Ahhhhh .... the Borsch in Kiev (Ukranian Borsch with Pampushkas).Tom Peters posted this on 06/30/2005.
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"In an increasingly crowded, noisy global marketplace, innovation is not optional." Tom Peters
Ahhhhh .... the Borsch in Kiev (Ukranian Borsch with Pampushkas).Tom Peters posted this on 06/30/2005.
John O'Leary, who didn't play with the Beatles, but DID play with some of their contemporaries, gives us this entry:
John O'Leary posted this on 06/30/2005.
40 years ago this month the Beatles—already the biggest rock & roll band in the universe—recorded the song "Yesterday." This sweet, melancholic tune—featuring Paul McCartney's plaintive voice accompanied only by acoustic guitar and string quartet—was such a radical change in musical direction for the Beatles that they were afraid to release it as a single in the UK, fearing it would compromise their rock & roll image. Eventually, they released it as a single in the US, and it became a #1 hit, one of the most critically acclaimed ballads in pop music history, and the most recorded song of all time! Interesting turn of events: the group had mixed feelings about releasing a new product, fearing it might dilute the brand, yet it wound up extending the brand. This and subsequent Beatles songs—many of them exquisitely crafted and stunningly creative—earned the band new fans who saw them not so much as cute mop-top rockers, but as pop art Picassos. Pretty good story line here. "A mega-successful organization at the top of its game throws caution to the wind and breaks its own mold with a revolutionary line of new products." One question: why is this the exception in business? A better question: what can your company learn from this?
I'm fascinated with the idea of extreme organizational transformation, and I wonder what I would do if I could completely blow up the current model and totally re-invent the corporate workplace. I would focus on two primary areas: the physical environment and job titles. For example, perhaps the CEO and executive board would be on the first floor with the smallest offices and no view because they are seldom there to enjoy them.
My bone to pick with job titles is this ... they are labels that confine people's ability to add value wherever and whenever possible. Titles are the reason people say, "it's not my job" or "what do you know, you're just a (fill in the blank)." A friend related her experience when she switched from HR to Marketing. It was a difficult transition—she was confronted with constant resistance and found herself having to jump through extraordinary hoops to prove herself. Her new boss was obviously willing to "take the risk" on her, but everyone else on the team wondered, "What could you possibly know about marketing, you're an HR person?"
When you become defined by your title, you become limited in terms of what you can do, or what others believe you are capable of. It is because of this that I gave myself the title "Transformation Architect" when I joined the Tom Peters Company ... people have to ask, "What do you do?" My title stays the same, but my answer evolves over time, as I do.
Here's this week's offering from Cool Friend Sally Helgesen. We hope to start a lively discussion with Sally's observation, below:
I am a major fan of Hernando De Soto, the Peruvian economist and author of The Mystery of Capital. De Soto's extensive research leads him to believe that poor countries are poor primarily because their laws do not permit ordinary people to have clear title to private property or predictable control over how that property can be used. There's no title insurance, so ownership is always under threat of dispute, and no one can get a mortgage based on a murky title. As a result, working and middle class people can't increase their wealth in the way they have traditionally done in the US—by owning their homes and businesses. Instead, most property is owned provisionally or even illegally, which means that large numbers of people live off the grid, escaping taxes and pilfering their utilities. Meanwhile, government officials and their cronies have an easy time gaining access to properties they believe are desirable (see Zimbabwe!).Sally Helgesen posted this on 06/28/2005.
I'm speaking to Cognos today in Orlando. The company, which netted $136M on $825M in sales last year, is a leader in performance management software—e.g., "Enterprise Scorecarding," "Business Intelligence," "Enterprise Planning." In addition to the slides (here) for my morning presentation, I did a "Tom Thing" ... and created yet another list, culling wisdom (hunches, actually) from the last 35 or so years. Hence, "The Planning, Planning Systems, Intelligence & Measures50." Some/most entries will be obvious, others a little obscure—I plan to write this up/flesh it out, as part of what I call "Project05," in July-August.
My peerless speaker's bureau (Washington Speakers Bureau) is celebrating its 25th birthday in Alexandria tonight. I've been with them since 1984. Through the uncommon virtues of "loyalty, trust and treating people right" they have re-imagined, and in some sense created, a New Industry. The role of speakers in assisting businesses has changed and expanded dramatically in the last quarter century—and I've been lucky enough to be part of it. Tonight, I'll say thanks as a featured speaker along with Coach Lou Holtz, Hizzoner Rudy Giuliani and General/Secretary Colin Powell.Tom Peters posted this on 06/28/2005.
