Event: American Gem SocietyCathy Mosca posted this on 04/28/2006.
| Permalink | Comments (1) |
"Tolerate nothing less than 'Departmental excellence and coolness.'" Tom Peters
Great article in current issue (April) of Business 2.0, titled "Best-kept Secrets of the World's Best Companies." Normally I dislike such stuff, but I think the odds in this case of finding something you can use are remarkably high. There are 25 ideas discussed. Among them: Toro's "Contra Team" that formally rebuts potential merger candidates; it in one instance led Toro to reject a hot $10 million acquisition candidate that was in fact a dud. Bloomberg's amazing offices. Corning's approach to R&D, utilizing outsiders. Southwest's hiring process ("The Job Audition"). W.L. Gore's peer-to-peer, almost hierarchy-free organizational processes—I was a pal of the late Bill Gore, and started writing about the company in A Passion for Excellence in 1985; but the approach is as fresh and provocative as ever; alas, the fact that it's still considered novel suggests how slow we are to adopt truly radical organizational reform. Urban Oufitters' support for partying on the company's nickel—that is, seeking out hot trends that can be translated into product. Etc.
Good stuff.Tom Peters posted this on 04/27/2006.
The same issue of B2.0 offers "Bottom Line Design Awards." There is some great stuff, but my favorite (because it's so unexpected) is Target's "ClearRX Bottle"—a wonderfully clear and attractive and user-friendly pill package (no small deal, given that studies show that 60% of prescriptions are "taken improperly").
That brings to mind a wonderful and compelling book, Thomas Hine's The Total Package. E.g.: "Packages are about containing and labeling and informing and celebrating. They are about power and flattery and trying to win people's trust. They are about beauty and craftsmanship and comfort. They are about color, protection, survival."
Go back to Bloomberg: Sure it's an odd couple, but Space Design and Packaging are two of the most under-utilized, powerful tools for organization change and branding success respectively.
Design! Damn it!Tom Peters posted this on 04/27/2006.
Yesterday in Phoenix. The three content providers—Ken Blanchard, Marcus Buckingham, and Tom. (Ken B was Tom's roommate for a while at Cornell.) Photo credit to Ilse Dehner, LumaCore Events Manager.Cathy Mosca posted this on 04/27/2006.
One of the stops on Tom's circuitous route home is Phoenix. That's where he is today, appearing with Ken Blanchard and Marcus Buckingham, as part of a series presented by LumaCore, a company started by old friends of his from Lexington, KY.Cathy Mosca posted this on 04/26/2006.
While working on slides presentations for LumaCore, Tom made a new special PPT and updated an old one. They are part of the Long LumaCore PPT above, but they're also linked here as stand-alone presentations: Containerization—on the occasion of its 50th Anniversary—and Health: Century21.Job1 (updated today).Cathy Mosca posted this on 04/26/2006.
Our latest addition to the Cool Friends is Jeff Angus. A management consultant and baseball writer, his two passions unite in his book Management by Baseball: The Official Rules for Winning Management in Any Field, which will be in bookstores next week. His tactic of using baseball examples to illustrate solutions to business problems works—whether you're a baseball fan or not.
What Tom said: "Management by Baseball is a great baseball book and an insightful general management primer. Jeff Angus has written the book I wish I'd had in me.—Tom Peters, Lifelong Orioles fan ... occasional management guru"
Read the Cool Friend interview here.Cathy Mosca posted this on 04/26/2006.
Heathrow. 6A.M. 24 April. Back to the U.S.A. Feels good. (D.C. tomorrow, then Phoenix, then Orlando ... and VT on Friday!)Tom Peters posted this on 04/25/2006.
As airline and airport woes mounted, I frankly wondered what I was thinking when I agreed to go to Siberia. Well, now I know.
Every now and then, one feels that what one does is of some value. Last Friday in Novosibirsk (04.14) was one of those days. The air, as I previously posted, was at full-chill as I arrived. Not so the reception. I was welcomed effusively as I debarked Siberian Air from St Petersburg. And that welcome set the tone for an extraordinary couple of days.
I think I was the first, more or less, of "my sort" to make the trip to this large, mostly industrial city. Like the rest of Russia, hiccups notwithstanding, Novosibirsk-Siberia is moving at a brisk pace toward embracing free markets—and preparing to compete in our global village. (We're all next door neighbors, etc., etc., etc.) Thus the approximately 800 business folks who joined my interpreter (Ivan Komarov, a Russian sporting an economics Ph.D. from the University of Maryland) and me were anxious to go from the get-go.
