjoyment and not sorrow..is our destined end or way; But to act that each tomorrow.. find us further than today.”

” In life you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate”
Chester Karass

” The authority of those who teach is often an obstacle to those who want to learn.”

” A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”
Martin Luther King, Jr

“I cannot change my history but I can change my destiny”
Dr Jaren E Chan

” Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
George Bernard Shaw

” Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”
Albert Einstein

” Resilience is accepting your new reality and trying to put together something that is good.”
Elizabeth Edwards

” The great champions know how to be at their best in the most important moments of their career.”
Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams’ tennis coach

Sometimes it’s not how hard you row the boat. It’s how fast the stream is going.”
Warren Buffet

” Short as life is, we make it still shorter by the careless waste of time.”
Victor Hugo

” Unless you value yourself, you won’t value your time.”
M. Scott Peck

Like Dr Goh (Keng Swee), I don’t believe people can change. So the best way to change an organisation is to burn it down and start afresh. That means I sack the whole lot of managers. In every organisation, there are three types of people: the emperors at the top, the workers at the bottom, and the eunuchs in the middle.”
Philip Yeo, former Chairman, A*Star

A great leader attracts great people and knows how to hold them together”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”Marcel Proust

” True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever the cost.”
Arthur Ashe

” He who is grateful does not suffer.”

Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm”
Publilius Syrus

A manager has to meet circumstances as they occur 
Richard K M Eu

” If my critics saw me walking over the Thames, they would say it was because I couldn’t swim.”
Margaret Thatcher

” The only conquests which are permanent and leave no regrets are our conquests over ourselves.”
Napoleon Bonaparte

Knowledge is a treasure but practice is a key to it.”
Thomas Fuller

” Give of your hands to serve and your hearts to love.”
Mother Teresa

Earn your leadership everyday.”
Michael Jordan

” A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others do.”
Leroy Eims

” I don’t coach football players. I coach football teams.”
Jose Mourinho

” The successful people are the ones who can think up stuff for the rest of the world to keep busy at”
Donald Marquis

” Great minds discuss ideas, average ones discuss events and small minds discuss people”
Eleanor Roosevelt

” I am not made of sugar. I won’t melt”
Vladimir Putin

Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”
Vince Lombardi

Any business plan won’t survive its first encounter with reality. The reality will always be different. It will never be the plan.”
Jeff Bezos

There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience, and that is not learning from experience.
Archibald MacLeish

” Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.”
Franklin Roosevelt

I do not know of a man who became a leader as a result of having undergone a leadership course.”
Lee Kuan Yew

” He who sits on the cushion of advantage goes to sleep.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

” The secret to success in any field is to find out what successful people do, think about and act on, and then do the same.”Anthony Robbins

” Time is life. To manage your life, manage your time”
Dr Jaren E Chan

” How to earn an above average income? Be an above-average person.”
Jim Rohn

A leader is someone who demonstrates what’s possible
Mark Yarnell

“Leadership is personal – do the people you lead know who you are, what you care about and why they ought to be following you?”
Ron Sugar

” Leaders are not paid to preside over the inevitable; they are paid to make happen what otherwise would not happen.”
Sumantra Ghoshal

Your success will be determined by how well you can overcome hardship.
Frida Polli

” Experience is one thing you can get for nothing.”
Oscar Wilde

The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.
Harvey Firestone

A leader is admired; a boss is feared.”
Vicente Del Bosque

A leader’s attitude is caught by his followers more quickly than his actions.
John Maxwell

” It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.”
Thomas Jefferson

Leadership is the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence.”
Field Marshal Montgomery

No man can climb out beyond the limitations of his character.”
John Morley

The highest reward for man’s toil is not what he gets for it but what he becomes by it.
John Ruskin

Mountain tops inspire leaders but valleys mature them.
Winston Churchill

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”
Theodore Roosevelt

A great river always begins somewhere.
Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize winner

” The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists.”
Japanese proverb

I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”
Thomas Jefferson

The sufficiency of my merit is to know that my merit is not sufficient.
St. Augustine

Everyone should be good at leading, whatever their level in the hierarchy.” 
Michael Useem

” Leadership is of utmost importance. Indeed there is no substitute for it. But leadership cannot be created or promoted. It cannot be taught or learned.” 
Peter Drucker

” We will continue to scale mountains and valleys in the years to come.”
Yoshiaki Yoshida

“The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.”
Anais Nin

A politician should not tell lies but he must manage information skillfully.”
Jaren Chan

It was best if the leader was both feared and loved.