If you haven't been reading Andrew Sullivan lately, do it. He's been covering the Downing Street Memo story. Here's a quote he points to and I'll bet you can't name the source:
Your government has unmistakable confidence in your ability to hear the worst, without flinching or losing heart. You must, in turn, have complete confidence that your government is keeping nothing from you except information that will help the enemy in his attempt to destroy us.Halley Suitt posted this on 06/27/2005.
I don't want to sound like a complete brownnoser, but let's get real here, and let me state for the record something that should be no news to anyone, I am obviously a BIG Tom Peters fan.
Lately, nearly every business magazine I pick up has a big splashy "late-breaking news" type cover article about a subject Tom has been writing about for YEARS, if not DECADES! This issue of BusinessWeek about Design is just one more drop in this familiar bucket.
Is it just me, or do you get this "déjà vu all over again" feeling reading the business press as well?Halley Suitt posted this on 06/27/2005.
In the 60s I dated a woman getting a degree at the University of Toronto. The school was great, but the city was the pits. Today, Toronto is a glorious, "with it" global metropolis. Bloor Street, where I am, is as good as the Mag Mile in Chicago.
Here to speak to the Graduate Management Admissions Council ... mostly admissions officers for MBA programs. Given my publicly known low opinion of MBAs, it's hard to figure why they invited me. Nonetheless, I'll try my best.
Only prob: temp today to go to 34C, with humidity taking the heat factor to 41C equivalent; tomorrow 38C. Yikes. (VT to get 98F tomorrow. Global broiling, anyone?)
NB: Yesterday, the Canadian gov't announced they were splitting the health department in two. The traditional bit will focus on fixing broken things. The other will be devoted Wellness & Prevention. With all the problems in Canadian healthcare, I see this as a great move!Tom Peters posted this on 06/24/2005.
Tom is speaking at the GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council) Annual Industry Conference today in Toronto. These are the folks who developed the General Management Admissions Test (GMAT) and who provide support for business schools throughout the world. Get the slides here.Shelley Dolley posted this on 06/24/2005.
Full moon on the Farm in VT. Fire flies. (And, okay, a few too many caterpillars.) An extraordinary Chorus of Frogs drifting up from the nearby farm pond. Sitting out looking over 6 or 7 rows of mountains, each a different shade of green-blue-purple ... until 9:15 pm. Susan, who did her artist training in Sweden, concocting a traditional Swedish "mid-summer's" wild salmon feast. Doesn't get much better...
(Whoops, I'll be in Kiev this time next week; I understand there are now tours of Chernobyl ... charming thought.)
Many/most of you perhaps think of me as a Ranting Maniac. And I occasionally am ... at the keyboard. But I am the soul of non-confrontation in person. (Byproduct of my Southern Mom's tutelage.)
Sometimes my aversion to contention goes too far. It did recently.
I was on a panel that included a hospital association senior director. I'd made a public remark about the 100,000 (100,000+?) people U.S. hospitals unnecessarily kill each year. He responded with, "Whether it's one or one-hundred thousand, it's too much." Reasonable enough, you might say.
In effect it was a standard hospital association denial, that I've heard a dozen dozen times. Fact: There is a huge difference between 1 and 100,000 thousand. Of course every death is "too much." But 1 is a fully excusable statistical anomaly when millions of patients pass through the system; 100,000 is an epidemic, a tragedy, a travesty, shameful, pathetic ...
A few years ago there was controversy over the CDC's estimate of 98,000 deaths due to error. Now some number like that (I've seen as high as 193,000 per year) is more or less accepted wisdom ... except by state and national hospital associations. (And as one nationally prominent ER doc pal said to me, "And, hey, Tom that doesn't include the thousands more we kill or maim in doctors' offices.")
Consider two articles in national papers that appeared on the same day, June 6th. New York Times: "Hospital infections kill an estimated 103,000 people in the United States a year, as many as AIDS, breast cancer and auto accidents combined." (While we stagger under this burden, countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands have it essentially licked.) USA Today: "As many as 98,000 Americans still die each year because of medical errors despite an unprecedented focus on patient safety over the last five years, according to a study released today [by the Journal of the American Medical Association]."
At any rate I'm furious at myself for letting the hospital association exec's remark pass quietly. I should have arched my shoulders and shot back in no uncertain terms. I should have, in fact, Southern Mom or no ... RANTED.
Damn!Tom Peters posted this on 06/22/2005.