I, as usual, while attempting to be mindful of cultural differences, did not offer a "simplified TP presentation"—to do so, I believe, would be insulting. I did focus a bit more on management "basics"—and liked the result so much that I plan to keep it up in my U.S. presentations. (There is a wretched tendency to keep complicating things, for the sake of self-amusement, to the point that the "eternal basics" disappear into the dust; that was one of the reasons for the "Irreducible209" I recently introduced.)
At any rate, the day sped by (last chapter of the presentation ended at 8pm, followed by a dinner) and attention-energy never flagged. Thanks to the skill and style of my interpreter, the day's sober if uplifting main message also had its full share of light moments—my description of our 1st grade drill of hiding under our desks to evade Soviet atom bombs drew a laugh, for instance; so, too, my attributing my arm-waving, shouting speaking style to Nikita Khrushchev.
Silly as it may sound, I honestly felt I left Novosibirsk having made more or less 800 fast friends—and having offered along the way a few modest suggestions and a generally spirited approach to altered enterprise practices. The audience was amazingly receptive, and apparently quite charged up. The proof, as always, is in the pudding—but as I departed for Rome I did so with a rare sense of satisfaction.Tom Peters posted this on 04/24/2006.
I got so damn sick of "excellence," so worn out by "excellence" ... for years after "the book" became a hit. Distanced myself from it. Ran from it. (Though I willingly collected the royalties.) Now I've come full circle. Sure, I think In Search of ... was a pretty good book. But I also think a lot of its success stemmed from the word "excellence" per se.
What an aspiration!
What else is there?
In particular, no one before ISOE (perhaps) had used the word "excellence" and the word "business" in the same sentence!
Business, pre-1982? Efficiency. Adults only. Serious. Money. Humorless. By the numbers. Booooorrrring.
No! No! No! No!
Simple exam: synonyms and antonyms for "excellence."
Excellence/Synonyms: Purity. Transcendence. Virtue. Elegance. Majesty.
So, old-I is-am back! In love ... AGAIN ... with Excellence. And I have a new seminar-presentation title:
Launched it in, yes, Siberia!
Which leads me to ...Tom Peters posted this on 04/24/2006.
After 28 years on the road pontificating ... in Siberia I finally figured what it is I do, and, to some extent, why I do it (e.g. travel to Siberia at age 63). I think my "analytics" and "facts" are sound. (I am, after all, in the end, an observer-sponge-analyst-hypothesis-generator.) But, more than those facts and analytics, I bring a "point of view" ... an "attitude" ... toward enterprise that is unconventional, and perhaps liberating.
The Peters Principles: Enthusiasm. Emotion. EXCELLENCE. Energy. Excitement. Service. Growth. Creativity. Imagination. Vitality. Joy. Surprise. Independence. Spirit. Community. Limitless human potential. Diversity. PROFIT. Innovation. Design. Wow. Quality. Entrepreneurialism.
Business* (*at its best): An emotional, vital, innovative, joyful, creative, entrepreneurial endeavor that elicits maximum concerted human potential in the wholehearted service of others.** (**Employees, Customers, Suppliers, Communities, Owners, Temporary Partners)
Slides #3, #4, and #5:
Business: The Ultimate Creative Endeavor.
Business: The Ultimate Personal Development-Growth Experience.
Business: The Ultimate Transcendent Service Opportunity.
Not easy. Not common. But a worthy aspiration.
Enough to launch me on a plane to Siberia. (And, as I write, Oman.) (Not to mention Phoenix—coming up next week!)
Hmmmm. So this is why I do it ...Tom Peters posted this on 04/24/2006.
Age 63. Trip #1 to Rome. 7 days. TCI ... Total Cultural Immersion. (Different than "vacation.") I'm more exhausted than I was from Siberia! But I am also overwhelmed, filled with ... what? Amazement? Awe? Hope? Inspiration? Invigorated spirit? Arriving late last Saturday, I never imagined for a minute actually getting into St Peter's square for Pope Benedict XVI's first Easter mass the next day. But it happened—in fact, with minimal anti-social line butting (not on Easter!), I was able to get about halfway into the Square. Though I'm not a Catholic, the majesty and sense of the apex of the sacred was far more than "moving," far more than "once in a lifetime." In a world where the news consists mostly of violence, this Celebration of what it means to be human at its best was as uplifting a feeling as any I've ever had.
