Over the years, I’ve noticed when I have a stronger response to particular phrases, sentences, doggerel, koans, and so forth. I get a thrill when someone can frame an idea simply and powerfully into a pithy statement. I collect those inspiring or clarifying quotes. I find them in many sources and sometimes in unlikely places, though usually not from compilations.

Today I’ve decided to share five of my favorites:

An Ethiopian proverb:

When spiderwebs unite, they can tie up a lion.

Rudyard Kipling, poet:

All good people agree, 

And all good people say, 

All nice people, like Us, are We, 

And every one else is They.

A statement heard from James Burke, author/historian:

“As in Nature, if an organization is too inflexible or stands still too long it will get eaten.”

Thoughtful reframing from Abraham Lincoln, President:

"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise to the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think and act anew."

Excerpt from Mary Parker Follett, pioneer of organizational theories:

“It seems to me that whereas power usually means power-over, the power of some person or group over some other person or group, it is possible to develop the conception of power-with, a jointly developed power, a co-active, not a coercive power.”

If you like quotes too, you can bring them into team retrospectives. Offer a quote as part of Setting the Stage. Ask each team member to check in by saying how they think that idea showed up during the iteration. Choose quotes that don't obviously fit. Make it a creative stretch. It helps to prepare everyone for thinking creatively during the session.