Image: Lee Iacocca
Kevin Winter  /  Getty Images file
Former Chrysler chief and American business icon Lee Iacocca warns, "If you're overdecisive, you might be making a lot of mistakes."
updated 4/4/2008 5:23:52 PM ET 2008-04-04T21:23:52
Measure of a nation

Former Chrysler chief and American business icon Lee Iacocca, 83, who once said that "decisiveness is the one word that makes a good manager," recently spoke to The Associated Press about the concept of decisiveness and how he sees it.

Five excerpts from the interview:

— On America: "There's a little bit of the cowboy mentality — bring in the Marines, Teddy Roosevelt. When we do something, we do it quickly. We're decisive. I think it's embedded in the culture a bit."

— On changing your mind: "What is wrong with changing your mind because the facts changed? But you have to be able to say why you changed your mind and how the facts changed. Or the press will cream you — and possibly rightfully so."

— On being at the top of the heap: "In a corporation, there can only be one guy in the end: the CEO. And that's what the president of the United States is, really — that rugged individualist who has that power. ... You're the guy. You're responsible. It is a tough job, let's face it. It really is a tough job. They really have to become Superman."

— On decision-making experience: "I always go back to people that I thought were decisive to find out what they did for a living. I always go back to Harry Truman: Should we drop an atomic bomb to save 100,000 lives? That's a hell of a decision to make. Did he make that decision by himself? No, he had advisers."

— On excessive decisiveness: "If you're overdecisive, you might be making a lot of mistakes."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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