Tom Friedman (New York Times) is, I believe, our best opinion writer by a country mile. He's also author, most recently, of The World Is Flat. (He's no knee-jerk liberal; TF strongly supported the war in Iraq, though he's less keen on the subsequent nation-building bit.) In a June 17 column [subscription required], he suggests, with tongue apparently nowhere near cheek, that to save America, Toyota must buy GM: "Indeed I think the only hope for GM's auto workers, and maybe even our country, is with Toyota. Because let's face it, as Toyota goes, so goes America." Among other things, Friedman points out that while GM has doggedly stuck with gas-guzzling SUVs and Hummers in the face of surging gas prices, Toyota is championing major moves toward fuel efficiency, including a strategic (not cosmetic) push into the likes of hybrids.
Agree or hoot, it makes for provocative reading.Tom Peters posted this on 06/20/2005.
Some New Slides from hither and thither. I'm pretty sure they are all self-explanatory.Tom Peters posted this on 06/20/2005.
Steve Jobs' commencement address at Stanford was a barn-burner. I got it from my friend Steve Millard, a pioneer in packet switching. I e-forwarded it to a who's who list ... and got incredible responses from the high & mighty. Here's a link, and also a few slides with quotes of note.Tom Peters posted this on 06/20/2005.
CIA Director Porter Goss knows where Osama is and is sure the insurgency in Iraq is on its last legs. Ummm ...Tom Peters posted this on 06/20/2005.
Fortune magazine is all about making decisions this issue. They are onto something, and they've interviewed some cool people.
But folks, who made the decision to pose Jim Collins on a mountain ledge with a dark and stormy night brewing behind him? It's a little strange. Yes, he's a mountain climber, but ...Halley Suitt posted this on 06/19/2005.
Tom shared his "Power of We" presentation with us a few days ago. Here's something I've been thinking about for a while—ponder this:
How many of your customers would regularly talk about themselves and you as "We," as opposed to "Us" and "Them?"Steve Yastrow posted this on 06/19/2005.
Happy Father's Day to all you fathers out there. Google has a dad snoozing away in his hammock, stretched between the serifs on the letters "G" and "L" today.Halley Suitt posted this on 06/19/2005.
Tom's friend Dennis Littky is the co-founder of the Met School in Providence, Rhode Island, where the philosophy is to teach one child at a time. He's also co-director of the Big Picture Company, a national non-profit working to support a fundamental redesign of secondary education by starting and sustaining small schools nation-wide. He talks to us about his book of the same name, The Big Picture. Read the interview here.Cathy Mosca posted this on 06/17/2005.
# of Comments on "Thriller" has surpassed "Fire Larry Summers" to become our most commented-on Post. I guess "organizational politics" strikes a raw nerve, regardless of one's take.
I've written a lot positive about Starbucks ... and will continue to do so. But the fact is that I am one of those "line intolerant" people ... and for the life of me I can't understand why so many people tolerate the long Starbucks lines (even though handled well ... for a line), when short lines, equally good coffee, and decent seating are sometimes (often in urban areas?) 100 yards away.
Was on Newbury Street in Boston this morning, popped into a Starbucks; line was about 15 deep ... I ran for the exit. 2 blocks away was Torrefazione. Line 3. Latte Triplo great. Biscotti better than Starbucks'. Seating fine and available (contra S'bucks), with much more daylight (big deal) (and outside seating available).
Why?????????????????????Tom Peters posted this on 06/17/2005.
We love this entry on Seth Godin's blog! He calls Tom the instant energizer. We agree.Cathy Mosca posted this on 06/16/2005.
Cool Friend Sally Helgesen joins our blog again. This entry appears on her website, too. We welcome Sally's voice here:
As someone who grew up in Michigan, I've always followed the news from Detroit, and been particularly fascinated by GM. So I've found the announcement this week about massive layoff and shutdowns riveting, not only because of what it means for the prototypical corporation that shaped America's industrial age, but also because of what it seems to say about how the U.S. practices market capitalism in the global era.Sally Helgesen posted this on 06/15/2005.
48 hours. On June 13 Phil Purcell (an old McKinsey colleague of mine) "departs" Morgan Stanley. In addition to crappy interpersonal skills, his overblown idea of a one-stop-shopping financial services supermarket just didn't pan out, no matter how good it looked on paper.
On June 13 HP began to unwinding Carly F's ill-fated "centralization-in-pursuit-of-synergy" strategy ... the PC and Printer operations will be dis-entangled. (Duh.)
On June 14 Sumner Redstone announced the splitting up of Viacom.
Message(s): (1) "Synergy" is usually a snare and a delusion. (2) Centralization is almost always "counter-productive" (Stupid!). (3) FOCUS is virtually axiomatic in the face of today's insane competitive environment.Tom Peters posted this on 06/15/2005.
