Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 124 – 10 Quotes I Often Think About & Use To Motivate & Drive Change

Dear Leaders, this week I am going to introduce to you my favourite quotes I use and think about often. 

These are typically work-related and have been applied in the work setting many times. Often I share in presentations to emphasise a point, to peak interest and to make something land when you need external validation for a big idea or concept. 

“Be strategically patient, tactically impatient.”

— Jeff Bezos

Famous for its ten-year vision and brutal on following the ten-year roadmap this is a great quote for anyone in management.
Read my popular post the Jeff Bezos business lessons

“Being intentional is the ultimate integrity in leadership. It’s stating your values and your intentions clearly, then putting your money where your mouth is”

Fidji Simo Instacart CEO

I wrote leaders letter 61 around this quote and I couldn’t agree more with it 

“Success is a lousy teacher

Bill Gates, Microsoft Founder

Teach those around you that success is a bad leading indicator and keep your eyes open at every turn, resting on your loreals is never a good idea. 

“You can only do so many things great, and you should cast aside everything else.”

— Tim Cook, Apple CEO

Ruthless focus and prioritisation are essential for every leader. 

“I learned always to take on things I’d never done before. Growth and comfort do not coexist.”

— Virginia Rometty, former CEO of IBM

I love this as it proves you have to have a growth mindset and drive yourself to evolve. 

“Leadership is hard to define and good leadership even harder. But if you can get people to follow you to the ends of the earth, you are a great leader.”

Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo

Absolute truth from one of my silent mentors and someone who drove real business and cultural change at Pepsico. 

“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room”.

Marissa Mayer, Former CEO of Yahoo!

Unfortunately many still believe they are always the smartest and cannot learn from others. Marissa was famous for 100+ hour work weeks but one thing she was great at was rolling out process, bureaucracy and jams framework. If there was a process, a jam or politics in the way come forward on a fix and they’d work on it. 

“When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are.”


This is something I used with many team members and made them understand by devaluing what they were doing would impact how it was perceived or the influence of their work. 

“The stuff that matters in life is no longer stuff. It’s other people. It’s relationships, it’s experience”

Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO

When work is someone’s identity they often don’t understand why others act and work differently, this is a good quote to help people understand experience and connection are vitally important 

“I promise you, a lot of it is luck. But you make your own luck by working really hard and trying lots and lots of things”.

Kevin Systrom, Instagram Founder.

Instagram was a culture-changing app and saw rapid growth, the acquisition was questioned at the time but is an incredible piece of M&A by meta. The story is a great reminder that if you work hard and have an absolute focus you can change behaviour and build one of the most influential companies of the last twenty years. 

BTW “No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram Book” by Sarah Frier is an incredible read on deliberate the team was to build out their app and build it with habit changes at the heart of every decision. 

What are your favourite quotes to use at work? Comment below and let me know and I’ll share them a future leaders letter. 

Have a great week and remember focus, prioritisation, and self-worth are the most important themes for you to win. 

Go well,
Danny Denhard