The position does not make the leader. The leader makes the position.
John Maxwell

We must take advantage of these opportunities that digital finance brings and not be overtaken by the wave of changes taking place globally.”
Tharman Shanmugaratnam

” In the depths of winter, I discovered in me an invincible summer.”
Albert Camus

” Robben Island was known as ‘ the University’ because of what we learned from each other. We became our own faculty.”
Nelson Mandela

Know well the condition of your flocks and give attention to your herds..
Proverbs 24:3-4

We need good leadership to set the direction, to guide, to inspire and to deliver results.”
Lee Hsien Loong

There is no subject so old that something new cannot be said about it.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

” Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalise on what comes.”
Zig Ziglar

” Credibility is a leader’s currency. With it, he or she is solvent. Without it, he or she is bankrupt.”
John Maxwell

Management is getting people to do what needs to be done. Leadership is getting people to want to do what needs to be done. Managers push. Leaders pull. Managers command. Leaders communicate.”
Warren Bennis

Every organisation requires a different leadership style. A good leader is not one who has a particular style – though we all have our own idiosyncrasies – but one who can bring out the best from his team by adapting his leadership style.”
Chan Chun Sing

If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings- and put compensation as a carrier behind it- you almost do not have to manage them”
Jack Welch

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

” One of the approaches that I personally find useful is to cultivate the thought: If the situation or problem is such that it can be remedied, then there is no need to worry about it. In other words, if there is a solution or a way out of the difficulty, you do not need to be overwhelmed by it. The appropriate action is to seek its solution. Then it is clearly more sensible to spend your energy focussing on the solution rather than worrying about the problem. Alternatively, if there is no solution, no possibility of resolution, then there is also no point in being worried about it, because you cannot do anything about it anyway. In that case, the sooner you accept this fact, the easier it will be for you. “
Dalai Lama

” Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing to add, but when there is nothing to take away.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

” The difference between managing and leading is how to take things to a better place.”
Piyush Gupta

” They have only stepped back in order to leap further.”
Michel de Montaigne

” I am a verb”
General Ulysses S. Grant

” Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
Mark Twain

Anyone who lives within their means suffer from a lack of imagination.”
Oscar Wilde 

” Since the market spends more time in consolidations than in trends, it teaches you to buy dips and sell rallies.”
William Eckhardt

Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”
Joshua Marine

” Even if you’re the most junior person in the room but if in that situation, you’re the best person to lead, you must be prepared to step up.”
Dr Beh Swan Gin

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” –
Dr Seuss

If you can’t find your rhythm, you can’t find your soul.”Tony Vacca

You can advance only by being larger than your present place and no man is larger that his present place who leaves undone any of the work pertaining to the place.
Wallace Wattles

” Your circle of influence dictates your path.”
Jon Bielecki

” Nothing is so potent than the silent influence of a good example.”
James Kent

” The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and to influence their actions.”
John Hancock

” You don’t lead through structure, you lead through influence.”
John Maxwell

” You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Jim Rohn

“Being busy in the pursuit of your passion is the key to happiness.”
Connor Young

Rich people are bigger than their problems. They don’t focus on the problem; they focus on their goal. Meaning that either you are whining about the problem or you are working on the solution. Rich and successful people are solution-oriented.”
T Harv Eker

” Too often, the executive does not understand that people do what you inspect, not what you expect.”
Louis Gerstner, Jr

” Politics is about winning the hearts and minds of voters, not seeking to win arguments on intellectual grounds.”
Matthew Goodwin

” The function of prayer is not to influence God but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”

Take away our twenty most important people and I tell you we would become an unimportant company.
Bill Gates, co-founder Microsoft

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one”
Albert Einstein

” It is easier to influence strong than weak characters in life.”
Margot Asquith

” The only way to influence the other fellow is to talk about what he wants and show him how to get it.” 
Dale Carnegie

It is not the beginning or the continuing but the carrying on until it is utterly finished that yieldeth the true glory.”
Sir Francis Drake,  1587

” To influence others, you must also be open to their influence.”
Jesse Lahey

So don’t merely go through your days – get from your days.” 
Jim Rohn

Any business venture is like Monopoly or any cash-driven board game. You start with a small amount of cash, with the goal of turning it into a large amount of cash.”
Richard Koch

Time is the most precious currency of life, and how we spend it reflects what we truly value. Once we have spent it, it is gone forever! It cannot be re-earned. Are you feeling in charge of the time in your life?”
Richard Lieder

” In our thoughts, we experience life.  To change our life, we have to change our thoughts.”
Dr Jaren E Chan

The man with insight enough to admit his limitations comes nearest to perfection.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

” Although the life of a person is in a land of thorns and weed, there is always space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.”
Pope Francis

” The best richness is the richness of the soul.”