BusinessWeek has a terrific cover story (06.20), "THE POWER OF US: Mass Collaboration on the INTERNET Is Shaking Up Business." Here are some sample quotes:
"The nearly 1 billion people online worldwide—along with their shared knowledge, social contacts, online reputations, computing power, and more—are rapidly becoming a collective force of unprecedented power. For the first time in human history, mass cooperation across time and space is suddenly economical."
"There's a fundamental shift in power happening. Everywhere, people are getting together and, using the Internet, disrupting whatever activities they're involved in."
—Pierre Omidyar, founder, eBay (from BW)
"What sets these new technologies apart from those of the Internet's first generation is their canny way of turning self-interest into social benefit—and real economic value."
The "architecture of participation"
—Tim O'Reilly/Tech-book publisher (from BW)
Tom Peters posted this on 06/15/2005.
All this led me to create a new Chapter in my Master Presentation, REI.500. Title (swiping from BW): "The Power of We." (I like "we" better, the hell with the grammarians.) You'll find it as a new Special Presentation.
Off to give a Seminar that should be particularly interesting (and heartening). Kan-ed is a legislatively created group that aims to wire up Kansas, with special emphasis on rural areas. Schools, universities & colleges, libraries, and healthcare organizations are the primary focus. It's a great—and necessary—idea. Hooray! (Slides available ... of course: short and long versions.)
I've been invited to blog at a site where they want me to "submit" stuff to them via email or attached documents and they will use the blogging software to post my thoughts.
I know it makes sense for them. And I know on this blog, at Tom Peters.com, some of our contributors prefer working that way. But as for me, it drives me crazy!
I've found every time I get ready to blog something for this new site I've been invited to join—and they are, btw, lovely folks pushing a cause near and dear to my heart and I WANT to blog for them—I can't stand NOT having access to the software myself.Halley Suitt posted this on 06/14/2005.
Only once have I served on a jury, in a sizeable civil case in San Francisco in the late '80s. It was one of the peak experiences of my life. We were a pretty ordinary lot (the whole idea), but in that jury room we became quite extraordinary. We took our work very seriously. And did our level-headed best to attend to instructions. Some had been more attentive than others, of course, but none was flippant or cursory in his or her deliberations. We found for the defendant, though none of us was thrilled by our decision; we simply did what we felt the evidence and instructions added up to.
I read jurors' comments on the Jackson verdict. None seemed enamored with Jackson in the least. But they treated him as any defendant should be treated, and came to what they collectively thought was the appropriate decision.
I, for one, am a great champion of jury trials and the jury system.
(Of course I was appalled that on his Website, Jackson compared the verdict to Mandela's release from prison. But then no one said that I or the jurors had to admire the defendant.)
I've continued to think and read about mergers and marriages, and then this morning a client sent me this quote from the New York Times:
"On Wall Street, a world dominated by multibillion-dollar deals, seven-figure bonuses and exotic financial products like weather derivatives, the success of a firm might just rest on the most intangible and least financial element of all: culture."
Mr. Purcell resigned yesterday from Morgan Stanley—that "culture thing" seems to have got in his way. In 1997, he merged Dean Witter with Morgan Stanley. The NYT article says, "They were like oil and water, and in the end, Mr. Purcell just could not blend the two."
Along with the culture problem, I am not so sure that Morgan Stanley has been able to distinguish themselves in the financial market. They tried to serve everyone, and now they appear not to be serving anyone well, including the culture.
What's your take?Val Willis posted this on 06/14/2005.
I've been reading all sorts of articles about Wal-Mart recently, as well as some of the recent blogging you all have been doing on our site. They sure do take a beating. I'm actually not a big fan of the all-mighty giant. I'm a Target lover. I can't seem to walk out of that place for less than $100, even if I'm just going for toilet paper. Anyone else have that problem?
In an effort to try to understand this phenomenon, I ponder my fascination, and I realize it comes down to design, pure and simple. Usually it's the people who resonate in our minds when we think about service, but not at Target. As a matter of fact, I've never given it one iota of thought. Clearly, I've never had a bad experience, but has it been great? Nope. As a matter of fact, it's not even worth mentioning.
Wow! That's amazing! A retail store where service is practically irrelevant. How could that be? Is it because Target's stores are so well designed, clean, and well merchandised? Is it because their merchandise is produced with a focus on design? Is design the difference between Wal-Mart and Target?Darci Riesenhuber posted this on 06/14/2005.
Tom joins Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and others at Leading Minds 2005, a leadership forum, for two days in New York. Should be a great event. See Tom's slides here.Cathy Mosca posted this on 06/14/2005.
As almost all of you know, I'm bonkers over the Professional Service Firm idea; I think it's a survival necessity, circa 2005. Think "PSF" (if you do, I dearly hope you do), and one is likely to think Accenture, TBWA/Chiat Day, and the like.
