Carlini-isms: Words of Wisdom

Published On
Oct 15, 2018

Over the years, I have learned a lot just by reading people’s quotes from all walks of life, and I came up with many of my own in my book, LOCATION LOCATION CONNECTIVITY, about the convergence of next-generation real estate, infrastructure, technology, and their combined impact on regional economic development as well as a book on leadership and management.

From understanding the strategic applications of technology to developing a better perspective on leadership of people and resource management, you learn from other people’s experiences as well as your own.

“Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from poor judgement.”

Several people take credit for saying this, but it is a good one to adopt into your overall leadership and management philosophy.

Some quotes that have influenced me

I remember how I first got influenced by famous quotes. I was working as the project manager at Arthur Young on developing an Intelligent Business Campus project out in Silicon Valley back in 1985 for our client, Santa Fe Southern Pacific Development. This was at the very beginning of intelligent building concepts and implementing fiber optics for broadband connectivity.

While I was out there, I was introduced to John Rigdon, a former president of a California Savings and Loan who was also a former Marine and Harvard MBA. He had a whole collection of quotes on 3-by-5 index cards in a box on his desk in San Francisco. I remember reading the next quote, and it really stuck in my mind. Rigdon got me focused on all these management and leadership quotes.

“He who has the wheel sets the direction.”

As an avid yachtsman, publisher Malcolm Forbes, had a unique way of sizing up corporate leadership through his yachting experiences. Another one of his quotes, sums up the mediocrity seen in many CEOs and others in leadership positions:

“Any fool can handle the helm in calm seas.”

These were quotes to live and lead by. Over the years, I came up with many of my own, based on experiences in researching, designing and applying cutting-edge technologies and pioneering new concepts for intelligent infrastructure.

“Lead, follow or get out of the way.”

One of General George S. Patton’s blunt quotes that really defines your options when you are in a situation that demands taking action. I actually used a book, Patton on Leadership, as a supplemental textbook to teach a technology management course at the Executive Masters program for Communications Systems at Northwestern University. Unorthodox approach? Maybe. Effective? Totally.

My quotes, Carlini-isms that have influenced others

While teaching courses on technology management, I used to write a lot on the board. Some were just pragmatic ideas and things I thought people moving forward in the industry should know. One day a student asked, “Is that Carlini-ism going to be on the test?” He provided the definition of these pragmatic insights, Carlini-isms. Some have a broad summary on the overall perspective of the industry. I have used some for decades in both teaching and consulting others.

“Leading-edge organizations do not maintain their position by using trailing-edge technology.”

This really points out that the application of technologies and innovation to an organization is a continual process, not a one-shot deal if you want to remain viable.

“Economic Development equals broadband connectivity, and broadband connectivity equals jobs.”

This is the basic foundation for adding and improving infrastructure to a region. You can go one step farther and say, “And jobs equal votes.”

And to those executives and technology vendors always talking about the internet of things being the universal solution to all companies and all their future applications:

“The internet of things needs to be able to run on the internet of reality (the network infrastructure that is in place).”

It is important to measure value when it comes to technology as well as people and their talents. Here are several that summarize, “You get what you pay for.”

“There is no such thing as a new $5,000 Rolls-Royce. If you want the quality, the engineering and the performance, you need to pay for it.”

“Conversely, there is no such thing as a Formula 1 Yugo. For $5,000 you are not going to go 0–60 in 2.2 seconds.”

“You don’t get Superman by paying Jimmy Olson wages.”

My favorite. I actually said this to a president of a company in a job interview. They were looking for a vice president to do many things from marketing to engineering to negotiating regulatory affairs as well as travel between eight cities in the United States, but they wanted to pay that person at an analyst level. I didn’t get the offer (I didn’t want to work for peanuts), but I did feel great about pointing out they were not going to get anyone with any talent paying cheap money.

That leads to the next Carlini-ism about pay:

“When you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.”

When it comes to intelligent buildings, intelligent business campuses and 21st century real estate:

“20th-century solutions will not solve 21st-century problems.”

“Leading-edge countries do not maintain their position using trailing-edge infrastructure.”

When it comes to organizations and how they are managed as well as their mission statements:

“Best practices are not found in bureaucracies.”

“Building for the future means advancing from the past.”

"'Building for the future' is a very hollow statement when funding is aimed towards maintaining the past.” Stop maintaining obsolete systems as well as obsolete organization structures.

“Don’t be politically correct. Be politically accurate.”

“Know when to walk away from bad business.”

“No system runs by itself. You need a systems manager or administrator.”

These are just some I have come up with based on my own experiences. Can you use them to help guide you in your job and on your projects? I am pretty sure you can. Feel free to give me your feedback.

About the Author

James Carlini

Contributing Editor

James Carlini, MBA, is a strategist for mission-critical networks, technology and intelligent infrastructure. He has been the president of Carlini & Associates since 1986. He is author of "LOCATION LOCATION CONNECTIVITY," a visionary book on the...

Stay Informed Join our Newsletter

Having trouble finding time to sit down with the latest issue of
ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR? Don't worry, we'll come to you.