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Lee Iacocca Quotes About Leadership, Business, and Taking Action

Businessman, visionary, and strong leader, Lee Iacocca is best known for reviving Chrysler in the 1980s. These Lee Iacocca quotes will inspire you to be a great leader so that you can find success in your dreams.

Lee Iacocca was hired at Ford as an engineer after receiving a Masters Degree in engineering from Princeton University.

The company soon realized that Iacocca was better suited for sales and from there Iacocca quickly moved up the ranks until he became President of the company. Unfortunately, he was dismissed from this role due to his unorthodox attitude.

In 1979, Iacocca became the Chairman of Chrysler and famously acquired the largest amount of federal assistance ever granted to a company at that time, which saved the Chrysler Corporation from bankruptcy. He was later named the 18th Greatest CEO of All Time by Portfolio.

A Picture of Lee Lacocca with a Woman

We hope these quotes from one of the most successful business leaders of all time will inspire you to take action on your dreams.

Don’t forget to also check out these wise JP Morgan quotes on success and life.

Lee Iacocca quotes about taking action

1. “If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got.” — Lee Iacocca

2. “The ability to concentrate and to use your time well is everything.” — Lee Iacocca

3. “There ain’t no free lunches in this country.” — Lee Iacocca

4. “Don’t go spending your whole life commiserating that you got the raw deals.” — Lee Iacocca

5. “You’ve got to say, ”I think that if I keep working at this and want it bad enough I can have it.” It’s called perseverance.” — Lee Iacocca

6. “In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.” — Lee Iacocca

7. “If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late.” — Lee Iacocca

8. “I have to act to live.” — Lee Iacocca

Lee Iacocca quotes about business

9. “When the product is right, you don’t have to be a great marketer.” — Lee Iacocca

10. “There is no substitute for accurate knowledge. Know yourself, know your business, know your men.” — Lee Iacocca

11. “We at Chrysler borrow money the old-fashioned way. We pay it back.” — Lee Iacocca

12. “If it hadn’t been for Henry Ford’s drive to create a mass market for cars, America wouldn’t have a middle-class today.” — Lee Iacocca

13. “One of the things the government can’t do is run anything. The only things our government runs are the post office and the railroads, and both of them are bankrupt.” — Lee Iacocca

14. “In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words; people, product, and profits. Unless you’ve got a good team, you can’t do much with the other two.” — Lee Iacocca
If you’re enjoying these quotes, you’ll love our collection of team quotes that will inspire you and your teammates to collectively meet your goals.

15. “Why is our free-enterprise system so strong?- Not because it stands still, frozen in the past, but because it has always adapted to changing realities.” — Lee Iacocca

16. “People want economy and they will pay any price to get it.” — Lee Iacocca

17. “If a guy is over 25 percent jerk, he’s in trouble. And Henry was 95 percent.” — Lee Iacocca

18. “Start with good people, lay out the rules, communicate with your employees, motivate them, and reward them. If you do all those things effectively, you can’t miss.” — Lee Iacocca

19. “Every business and every product has risks. You can’t get around it.” — Lee Iacocca

Lee Iacocca quotes about creating happiness

20. “How to gain, how to keep, how to recover happiness is in fact for most men at all times the secret motive of all they do, and of all, they are willing to endure.” — Lee Iacocca

21. “The thing that lies at the foundation of positive change, the way I see it, is service to a fellow human being.” — Lee Iacocca

22. “The trick is to make sure you don’t die waiting for prosperity to come.” — Lee Iacocca

23. “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.” — Lee Iacocca

24. “Something useful is always born out of happiness.” — Lee Iacocca

Lee Iacocca quotes about working towards success

25. “The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen.” — Lee Iacocca

26. “I have found that being honest is the best technique I can use. Right up front, tell people what you’re trying to accomplish and what you’re willing to sacrifice to accomplish it.” — Lee Iacocca

27. “The most successful businessman is the man who holds onto the old just as long as it is good, and grabs the new just as soon as it is better.” — Lee Iacocca