Well, hold on. I have a new "top candidate." Though, alas, I don't know his name.
Saw him/it at an I-91 Rest Area on the way from VT to Boston. (I know, I should have stopped.) That is, the most beautifully decorated, squeaky-clean, super-cool, "startling" Big Rig I've ever seen!
What a DRAMATIC DIFFERENTIATOR! We've all seen 'em, right? The trucks that the Drivers obviously spend hours a day and many a personal dollar on to keep in spectacular shape. (And, of course, the 98% who don't. Some are of the "get by" sort, some look like shit.)
Point: Sorry if I'm the last to get it, but what better Demo is there of my Big Three: Awesome "PSF," Brand You, WOW Project?
Hats Way Off to ... ____________ .
Hats off to Tony Blair for his role in inducing the G8 to void $40 billion (100%) of debt in the poorest nations. Long time comin'. (Hats off to Mr Bush for buying in.)
(And while tipping hats, a wee tip to Condi Rice for her Kennedy Center performance—talk about "work-life balance," demo thereof!)
If you've wandered into a bookstore recently you might have seen the new Tom Peters books from Dorling Kindersley. Well, sort of new. What we've done is to take the content from Re-imagine! and create four small-format books: Leadership, Talent, Design, and Trends. They're called the Essentials Series. The publishers are putting on a big push, and at Barnes and Noble bookstores you'll find all four books in their own display case.Erik Hansen posted this on 06/10/2005.
We have just agreed on these 12 rules for how we operate in Tom Peters Company UK. What would your "teamship" rules be?
1. Respond to all requests.
2. Address issues quickly—don't let them fester!
3. Think "who else should know this?"
4. Always tell the neighbours before you have the party!
5. No passengers.
6. "Tell me if I'm talking a load of old cobblers."
7. Share learning and feelings—positive or otherwise.
8. Show appreciation of others' efforts.
9. Take ownership! When something goes wrong, think, "What can I do?"
10. Ask for help—don't suffer in silence.
11. Show up at team gatherings.
12. Celebrate success seriously!
June is the month for wedding and merger news. Sprint and Nextel are 'jumping the broom' and May Corporation and Federated are engaged! What makes for a successful merger as it relates to the associates? If you have been a part of a merger/acquisition, let me hear from you as to what worked and what didn't.Val Willis posted this on 06/10/2005.
Good thread on Organizational Politics going at yesterday's post, "Thriller." Join the fray!Tom Peters posted this on 06/10/2005.
Whadda trip! 33 days. 8 countries. 6 states. 61,000 miles. 17 seminars or roundtables. (And a happy accountant & an unhappy spouse.) A lot of wear and tear on a 62-year-old body. Now I'm home in VT, having missed our spring springing, but it's none the less utterly beautiful. For the last three days I've chosen mountain hikes over Blogging!
What an incredible reception everywhere! Poland! Saudi Arabia! Colombia! (My first visit to Bogotá.) South Africa! (The South African miracle just gets better and better ... this was about my seventh visit.) The message was well received, and everyone was welcoming to the extreme.
Americans ... the people ... are very much seen as friends. As to our policies, in some cases it's another story. To some extent that's not fair; we the people, by collective exercise of the vote, are our policies.Tom Peters posted this on 06/09/2005.
Yes, alas. That's pretty much my response to the sad state of GM. I cannot say I'm surprised; in fact I doubt this is the last of the bad news. I've only worked with GM a few times, years ago. My memory is "decent people, insane bureaucracy." I guess nothing changed.
As to Rick Wagoner, doubtless a very bright fellow; still, he gives credence to my long held belief that Chief Financial Officers rarely make great CEOs. The last big Detroit turnaround was crafted by Master Marketer Lee Iacocca. He was an incredible salesman—to employees, to Washington, to the consumer. (Remember, his breakout was the first Mustang while at Ford.)
In fact GM has been saddled with three of the least inspiring chiefs in recent big-corporate history: Roger Smith, Bob Stemple, and now Wagoner.
As I said, alas.Tom Peters posted this on 06/09/2005.
My favorite recent quote, from economist Paul Ormerod, in his terrific book, Why Most Things Fail: Evolution, Extinction and Economics. To wit: "I am often asked by would-be entrepreneurs seeking escape from life within huge corporate structures, 'How do I build a small firm for myself?' The answer seems obvious: Buy a very large one and just wait."
(P.S. Suggest you read it twice.)
More of the same, more or less, from last Sunday's New York Times Magazine. Gretchen Morgenson starts off like this: "What Are Mergers Good For? Not much, unless you're one of the bankers or executives whose compensation goes up with every deal you do." No "news" here, but always worth repeating. Every CEO thinks he's the exception to the rule. Message: He's not!Tom Peters posted this on 06/09/2005.