The days that followed were a magnificent blur of churches, art, insane amounts of food (I fast as I write), amazement at the vigor of Rome (is there any other major city where thousands of people wander down the center of thoroughfares 24 hours a day?), etc., etc.
The week was also cause for reflection. Today (Friday the 21st) is Rome's birthday. Yesterday I was at the site where Romulus dug a trench to first mark out the city in 754B.C. As I reflected on this Center of Western Civilization, and then read repeatedly of Iran and nukes and such, I wondered if what started in Rome 2,700 years or so ago might come to an end with a mushroom cloud in a not so distant future. Gloomy and defeatist? Well, not really—I'm not about to build a bunker. But man's ceaseless violence toward his fellow men (Rome had far more than its share, God knows) is cause for despair and anguish.
[See more of Tom's Rome photos at Flickr.—CM]
Tom Peters posted this on 04/24/2006.
As I absorbed so many of man's most extraordinary cultural achievements (Michelangelo's Moses, Bernini's sculptures at Villa Borghese, a dozen breathtaking church ceilings), and overate, and wandered with Italians down the center of broad streets at 1 a.m. ... I wondered.
China expands its global muscle by the day, or hour. India surges. Yet Italy, Germany, and France—the fools, per me—have turned their back on progress. On the one hand I "know" my message about the intensity of competition and the need for an incredibly vigorous response is "right."
And yet ...
Isn't it okay to take a week and glory in the glories of Rome?
To extend a lunch hour into two?
To read crappy thrillers that add not an ounce to one's intellectual muscle mass?
Though my message is technically "right" ... and urgency is high ("If you don't like change you're going to like irrelevance even less") ... and "we ain't seen nothin' yet" (life sciences, etc.) ... isn't it okay to have slightly more than a one-dimensional life pre-occupied with China and India and Brand You and the Accumulation of Intellectual Capitol 24-hours-a-frigging-day ("24/7")?
The Italians and French and Germans are missing a beat, no doubt. "Three billion new capitalists" want my job, too.
But surely there is more to life?Tom Peters posted this on 04/24/2006.
Remember my recent Charles Handy post: "One bank is currently claiming to 'leverage its global footprint to provide effective financial solutions for its customers by providing a gateway to diverse markets.' I assume that it is just saying that it is there to 'help its customers wherever they are.'"
Well, Charles got me thinking. Hence I offer, in his name, the beginning of "Tom's New Biz Decoder":
"Seriously cool shit" (Model T, Debit cards, Corvettes, iPods, Cirque du Soleil, Google, etc)
"Seriously cool shit"
"Seriously cool shit"
"Business Model"/"Business Case"
"How we plan to make a buck"
"We, uh, sorta think customers are important"
"Best people win"/"Recruit and nurture best people"
"Do more stuff than the next guy"
"Sustainable value-added advantage"
"Keep doin' more stuff than the next guy"
"One stop shopping" ("financial services super-market," etc)
"We're buying up every piece of crap we can lay our hands on that's even vaguely related to our business"
"Stuff we're better at than you are"
"Get out of the bloody office"
"Please tell your friends how cool we are"
"I want to be bigger than him" (CEO v CEO at Fortune-sponsored cocktail parties)
"Economies of scale"
"We can't outthink 'em, but maybe we can out-blubber 'em" (Sumonomics?)
"Competitive executive pay"
"The amazing shit you can get away with if you've got the right exec comp consultant"
"See no evil, hear no evil, etc, etc is out in the Age of Spitzer"
"I'm too tired to work hard"
"Ha, caught you bastards cookin' the books"
"Over-zealous regulatory policy"
"We got nabbed"
"Run more, eat less"
"You're on your own, dude"
"Finish the damn job on time for once"
"Rich man's questionable alternative to old-fashioned s-e-l-l-i-n-g'"
"Blue ocean strategy"
"Hit 'em where they ain't" (Wee Willie Keeler, 1st NL batting champ)
"Get the hell out of the way"
"Built to last"
"Too big to kill"* (*Definition to be revised if GM tanks)
"Bully for us! Our stuff works!"