” A good press release for a crisis situation should cover everything but not include everything.”
Dr Jaren E Chan, at a PR leadership conference

” The economic situation is always unclear and monetary policy takes time to affect the economy. Don’t overestimate the benefits of waiting for the situation to clarify”
Stanley Fisher

” The first priority of economics is to improve the lives of real people.”
James Tobin

Both the SAF and climate change defences are existential for Singapore. These are life and death matters. Everything else must bend at the knee to safeguard the existence of our island nation.”        Lee Hsien Loong

” If you are not failing, you are not pushing your limits, and if you are not pushing your limits, you are not maximising your potential”
Ray Dalio

” We are all born equal but by education different.”
Dr Jaren E Chan

” The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.”

” I touch the future. I teach.”
Christa Mcauliffe

” Life does not get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.”
Steve Maraboli

” When small men attempt great enterprises, they always end by reducing them to their level of mediocrity.”
Napoleon Bonaparte

” There is only one way out of this predicament and it is to invent our way out.”
Jeff Bezos

The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our environment.” 
Kakuzo Okakura

” The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists.”
Japanese proverb

Having the finest military in the world is a vital part of our foreign policy. Nations will understand the force we can deploy if force is necessary.”
Senator Edward Kennedy

” Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.”
Bern Williams

Because Jack Welch learns so well from mistakes, part of his strength as a leader/teacher is his track record of mistakes – on investments, acquisitions, partnerships, products, people, structure.”
Noel Tichy

The challenge of mastering leadership is a skill like any other, such as improving your golf game or learning to play slide guitar. Anyone who has the will and the motivations can get better at leading, once he understands the steps.” 
Primal Leadership book

” A family owner doesn’t need to be a know-it-all in business operations because the professional teams will do that for him but he needs to prove he’s capable of bringing everyone together.”
Joseph Fan

” In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.”
Yogi Berra

” I would think of some fundamental basic need of all people and I would supply that need more cheaply and efficiently than anyone else.”
Henry Ford

“If your change isn’t big enough, revolutionary enough, the bureaucracy can beat you …when you get leaders who confuse popularity with leadership, who just nibble away at things, nothing changes. This is true of countries and organisations.” 
Jack Welch

” Conflict is good in a negotiation process..it is the clash of ideas which then, all being well, produces a third idea.”
Luke Roberts

” As a leader, our job is to set a common vision, orchestrate and empower people and enable success. It is a journey.” 
Tan Su Shan

” A penny saved is a penny earned.”
Benjamin Franklin

” True leaders understand that leadership is not about them but those that they serve. It is not about exalting themselves but about lifting others up.”
Sheri Dew

“Fame is not important. What is important is what I do.”
Alexander McQueen

The important issues have no right or wrong answers. They involve social preferences, which in democracies can be expressed only through the electoral process” 
Justice Antonin Scalia

Politics is incessant and the pressure is continuous. Politics being a service industry, the customer is always right.
George Yeo

For the top business schools, the biggest problem is getting the best faculty, that means people who know how to create information and knowledge and also know how to pass it on. That requires a cross between a Nobel Prize winner and a Hollywood actor.”
Steve Daverio

” I get paid to produce results, and the results are there”
Roger Agnelli, HBR 4th best CEO 2013

Leaders do two specific things: See reality – size up the current situation as it really is, not as it used to be or as they would like it to be, and Mobilise the appropriate responses” 
Noel Tichy

” I rarely go out to lunch. I think it is a waste of time. I will eat at my desk between meetings”
Jon Kamen

The world is wide and I will not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum.”
Frances Willard

” I don’t see myself as a professional manager, I live and breathe this company (JP Morgan Chase). I wear the jersey everyday.”
Jamie Dimon

Buckle up and know that it’s going to be a tremendous amount of work, but embrace it.”
Tory Burch

” Success should be worn like a T-shirt, not a tuxedo.”
Priyanka Chopra

If you have more than 3 priorities, then you don’t have any.
Jim Collins

Companies can’t promise lifetime employment, but by constantly training and education we may be able to guarantee lifetime employability.” 
Jack Welch said in 1992. 

As long as you are green, you are growing. As soon as you are ripe, you start to rot.” 
Ray Kroc

“Behold! Everyone of you is a leader and you shall be asked about those you lead.”
Abdullah ibn Omar

But management cannot create leaders, it can only create conditions under which potential leadership qualities become effective, or it can stifle potential leadership.” 
Peter Drucker

In the pursuit of knowledge, something is added everyday. In the pursuit of enlightenment, something is dropped every day.”