In Re-imagine, we used the term "not optional" on several occasions. That's the way I feel about China reading. NOT OPTIONAL. The "story" is huge, growing at an "insane" rate, and affects all of us. My "not optional choices": Three Billion New Capitalists, by Clyde Prestowitz. (Mentioned here before.) And: China Inc., by Ted Fishman. Almost "non-optional," same topic: Tom Friedman's The World Is Flat. (Most would put this at the top of the list, but I liked the uncompromising language of the first two a little better.)
I talked about "presentation excellence" recently. My friend Tim Sanders recommends Working the Room, by Nick Morgan. I agree! Though I don't buy everything Morgan says, I'll almost guarantee it's by far the best book on speechifying!
Also: Sanders' own The Likeability Factor; Dan Pink's A Whole New Mind; Richard Florida's The Flight of the Creative Class; Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne's Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant; Marcus Buckingham's The One Thing You Need to Know; and Seth Godin's latest, All Marketers Are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World.
For what (little) it's worth, a few of my fiction/beach reading favs: Edmund Murray's The Peregrine Spy. Anything by Peter Robinson; his current hardback is Strange Affair. Charles Todd's A Cold Treachery.
(Don't read the China books on the beach; you'd likely jump in and head as far out to sea as you could go.)
Who will win? I'm not sure, and I'm half through the book! Gripping! Suspenseful! Terrifying! (More so than Stephen King!) The book: Historian David McCullough's new 1776. It's the blow-by-every-blow account of Washington and his troops during that amazing year. We (few & ill & ragged & undisciplined Americans) don't seem to have a chance, with the whole power of earth's greatest superpower lined up against us—and Washington untested in battle. (Those who think the British were distracted by other affairs are flatly wrong.)
McCullough is at his brilliant best. (Two Pulitzers already.) I'll report back when I know the outcome ...
NB: Washington is known as a fighting general, majestic aboard his great steed. Surely he was that, but he was also the epitome of the sometimes dismissed "political general." He plays the prickly Continental Congress like a First Violinist! (Brings to mind Eisenhower.) We flock to the Pattons and Stonewall Jacksons, but more often than not it's the political generals who deliver the larger & final victories. I bring this up, because I've run into so many holier-than-thou managers who visibly cringe from "politics" as "beneath them." WRONG! (At least if you want to succeed.)Tom Peters posted this on 06/09/2005.
I just had the privilege of endorsing Juan Enriquez's latest, The Untied States of America. His As the Future Catches You was one of the best/most provocative books I've ever read. This is perhaps better—and surely the most unsettling tome I've read in a long time. Juan is professor of life sciences at the Harvard Business School—that alone is interesting, eh? Put this one beside the Pink and Florida books cited earlier as a banquet for unsettling thought. (Not to mention the China selections.)
At this incredible moment, career (and national?) survival depends on deep thought.
Another good pick for Fall that I just reviewed is The Successful Lawyer: Powerful Strategies for Transforming Your Practice. As most know, I think the "professional service attitude" is imperative for, yes, survival; and I've also lamented the absence of books on the topics. Here's a partial answer—which, by the way, applies as much to an accounting or consulting practice as to a law practice.
Here's an entry from Mike Neiss, long-time Tom Peters Company consultant, who has posted here before:
Having had the great opportunity to spend my formative business years at United Parcel Service, I was more than a little interested in the Citigroup "lost package" story. UPS has built a spectacular high-performance culture, with a workforce that strives to out-work the competition. So, my initial emotion was one of empathy for the UPS employees directly involved in this incident. I know they lost some sleep over this big service failure. But then I thought about what my emotion might be if I were one of the 3.9 million whose financial security was breached. With the technology used these days to track packages, a loss such as this is unacceptable. I would be angry.Mike Neiss posted this on 06/09/2005.
Ad Age reported this week on the "American Demographics Perception Study", a new consumer research study. One of the interesting findings is that, while Americans think "made in USA" stands for quality, most Americans, especially "young adults entering their prime buying years and richer households who have money," are not particularly inclined to buy American-made products.
Why do you think this is? What causes the "high quality but I don't really want it" phenomenon?
Other interesting findings from the study: Dell beat Apple on innovation—you may disagree but this is what a representative cross-section of Americans think—and Wal-Mart is generally thought of as a good corporate citizen.Steve Yastrow posted this on 06/08/2005.