"Quarterly earnings obsession"
"Bloody shareholders keep wantin' us to make a profit"
"Business Process Re-engineering"
"You won't believe how much the software we're trying to sell you will cost"
"Business Process Re-engineering"
"You won't believe how many consultants it will take to install the software we're trying to sell you"
"We can't make it on the product, so we're going into consulting just like everybody else"
"We couldn't figure out how to do anything that anybody would pay for"
"Do it all yourself is stupid, stupid"
"Knowledge capital accumulation"
"Lots of ideas"
"Enough non-white guys in group photos to keep the EEOC off our backs"
Tom Peters posted this on 04/24/2006.
Your turn ...
April 20th. International Herald Tribune. Op-ed pages. 7 authors. All 7 are male. 5 letters. All 5 are written by males.
Maybe it takes a violent breed (males) to write about violence (political-military and economic "warfare")????????Tom Peters posted this on 04/24/2006.
Tom is in Oman. His photo above gives a hint of the beauty of the country. Yes, he's been in a wide range of places in the last ten days. Siberia, Rome, Oman. What kind of culture shock must that itinerary create? Today, Sunday, he's speaking to Competence HR in Oman, and the slides are available here.Cathy Mosca posted this on 04/23/2006.
A couple of weeks ago I was presenting in New York City, and I realized that I had forgotten the power cord for my Dell laptop. Since I was in the great city of New York, where you can find everything, I wasn't that concerned. After all, I have paid service coverage and Dell is known for service ... or are they?
I called Dell and told them of my dilemma, and their first response was, "We are Dell and our parts are proprietary. The only place you can get them is from us." Just to be sure that I'd heard correctly, I asked, "You mean to tell me that there is no place in all of New York City where I can buy or borrow a power supply?" You know the answer: "No!"
Seems like déjà vu. Wasn't this the old attitude of IBM? Careful, Dell. Don't think too highly of yourself.
P.S. The temporary fix was to purchase a universal power supply, which will run the computer but not charge the battery!Val Willis posted this on 04/20/2006.
Saturday. April 15. Siberia. Novosibirsk. Sunday. April 16. St Peter's. Benedict XVI. First Easter service.
Tom Peters posted this on 04/19/2006.
Amazingly, my first visit to Rome. From Michelangelo's Moses to miscellaneous ruins to the juxtaposition of old and new—Nuovo BMW Z4, labeled "Radically Thrilling." (Love that term!)
Be sure to catch the Economist, 15 April. Leader, page 14. "Forget China, India and the Internet: Economic Growth Is Driven by Women." (Headline.) "Even today in the modern, developed world, surveys show that parents still prefer to have a boy rather than a girl. One longstanding reason boys have been seen as a greater blessing has been that they are expected to become better economic providers for their parents' old age. Yet it is time for parents to think again. Girls may now be a better investment." "Girls get better grades in school than boys, and in most developed countries more women than men go to university. Women will thus be better equipped for the new jobs of the 21st century, in which brains count a lot more than brawn. ... And women are more likely to provide sound advice on investing their parents' nest egg: surveys show that women consistently achieve higher financial returns than men do. Furthermore, the increase in female employment in the rich world has been the main driving force of growth in the last couple of decades. Those women have contributed more to global GDP growth than have either new technology or the new giants, India and China."
Continuing on page 73: "A Guide to Womenomics: The Future of the World Economy Lies Increasingly in Female Hands." (Headline.) More stats: Around the globe since 1980, women have filled "two new jobs for every one taken by a man." "Women are becoming more important in the global marketplace not just as workers, but also as consumers, entrepreneurs, managers and investors." Re consumption, Goldman Sachs in Tokyo has developed an index of 115 companies poised to benefit from women's increased purchasing power; over the past decade the value of shares in "Goldman's basket has risen by 96%, against the Tokyo stockmarket's rise of 13%." A couple of final assertions: (1) It is now agreed that "the single best investment that can be made in the developing world" is educating girls. (2) Also, surprisingly, nations with the highest female laborforce participation rates, such as Sweden and the U.S., have the highest fertility rates; and those with the lowest participation rates, such as Italy and Germany, have the lowest fertility rates.
Quite a story, eh?Tom Peters posted this on 04/19/2006.