Today, ministers overwork – doing everything and appearing everywhere. When there were issues with CPF, the minister answered. Where was the CPF chairman? When the trains broke down, the minister answered. Where was the SMRT chairman? In the past, the civil servants would take charge.”
Philip Yeo, former Chairman, EDB Singapore

” Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” 
Andy Warhol

” It’s what you go out with that counts – 20,50 years later what people feel you’ve achieved.”
Warren Buffet

” ..Recruiting is a core competency that companies should learn. Team composition and chemistry determine the success of a business”
Doug Leone

” This was a company where you can carry the day when you have the principle and math on your side, and you are patient and tenacious..”
Jeff Wilke, on Amazon

My prior thinking has been: the larger the meeting is, often you have to get the lowest common denominator of the person in the room in terms of the context
Daniel Ek, Spotify

Management cannot create leaders. It can only create the conditions under which potential leadership qualities become effective; or it can stifle potential leadership.”
Peter Drucker

” Common mission trap for companies – trying to be all things to all people at all times.”
Jack Welch

” I learned a long time ago. Never make any predictions about the future.”
Sheryl Sandberg

” The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and the self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”
Theodore Roosevelt

” In life, there is always a chance of failure but you must never give up.”
Elon Musk

Be wiser than other people if you can; but do not tell them so.
Lord Chesterfield

Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” 
Jack Welch

The person who is impatient with weakness will be ineffective in his leadership. The evidence of our strength lies not in the distance that separates us from other runners but in our closure with them, our slower pace for their sake, our helping them pick it up and cross the line.
J. Oswald Sanders    

I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game – it is the game. In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.” 
Lou Gerstner

Life is unfair but we need to find ways around it and try to level the playing field for ourselves.” – Regine Chan

What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity? Our attitude towards it. Every opportunity has a difficulty and every difficulty has an opportunity.” 
Sidlow Baxter

“Also, I don’t need chefs—I only need cooks who follow my recipe. Chefs give you a lot of problems, that’s why I went into the catering business and not the restaurant business. In restaurants, you need head chefs and you’re always at their mercy.”
Neo Kah Kiat 

 “In the University of Oxford, the greater part of the public professors have, for these many years, given up altogether even the pretence of teaching.”
Adam Smith, in the book The Wealth of Nations, on why Oxford University’s high IQ students have to learn on their own

No wonder people make money in the real-estate market and lose money in the stock market. They spend months choosing their houses, and minutes choosing their stocks. In fact, they spend more time shopping for a good microwave oven than shopping for a good investment.
Peter Lynch

The idea that leadership was synonymous with management was simply wrong. Leadership is a gift of personality and its development is akin to the creative arts – training can guide the gift, but it cannot compensate for the lack of it. Management, on the other hand, is a science of systems and processes that most people can learn and master – but it needs to be anchored in a philosophy ( school of thought) , be architected and structured ( a “total game’ framework) and be supported by detailed curriculums. 
Richard Chandler

I knew I wanted to work in food because food brings love and joy to people. The magic of food is that it is borderless and brings people together.” 
Julien Royer of Michelin 3-star Odette Singapore

In parts of Asia .. this digitally native population will drive digital transformation and growth in the foreseeable future. And this demographic won’t change” 
Piyush Gupta 

It requires a truly immense intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance effort — one which basically no other country in the world can match, and which is vastly expensive, time-consuming and requires lot of expertise.” 
Anthony Cordesman on the killing of Soleim

Leadership does not simply happen. It can be taught, learned, and developed.”
Rudolph Giuliani

” Everything has a birth, a life and a death. And for design, it is the same.” 
Philippe Starck 

The Bible is still the fullest measure of man’s nature, Aeschylus and Shakespeare still the best textbooks of psychology and sociology, Socrates and St Thomas Aquinas still the high water marks of human intellect.” 
Peter Drucker

To be prepared for war, is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” 
George Washington

A spoonful of honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar.” 
Benjamin Franklin

Where there is no law, there is no liberty; and nothing deserves the name of law but that which is certain and universal in its operation upon all the members of society.” 
Benjamin Rush

“Good government is an empire of laws.” 
John Adams

” A government of laws, and not of men.” 
John Adams

Every post is honourable in which a man can serve his country.” 
George Washington

” I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.” 
Benjamin Franklin

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.” 
John Adams

Peter Lim puts chain of command over good management,” the source who worked under him at Valencia feels. “Rather than people who know about football, he prefers people he can trust when it comes to managing the club. Lim surrounds himself with people who he has full confidence in. It is different to other Spanish clubs, like Villarreal, where the Roig family are football people. Or Sevilla who have Monchi, or Atletico Madrid with Gil Marin. These are clubs with very good structures, who do things properly. Lim has no such structure. Peter Lim has decided not to count on ‘Valencianismo’, has broken all the links with the institution, with the supporters’ clubs, the fans.”
A press report on leadership and cultural intelligence


and more interesting quotes to come…..


Curated by Raffles Leadership Centre ( www.rafflesleadership.com)