Sally Helgesen, twice a Cool Friend, has given us this post, which she also put at her new website, sallyhelgesen.com. Thank you, Sally:
I know it's only June, but my vote for the coolest example of what frontline empowerment can achieve is already cast. It goes to the New York City Fire Department, which has just approved a new rope system designed not by some outsourcer but by a group of firefighters, who were spurred to action by a fire in the Bronx in which two comrades died because of cumbersome and weak ropes.
The firefighters who designed the new system did so by drawing on off-duty skills such as rock climbing and metalworking. Working on their own, they formed a design team, studied materials, went to conferences to interview vendors and learn what was available and why, paying their own way to do so. Once they had figured out an alternative, one of the team members taught himself to sew so they could create a prototype. Their passion and hard work paid off: This week, the NYFD announced it would spend $11 million to acquire their system.
Oops. I didn't think to ask Comcast for an international calling plan. If I had, I would have paid 9 cents a minute for calls to Israel. Since I didn't think to ask for the international plan, I was paying 30 times more than that, close to $3/minute. Since I've been working on finishing up a deal in Jerusalem, I've made lots of phone calls there lately and racked up $357 in calls before I realized what was going on.
Shame on me. Silly me. I didn't fit a task into my busy schedule titled "make sure Comcast doesn't rip you off." If I had, I would have saved 97% on my international calling rates.
What a business model—create a complicated web of tariffs and rules, have "customer care" phone system that requires long wait times and multiple call transfers, and then charge 30 times more to people who don't go out of their way to navigate this Kafka-esque labyrinth. Wow. Maybe we should all try it.Steve Yastrow posted this on 06/07/2005.
I really do love my new Radley handbag! The reason I love it is not because of the cute little leather Scottie dog icon that is attached to every bag. Very sweet, and very collectible! It's also not because of the stylish look and subtle contrast piping (mine is black leather with very restrained dark purple contrast).
No, the reason I am in love with my bag (see it here) is that Radley designers must have been walking several miles in my shoes. They've introduced a fabulous innovation, called the slip pocket. This is a pocket that sits on the outside of the bag and is just big enough to slip in a rail ticket, membership card, hotel door key ... etc. ... etc. So, no more scrabbling around inside your bag just at the moment of truth when you need your ticket ...... It has changed my life, in a small but very helpful way!
What is it that you really love about the products that you can't live without? Is it the little things that matter to you?
You, our esteemed and (we've found out through our poll asking about browser usage) techno-advanced readers, know this by now, but it's about time we posted something: Robert Scoble and Shel Israel are writing a book online. Naked Conversations. They've blogged twelve chapters so far, scrapped at least one, added, revised, and edited, all in response to response at their book website. In effect, they have an infinite number of coauthors.
We're happy to say that Tom is among them. He wrote a foreword that's posted here.Cathy Mosca posted this on 06/06/2005.
Much of the business world and all of the tech world are on "the edge of their seat" about Apple's possible switch from IBM/Motorola chips to Intel chips.Halley Suitt posted this on 06/06/2005.
This entry comes courtesy John O'Leary, long-time Tom Peters Company facilitator:
Everyone gripes about meetings. If you live in the corporate world—and especially if you work in management—there may be nothing ELSE to your workday. Even lunch takes place over a meeting. But are meetings inherently a problem or just meetings that don't produce results? Or run on forever? Or are insufferably boring? (How many meetings do you attend that qualify as "rat hole" excavations?)
It seems to me that the currency of work is conversation—in person, telephonic, electronic—and we're all trying to manage this conversation. Meetings are an attempt at a structured form of live conversation. If so, how they're set up and conducted can make all the difference. And given the resources tied up in meetings, they should produce results. How are meetings in YOUR business conducted? Any lessons learned? Any tips to pass on?
Closer to home, Tom is speaking at Smith, a liberal arts college for women, in Northampton, MA. They should be a good match.Cathy Mosca posted this on 06/06/2005.
A recent article in the Christian Science Monitor's Ethical Investing section asks the question "Who benefits from rock-bottom pricing?"
Discount retailers are known to pay low wages and force local shops to close. But, they give people with limited means access to a broad range of products at low prices. On balance, are they good or bad for society?
The article points out that it's not easy to answer this question, saying that, "discount retail is a complex business with more winners, losers, and tough ethical tradeoffs than public debate routinely acknowledges." Although many workers and entrepreneurs are worse off, a much larger number of consumers are better off. What do you think?Steve Yastrow posted this on 06/05/2005.
I have been a guitar player for 34 years. I love it. I know guitars. I can often tell what brand of guitar is being played when I hear it. I fell in love with Gibson guitars listening to Duane Allman & Dicky Betts on The Allman Brothers Live at Fillmore East back in my high school days.
The latest issue of Time magazine carries a Father's Day ad for Gibson Guitars, encouraging people to buy dad the gift of a guitar on Father's Day. Is this a good marketing idea?