Cool Friend Steve Farber has followed up his best-seller with a new book, The Radical Edge: Stoke Your Business, Amp Your Life, and Change the World. It promises to "awaken your spirit, give you that much needed boost of inspiration and excitement for life, and it will do all of this (and more) in the most refreshing and creative way." You can read a sample from the book here (PDF).
Today only! Steve et al. are doing a special promotion. Steve has chosen some partners to give you more value, including Tom and other authors such as Jason Jennings and Apprentice alum Wes Moss. You can see what's on offer by going to stevefarber.com.
This is a one-day offer, good only on April 19, so check it out now.Cathy Mosca posted this on 04/19/2006.
I was enthralled by a great TV programme over the Easter Weekend. (His lordship!) Melvyn Bragg, the eminent writer and broadcaster, has selected the 12 books that he contends have been agents of social, political, and personal revolution. The only work of fiction that made the cut was William Shakespeare's first folio of 1623, with everything from Darwin's Origin of Species through to the First Rule Book of the Football Association being on the list. You can see all 12 here.
As Bragg himself explains, "When people think of things that change the world, they tend to think of extraordinary events: the assassination of leaders, the invasion of countries, the havoc wreaked by natural disasters. There is something less attention-grabbing, but just as powerful, which changes the world—books. The series aims to show that the lives we lead have been formed as often as not by a single book."
The closest we get to a 'business' book that makes the final 12 is Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, which set me thinking ... would any of the great business books from the 20th and 21st centuries qualify for such an esteemed status? Which of them could we say, hand on heart, have truly changed the way we lead our business lives? What's your nomination for the most influential business book since The Wealth of Nations? And what is your evidence of its impact?Madeleine McGrath posted this on 04/18/2006.
Our friends at www.blogidarity.org think that $1/month can save a life. We agree. Also, you'll recognize most of the names of the blogidarity folks from the comments pages here at tompeters.com. Thanks to Felix Gerena, Rosa Say, Trevor Gay, Steve Sherlock, Troy Worman, Rocky Noe, and Phil Gerbyshak for putting together this life-saving and life-affirming site. One of their beneficiaries also happens to be Clear Path International, which our friend and guest blogger, James Hathaway, co-founded. Click on over to www.blogidarity.org and donate some money.Erik Hansen posted this on 04/17/2006.
New record. Took 31 hours to get to Novosibirsk, Siberia, from Boston. Left on the 11th. Lost the 12th. (No international dateline, just travelin'.) Arrived on the 13th. (Boston-Frankfurt-St Petersburg via Lufthansa, St Petersburg to Novosibirsk via Air Siberia.) Featured a 9-hour layover in St Petersburg. (Alas, I was stuck in the terminal—instead of a quick visit to the Hermitage, I instead sat on the concrete floor reading cheap novels and working on my next PowerPoint; I didn't qualify for any of the clubs; couldn't eat either, as the currency kiosk was closed until whenever—and the shops wouldn't take dollars.) Novosibirsk, on the Trans-Siberian Railway, bisects a line drawn from Moscow to Vladivostock. It's an industrial and scientific city, Russia's third largest. Great growth in mfg occurred during World War II. As the Germans marched East, Stalin hurriedly moved as much critical manufacturing as possible out of the range of their bombers—Novosibirsk was a great beneficiary. Then, in the '50s a giant "science city" was planted here.
When I arrived, groggy, at 6 a.m., after those endless hours, I was greeted and jolted out of my sleepless stupor with a temperature of minus 13C, about plus 5F. I quickly noticed there were two kinds of people—glove wearers and barehanders. I decided to defend Vermont's honor—and went gloveless.
My afternoon walk revealed a lot of Stalinist heavy-on-the-concrete "architecture," and a smattering of wonderful wooden structures with ornate carving that I'd guess are classic Siberian. As usual in Russia, alas, smiling faces were noticeably absent. At one point, on my way into the hotel after my Power Walk, I politely held the door while about 10 women paraded out. Not one looked up and graced me with as much as a fleeting nod. (Okay, coulda been me.) Here, a long way from Moscow, English is simply not spoken by any but the relatively young. I'm even finding it almost impossible to communicate with the hotel staff. Problems notwithstanding, my hosts are lovely, and I suspect I'm the first management "guru" to venture this far afield—I look forward to giving my talk, though I can't imagine I'm relevant.Tom Peters posted this on 04/16/2006.