28. “I have always found that if I move with seventy-five percent or more of the facts that I usually never regret it. It’s the guys who wait to have everything perfect that drive you crazy.” — Lee Iacocca

29. “People say to me, ”You were a roaring success. How did you do it?” I go back to what my parents taught me. Apply yourself. Get all the education you can, but then, by God, do something. Don’t just stand there, make something happen.” — Lee Iacocca

30. “My father always used to say that when you die, if you’ve got five real friends, then you’ve had a great life.” — Lee Iacocca

31. “We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.” — Lee Iacocca

32. “As you go through life, there are thousands of little forks in the road, and there are a few really big forks – those moments of reckoning, moments of truth.” — Lee Iacocca

Lee Iacocca quotes on leadership

33. “If I had to sum up in a word what makes a good manager, I’d say decisiveness. You can use the fanciest computers to gather the numbers, but in the end, you have to set a timetable and act.” — Lee Iacocca

34. “The speed of the boss is the speed of the team.” — Lee Iacocca

35. “There are times when even the best manager is like the little boy with the big dog, waiting to see where the dog wants to go so he can take him there.” — Lee Iacocca

36. “The kind of people I look for to fill top management spots are the eager beavers, the mavericks. These are the guys who try to do more than they’re expected to do, they always reach.” — Lee Iacocca

37. “Motivation is everything. You can do the work of two people, but you can’t be two people. Instead, you have to inspire the next guy down the line and get him to inspire his people.” — Lee Iacocca

38. “Any supervisor worth his salt would rather deal with people who attempt too much than with those who try too little.” — Lee Iacocca

39. “The affections are like lightning: you cannot tell where they will strike till they have fallen.” — Lee Iacocca

40. “Management is nothing more than motivating other people.” — Lee Iacocca

41. “The one word that makes a good manager – decisiveness.” — Lee Iacocca

42. “I hire people brighter than me and then I get out of their way.” — Lee Iacocca

43. “I forgot to shake hands and be friendly. It was an important lesson about leadership.” — Lee Iacocca

44. “Pick good people and set the right priorities.” — Lee Iacocca

45. “To solve big problems you have to be willing to do unpopular things.” — Lee Iacocca

More Lee Iacocca quotes

46. “No matter what you’ve done for yourself or for humanity. If you can’t look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished.” — Lee Iacocca

47. “We’ve got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?” — Lee Iacocca

48. “The only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works, is the family.” — Lee Iacocca

49. “In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something else.” — Lee Iacocca

50. “Formal learning can teach you a great deal but many of the essential skills in life are the ones you have to develop on your own.” — Lee Iacocca

51. “The right decision is the wrong decision if it’s made too late.” – Lee Iacocca

52. “Mistakes are a part of life; you can’t avoid them. All you can hope is that they won’t be too expensive and that you don’t make the same mistake twice.” – Lee Iacocca

53. “Leadership means setting an example. When you find yourself in a position of leadership, people follow your every move.” – Lee Iacocca

54. “If your product is great, you yourself do not have to be a great seller.” – Lee Iacocca

55. “Thanks to properly selecting the clients you will not be unnecessarily wasting time.” – Lee Iacocca

56. “I learned that monthly payments are the cornerstone of everything in the automobile business.” – Lee Iacocca

Are great leaders born or made?

To answer that question, we first must ask: what traits make up a great leader? A great leader is someone who can adapt to new situations and challenges quickly and make tough decisions for the betterment of the company and their team. Someone who shows empathy and who can empower their team to succeed together.

Anyone can become a great leader. As long as you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone and take direct actions towards a goal, you’re halfway there. The rest can be learned along the way.

Lee Iacocca was a great leader. His leadership style led to the success of Chrysler and granted him a prosperous career. We hope these Lee Iacocca quotes inspired you to bring out the leader in you so that you can take action and succeed in your dreams.

Did you enjoy these Lee Iacocca quotes and sayings? Which quote was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

Sckylar Gibby-Brown
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