Some of my friends play guitar. But most don't. In fact, even though guitar is one of the most popular musical instruments, the actual number of players is very small relative to the population. Can an ad in Time magazine be a good investment for Gibson? Or, is Gibson deluding themselves that "getting their name out" in Time will be good for their business?Steve Yastrow posted this on 06/03/2005.
When you get to Copenhagen, one of the first things you see are people riding around on brightly-colored bicycles with a little map of the city attached to the handlebar. Turns out they're community bikes, available to all. There are a number of places around the city where the bikes are stored. You go there, insert a 20 kroner coin (about $4) into the locking mechanism, and away you go. When you return the bike to one of these collection points, your 20 kroner is reimbursed. Very cool. Of course this is a city, too, where the bike lanes are as wide as car lanes. And being used by a lot of bikes. Turns out there are over 12 million bicycles in use in Denmark. For a population of 5.4 million. Sounds like the ratio of cars to licensed drivers here in the U.S.Erik Hansen posted this on 06/02/2005.
10 years ago, I moved into a new office and started using a travel agent across the street to book business travel. She never once tried to solicit my personal leisure travel, although I did have her book hotel rooms in Europe about 4 years after I'd begun to use her.
Her effort on my personal travel was, to say the least, lame. Didn't seem like she cared to be doing it, and I pretty much stopped using her for anything after that. About the same time their agency joined a travel agency consortium called Virtuoso, and I started receiving Virtuoso's quarterly glossy leisure travel brochures, overprinted with the local agency's name and address.
I've never received a personal call from them—over 10 years—to solicit my leisure travel, and the one time they did a trip for me they put in a weak effort. Yet, they're spending money 4x/year to send me leisure travel brochures that I'm not responding to.
Why do people think that the secret to marketing is to pay someone to do it for you? Great marketing isn't something you can buy. You have to do it.Steve Yastrow posted this on 06/02/2005.
What's going on here? New technologies are sprouting up all over the place. You can't swing a dead cat in the media without hitting a story about a new Google feature launch or television coming to cell phones. People are innovating left and right.
Why is healthcare not keeping up with these advances in technology? Look at these three recently published articles related to the lack of electronic medical records: NY Newsday, AlwaysOn Network, and USAToday. Apparently funding is the biggest barrier.
But if there are small armies out there scanning old books in libraries (that can't be very lucrative), there must be people who could figure out a way to make a buck from creating a simple, beautiful system to get our medical records online. The USAToday story spotlights an entrepreneurial healthcare-by-phone business that would be a whole lot safer if the doctor at the other end of the line could diagnose you while looking at your medical records. On the other hand, how worried would you be that someone could hack into your health history once it's online?Shelley Dolley posted this on 06/02/2005.
We think we've solved the problem of the disappearing and the "You cannot comment again" comments. We upgraded the blogging software and unbeknownst to us there was an anti-spamming "10-minute delay between postings" rule in place. We've deleted the delay and that should solve the problem that some of you were experiencing today. Please let us know if you have any other problems posting comments.Erik Hansen posted this on 06/01/2005.
Is Felt a traitor or hero? To me he's a hero. (And I was working for President Dickster-Trickster in the WH at the time.) But the far bigger issue is that thing they taught all of us junior military types: Despite the overwhelming Rule of Order in the Military, one must not obey an illegal order. (Too bad for Lindy English that she was AWOL that day.) Felt apparently thought the WG investigation was a coverup, and sounded off. Whenever we learn anything particularly "questionable" about a big institution (think Sherron Watkins & Enron), it's invariably because ... ONE LONELY SOUL ... decided to dis-obey an illegal or immoral order.
Hats off, say I.
Huge apologies to all our visitors who are trying to comment. We've just switched servers and our blogging software here at tompeters.com and are experiencing some problems. Some comments are just disappearing and some folks are not able to comment at all.
One thing we've been told is that the old Movable Type cookies saved in your browser might be causing some of this. So, as a first step, you could delete your old cookies. No guarantees on that one, however.
We are working on this. Hope to have this problem solved soon. And once again, our apologies for any difficulties you're experiencing.Erik Hansen posted this on 06/01/2005.
I nearly choked on an AOL headline story this morning. I've long been irritated that so few "get" the enormous women's market opportunity. Well, gulp, some do. According to the story, the journal Addiction will publish research detailing the humongous efforts the cigarette companies have made to figure out how to hook women.
As I said, gulp.
What we're talking about on the front page.
Before blogging became all the rage, Tom was posting book reviews and Observations (essentially early blog posts) to this site. You can find the archives below.
What we're talking about
on the front page.