I admit that I got a perverse kick out of "Beware of Grand Visions and Foresight in Business," a column by John Kay in the Financial Times (04.11). Herewith an excerpt:
Competing for the Future by C.K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel was one of the most influential business books of the 1990s. ... The authors argued that 'the challenge is to pierce the fog of uncertainty and develop great foresight into the whereabouts of tomorrow's markets.' ... The claim that the constraints on success are limits of our imagination lifts our hearts. ...
Hindsight is a harsh taskmaster. Some of the companies singled out in the business book of the 1980s, In Search of Excellence, such as Wang and Atari, subsequently performed badly. Still, a 2002 Fortune study reviewing the companies Tom Peters and Robert Waterman had picked two decades earlier showed that they had generated shareholder returns in excess of the Standard & Poor's index. This is not true of the Prahalad and Hamel 12, which yielded 6.2 percent per year against 9 percent for the market as a whole. The four companies [Prahalad and Hamel] praised for 'regenerating their strategy' were all subsequently acquired by larger companies in the same industry. AT&T, Compaq, JPMorgan and Banker's Trust ...
I guess my perverse pleasure comes because almost every "big" management book seems to need to devote a paragraph to trashing the companies Bob and I picked. None cites even a dollop of data to support their point ... which doesn't slow them down in the least. We did indeed make our share of mistakes—but the bunch-as-a-whole have been remarkably resilient.
Ah, well ...Tom Peters posted this on 04/16/2006.
Couldn't figure out what to say that'd be relevant in Novosibirsk—so I ended up cobbling together a bunch of "stuff" under the heading: "Excellence. Always."
I also decided to turn this one into a generic presentation I'm calling "KillerCombo." It begins with two new little pieces—"Exellence. Always." "First Level Scientific Success: Beyond Brains." (The idea of the latter is to underscore all the things besides intelligence that underpin Great Scientific Success—such as fanaticism, the ability to attract & keep top talent, and luck.) Then there's a new "All the Things You Need to Know," a new "Leadership23" (created for Merrill Lynch last week). Next, "People Power"—which combines "Brand You" and "The Talent50." Then: "Leadership2006: The Passion Imperative." "The Irreducible209."
All yours ...Tom Peters posted this on 04/16/2006.
The above "Excellence. Always" PowerPoint also serves as the event slides for those who attended Tom's talk in Novosibirsk. Click here to download.Cathy Mosca posted this on 04/16/2006.
"One bank is currently claiming to 'leverage its global footprint to provide effective financial solutions for its customers by providing a gateway to diverse markets.' I assume that it is just saying that it is there to help its customers wherever they are." —Charles Handy
"Never forget implementation boys. In our work it's what I call 'missing 98 percent' of the client puzzle." —Al McDonaldTom Peters posted this on 04/16/2006.
Tom spoke in Novosibirsk, Siberia, today (it's midnight there as I write). We've received several emails through the website from people there, so we know that his visit was anticipated. Attendees will be able to get the PowerPoint slides here, but unfortunately, it will be a while. Tom has no Internet connection in Novosibirsk, so he will send his slides along as soon as he's able. And as soon as he does, we'll post them. Please check back later.Cathy Mosca posted this on 04/14/2006.
What's your adaptation to the chaos going to be?
In Tom's consulting business, our clients tell us that times have never been tougher for them—competition has never been greater, and the environmental, social, and technological challenges we are all facing make the world of work a confusing, testing, and chaotic place to operate. Just how do we decide on the right approaches for the future?
For those who are looking for insights, energy, and optimism, Tom Peters continues to be a fabulous source from which to draw support. In the 24 years since In Search of Excellence, Tom has captivated audiences all around the world with his insights on the future through his speaking and writing. Demand for his ideas is as high now as it has ever been, with very good reason!
On 17 May 2006 in London, there is a rare opportunity to sign up to hear Tom present his latest ideas at a public event. Entitled "Finding Inspiration: A Masterclass in Corporate Excellence," the event provides you with the chance to soak yourself in a whole day of Tom's reflections and rants. You'll leave with a head full of ideas and a jolt to your system that is bound to kick you into some fresh and renewed action. Join the audience of over 400 people at the London Hilton Metropole for a roller coaster ride.
Visit www.benchmarkpeters.com for all the information you need to sign up for this 'not to be missed' occasion.Chris Nel posted this on 04/12/2006.
