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Greg Brown’s Advice
for My Students
Part 1

By April 4, 2023April 11th, 2023No Comments

Gregory Q. Brown, Chairman and CEO, Motorola Solutions, Inc., met with my leadership class each time I offered it. Mentioned often and quoted extensively in Why It Matters: Reflections on Practical Leadership, some of Greg’s quotes are “be interested, not interesting,” “leaders should speak less and speak last,” “when asked a question, start with the answer,” “the only thing worse than making a bad decision is not correcting it,” “leaders are remembered for their greatest mistakes,” “don’t be a victim,” “be an energy giver, not an energy taker,” “when you think you are the smartest person in the room, that’s the beginning of the end,” “adversity does not build character, but it reveals it,” and “when bad things happen, you have a choice. How you respond to adversity is up to you.”

Advice Greg provided students that isn’t in Why It Matters: Reflections on Practical Leadership includes:

  • “Your generation is too focused on the destination, not the journey.”
  • “You create too much stress for yourself, focus on the moment.”
  • “Never make a decision when you are tired or emotional.”
  • “Tough moments teach you and shape you.”
  • “You get to decide what is important and what is not.”
  • “It’s okay to not know everything.”
  • “Our biggest limitations are self-imposed.”
  • “Great leaders know what they don’t know.”
  • “Take each day and make the most of it.”
  • “Great leaders have high self-awareness.”
  • Paraphrasing Maya Angelou, “If there are things in your life you don’t like, you should either change them or change the way you think about them.”
  • “Always believe in yourself, but never believe you are the smartest person in the room.”
  • “When it comes to people, if you don’t know, you know.”
  • Quoting Martin Luther King, Jr, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase to take the first step.”
  • “You have more grit and resilience than you could ever imagine.”
  • “When it’s all said and done, I think all you have left is what you have given away.”
  • “Out-work, out-learn, and out-perform others.”
  • “You can’t lead unless you know how to follow.”
  • “Do what you say. Say what you do.”
  • “Focus on the journey, not the destination.”
  • “The three most important ingredients in everyone’s life are direction, love, and hope.”


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