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Brad Smith Quotes

Bradford Lee Smith

Brad Smith quotes: preaching from the Microsoft prez.

“I tell people: ‘Do what you love, but it can also be hard to know what you love early on. But when you think about it and you describe the options, which one gets you a little more excited?'”

“My dad advised me to always pursue what makes your heart beat the fastest. He also said I should always make my job choices based on the franchise and not the role. In other words, look for purpose-driven companies that would challenge me and provide me with stretch assignments so I would continue to grow. He told me not to focus on title or the money, because that would change over time if I worked hard. Finally, he said to understand that there will be good days and bad days, but if the good outweigh the bad, you are on the right course.”

“Work hard. Be kind. Take pride. Be humble.”

“Do less to do better. Make hard choices to pick the really essential things to build into products.”

“While you’re fixing what’s broke, don’t break what’s fixed.”

“The best time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.”

“All good men and women must take responsibility to create legacies that will take the next generation to a level we could only imagine.”

“At Microsoft, we concluded that success has always required that people master four skills: learning about new topics and fields; analyzing and solving new problems; communicating ideas and sharing information with others; and collaborating effectively as part of a team.”

“The ability to innovate is important for the success of any company and for the economic success of any country.”

“I’ve always valued and encouraged teamwork, and that collaborative spirit of we versus I is core to success.”

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go farther, go together.”

“Remember: there are no MVPs on a losing team. You will always be a part of some team. Families are teams. Companies are teams. Life is a team sport. You can be a standout athlete, but if you aren’t playing as part of a team, then you’re not going to be as great as you could be. A player that makes a team great is better than a great player.”

“I allowed myself to buy into the spin and the hype. I felt like it would be all digital, and no human interaction would be required. So I convinced my company’s board to drop $40 million on two ecommerce deals. But the plan turned out to be a bust. That quite frankly didn’t produce a whole lot, I thought I was going to get fired.”

“When it became clear the ecommerce deals weren’t going to pay off, I went to meet with the board, expecting to lose my job. I started off the conversation by rehashing my original hypothesis and owning up to what had gone wrong with my assumptions. The board’s response surprised me. They basically said, ‘You’re more valuable to us now because you won’t ever make this $40 million mistake again. What we want you to do is go out and make a bunch of new mistakes. That’s how you learn and grow.’ That lesson has stuck with me ever since.”

“The lesson for me there is to treat failure and success equally the same: as a chance to learn. I strive to extend the same opportunity to my employees. I tried really hard to create an environment that does what that board member did for me. Don’t punish people for mistakes. Ask them what the lesson was that they learned and give them a chance to build on top of that.”

“I have aspired to measure success through ‘the three Es’ in every interaction. Energized: leaving every interaction with a person or team’s heart beating faster, seeing the possibilities and believing in themselves. Educated: teaching them something they didn’t know before the interaction, and in turn, my having learned something from them that I didn’t know. Empowered: building their capability and confidence to move forward without my involvement.”

“And during the journey we had fun. When it is all said and done, my hope is that those who were there can reflect and say, ‘Don’t let it be forgotten, that once there was a spot for one brief and shining moment, that was known as Camelot.'”

“We learned that we needed to look in the mirror and see what others saw in us and not just what we wanted to see in ourselves.”

“I’d say the best way to train someone is to remember that you have two ears and one mouth, and use them in that ratio.”

“Surround yourself with people smarter than you. According to dad, this was important for choosing where you work, because it ensures that you will constantly be learning and growing. With this in mind, I have always been drawn to work in organizations where the bar is high.”

“Volunteer for assignments no one else wants. Once you find the right environment, volunteer to work on the hardest and most unwanted problems facing the organization, because that’s where you’ll stretch yourself and be forced to grow in ways you wouldn’t have planned.”

“Finally, make sure you can pay your bills. The last thing dad told me was to never prioritize big dollars and big business cards over the principles above. He cautioned that if I did, I would most likely find myself in a position where the number of bad days outweighed the good ones. As for paying my bills, dad was always someone who fulfilled the promises he made. For him, bills were a promise of payment. So he closed by saying, ‘but always try to make enough to pay your bills!'”

“A leader’s job is not to put greatness into people, but rather to recognize that it already exists, and to create an environment where that greatness can emerge and grow.”

“Leaders are less known for the answers they have, but for the questions they ask.”

“I used to walk around with a stick. My dad used to call me Moses. It’s on a home video. He said, ‘That kid would rather lead no one than follow anyone.’ I had dogs following me in the neighborhood. I had neighborhood kids coming over.”

“I’ve done a number of things in the spirit of employee motivation. I tend to be a storyteller and a student of history. I often tell stories of great battles, like the battle of Thermopylae, to inspire teams who face what appear to be insurmountable odds.”

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Always teach by example by energizing employees and make them feel that they are doing the best work of their lives.”

“Always connect the dots by making sure that everyone understands why they do certain things.”

“Never miss crystal ball moments in life. Carve out time for crystal ball moments—the moment that you never want to miss in your life, like baby birth, kids’ first day to school, graduation ceremonies, etc.”

“When I’m in my office I’m surrounded by photos of my family and special memorabilia that represent the influences in my life.”

“While I am a musician myself (guitar and sax) and I am constantly inspired by music, it has its place in my life. I tend to work in silence, which allows me to focus 100% of my concentration and energy on the task at hand.”

“My dad worked for Nestle for 26 years and ended up being the mayor of our hometown. One of the lessons I learned from him was to never mistake kindness for weakness.”

“At the end of the day, it’s about empowering individuals to contribute ideas and make an impact, as well as setting goals that challenge employees to step outside their comfort zone.”

“I’d highly recommend a book I recently read called Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. It’s full of amazing, inspirational stories that show that anyone, regardless of IQ, talent or background, can succeed if they have grit: a blend of passion and persistence. I’m a big fan of this school of thought. One of my strongest personal beliefs is that it doesn’t matter where you went to school. This book makes all of us underdogs feel like we’re just as capable as anybody else.”

“Millennials’ tech and global savvy will make them instrumental in shaping our mobile future worldwide.”

“Millennials, and the generations that follow, are shaping technology. This generation has grown up with computing in the palm of their hands. They are more socially and globally connected through mobile internet devices than any prior generation. And they don’t question; they just learn.”

“Almost every technology has connected people who live apart.”

“The average small business owner uses 18 apps to run their business every day, and if those applications don’t allow data to flow seamlessly and they don’t integrate, it’s going to become a point of friction. It’s going to prevent the small business from being successful.”

“Many small businesses are running entire businesses from a mobile phone.”

“About 10 million people start a business each year, and about one out of two will make it. The average entrepreneur is often on his or her third startup.”

“The number one thing small business needs is to get more customers. Spend more time serving existing customers and getting new ones. The challenge for small business is knowing where customers are and reaching them effectively.”

“I was in martial arts starting at the age of 14, and I got my black belt by the time I was 18. I know karate. Not ‘business karate’ or any overwrought metaphor about teamwork… I literally teach karate. Soon after, I was teaching an entire school, with about 150 students. It was unbelievably intense because of the self-awareness part of becoming a black belt.”

“I learned at an early age through my martial arts training—where, as a black belt and teacher, you are measured on the progress of your students—that I loved getting things done through a team as opposed to being an individual contributor. This led me into people management and my first job at Pepsi.”

“I credit much of my success to the discipline I gained through martial arts training as a young man, as well as the career advice given to me by my father.”

“I believe when you are interested in how the play was, don’t ask the actor how it went, ask the audience. I led through serving others. To click down on that, I’ve always aspired to have an impact in a way that leaves it better than I found it.”

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