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Leonard A. Lauder Quotes

Leonard Alan Lauder

Leonard A. Lauder quotes: Mr. Estée Lauder discusses hiring, leading, learning, his relationship with money, and more.

“One person really can make a difference.”

“When you live in the shadow of a big tree, you have to run twice as fast to get into the sunlight.”

“The more risks you take, the more successful you will be.”

“A visionary is someone who can see the future, or thinks he sees the future.  In my case, I use it and it comes out right.  That doesn’t come from daydreams or dreams, but it comes from knowing the market and knowing the world and knowing people really well and knowing where they’re going to be tomorrow.”

“Know where you want to go.  If people can buy into your vision, they will take you there.”

“If you have a good idea, don’t let anyone talk you out of it.”

“If you want to learn, listen and get on with it.”

“To be a great leader, you firstly have to like people.  If you don’t like people, at the end of the day they will figure this out and you can’t lead them too well.”

“Picking great people, and recognizing them as such, because it takes great people to run a great company.”

“You are only as successful as the people who work for you want you to be.  So you want to make people successful, because the more successful you make them, the more successful you will be.”

“You can’t get anywhere without people who are smarter than you.”

“The lesson is, no matter how smart you think you are, there’s always someone around you that’s better than you, and I vowed when I got out of the Navy that I would only hire people who were better than me.  That doesn’t mean that they were smarter than me, but they were better than me.  To this day, if someone isn’t better than me, forget it.”

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being paternalistic as a company.”

“If tomorrow all of America were to become paternalistic, we would beat the Japanese every day of the week.  I think that the concept of accusing someone of running a paternalistic company, that’s not an accusation.  One should compliment someone on that.”

“I’d rather be a big fish in a specialized pond than a little, little fish in a more generalized big pond.”

“The balance of power in this nation has shifted between big business and the consumer.  The era of celebrity is leaving us, and the awe of the rich and famous is leaving us.  What is emerging is the smart shopper, and the idea of cocooning, broadly defined.  I see 10 years, 20 years ahead of everyone else.  But I have to be quiet about that now.”

“I can’t guarantee that in 30 years the company will be the same.  In 30 years, I can guarantee it will be different.”

“If you’re going to do something, do it right.”

“Going public, by the way, was one of the best things that ever happened to us.  We’re smarter, tougher, more competitive, because we’re under the scrutiny of the public.”

“Power is winning the battle over who owns the customer: the brand or the retailer.”

“My first job was a waiter at a summer camp called Camp Arrowhead.  The next year I became a counselor and made $50, and the following year I made $100.  On my days off, I used to hitchhike all over New England.  So I wouldn’t look dangerous, I always put on a blue oxford shirt, a striped tie, and a seersucker jacket, and then stepped into the road and stuck out my thumb.  Since then I have always dressed like I owned the place.”

“The company has only seen huge success relatively recently.  It wasn’t all of my life.  I always tell people you can take the baby out of the Great Depression, but you can’t take the Great Depression out of the baby.  I was born in the midst of all that. It wasn’t like there was money flowing in back then, so I have always been frugal.”

“It was long, hard work.  People think success comes rushing down on you, but it doesn’t.  It comes day by day, with very small victories.”

“It is a luxury industry, but it’s also an industry of necessity to most women, so it’s often one of the last things women will compromise on.”

“We live in this selfie age now where the need to look good and people taking photos of themselves wherever and whenever and then posting them, is something that has driven the make-up category in our business.  Whether we encounter difficult economic times or not, that’s certainly not going to disappear.”

“I’m very conservative.  And really I don’t call myself an investor, I call myself a businessman.  I worked hard to build the company, and earned a good living.  When it went public in 1995 I had more money, but it’s not like I went out and spent it all. I spend only enough to keep me going.”

“As a result, here we are 20 years later, and I still have 52% of the company’s voting stock.  Other people own yachts; I own a rowboat and a canoe.  Other people own huge houses in the Hamptons; my wife and I bought a one-bedroom log cabin.”

“David Rockefeller – he knew that life isn’t a matter of how much money you have, it is about how to make the money you have do great things.  So he took his money and used it to save things for tomorrow, like the creation and expansion of many parks.”

“That was the miracle of Abraham Lincoln, politician.  He pursued the high purpose of moving justice forward via the low arts of patronage and patronization.  Indeed, in a democracy, it is usually the only way great deeds are done.”

“Only buy the best.  Don’t be a bottom fisherman.”

“You can’t separate a house from a family.  It’s a living, breathing home.”

“Do not embrace any one political party as being right in all cases.  Embrace the idea that we are all Americans.  In some cases, we need to pay taxes to keep the nation strong.  In other cases, we have to be socially sympathetic.  In some cases, we need to all buckle up and tighten our belts to get through.”

“The best advice I ever got came from my mother, Estée Lauder.  She believed that if you had something good to say, you should put it in writing.  But if you had something bad to say, you should tell the person to his or her face.”

“Here’s the thing – if you stop learning, you might as well pack it in.  You can’t learn anything with your mouth open.”

“If I don’t learn something every single day, it’s a wasted day.”

“We built a great business with great people, with a great reputation.  And we are all very proud to be here – very proud to be here.  To be part of Estée Lauder, and an American.”

“Our credo is that we’re not a family business – we’re a family in business.”

“So many people gave me so much to help me to get started.  And this nation has been good to me, so my responsibility is to give back.”

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