Our new Cool Friend Daniel Nissanoff has written a book called FutureShop: How the New Auction Culture Will Revolutionize the Way We Buy, Sell, and Get the Things We Really Want. The subtitle gives a good idea of the focus of the interview. Nissanoff's argument is that when online auctions get truly seamless, then purchasing behavior will shift. If a purchase can be considered temporary, will you buy the item whose features or use you may not be able to master, knowing that you can pass it on to someone else with ease, recouping much of the cost? See the full discussion in our Cool Friend interview here. Or visit the FutureShop website or blog.Cathy Mosca posted this on 04/12/2006.
The New York Times reports that Ivan Seidenberg, CEO of Verizon, collected $19.6 million in compensation last year, up 48 percent. The stock, meanwhile, fell 26 percent. Earnings dropped 5.5 percent. The firm's credit rating was downgraded. And 50,000 managers had their pensions frozen. The Board justified the pay packet, claiming that Seidenberg exceeded "challenging" performance benchmarks.
The article primarily examines the possible conflict of interest between Verizon and its executive comp consultants, Hewitt Associates, who do an enormous amount of non-comp business with the firm.
In general, there's been a firestorm surrounding executive pay this year. I've generally avoided the topic. I believe in markets—including markets for exec pay. On the other hand, when something looks downright silly ... it may well be downright silly. Seidenberg is but one of many examples of this magnitude of apparent disjunction between pay and performance.
Speaking of silly, one of the basics of setting comp is comparison to others in the same field. Thus, whatever idiot consultant first ratchets up the pay of some undeserving boss sets the tone for the rest of the pack.
(Why the hell do you pay the former Gillette CEO $185,000,000 for the act of peddling his company to P&G? I'd say that for giving up on his company he ought to be docked $185,000,000. Hey, I'm half serious.)
Frankly, I think the impact of mega-corp CEOs on performance is wildly overrated. Looking at the pay scales you'd think the CEO had done all the work of the company single-handedly. I acknowledge that there are probably a handful of CEOs who have indeed moved mountains—Gerstner at IBM in the 90s, Nardelli at Home Depot today. But by and large, the boss's impact, while important, is hardly as important as the pay disparity between him and his top lieutenants, let alone the rank and file.
So, I give up. I hereby join the parade of those who say, "Enough."Tom Peters posted this on 04/11/2006.
Exuberance: The Passion for Life. Psychiatrist Kay Redfield Jamison offers up an entire book on exuberance. "I believe exuberance is incomparably more important than we acknowledge," she begins. Amen! I pulled a few quotes from the book which you'll find here.
So what? "Hire for it" is one big "so what." "Promote for it" is another. While that's not news, the "news" is that I'm suggesting (insisting) that this be at the top of your hiring-promotion criteria.
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations ... One School at a Time. Greg Mortenson's story is downright amazing. And intimidating—it makes your and my travails look pretty puny. After failing to climb K-2, Mortenson takes a pilgrimage to very, very rural Pakistan, where he has so far built 55 schools. Amidst Taliban territory, they remarkably emphasize education for girls. To use terms like "amazing" or "unbelievable" is gross, almost negligent understatement.
Read the book. Re-assess your life. And three hearty cheers for the idea of "Wow." Wow-ing can indeed be life's aim.
Targeting the New Professional Woman: How to Market and Sell to Today's 57 Million Working Women. Speaking of "Wow," the marketing to women "thing" is ... finally ... gaining some traction. Faith Popcorn and Lys Marigold. Martha Barletta. Fara Warner. And, now, Gerry Myers. "Traction," yes—but examples of true strategic re-alignment around this issue are still too few and too far between.Tom Peters posted this on 04/11/2006.
Tom's comment on the Beatles post below [Beatles, Stones, & Cubs, 04.07.06] has my head spinning.
Steve, this is the ultimate "no brainer" to me. The Beatles changed the world, and will be one of music's "Top 25" all-time stories-historical monuments 300 years from now. The Rolling Stones will have long, long been forgotten.
The Rolling Stones will have been seen as a fabulous, long-lasting group of performers. The Beatles changed the entire world—the world of politics and society-as-a-whole as much as the world of music. Honestly, how could there be any comparison at all?
What is this absurd obsession with "built to last"? "Built to make an impact" is my mantra—and if you last you last, if you don't you don't.
I've long said that Netscape is one of my favorite companies ever: Born, changed the world, and died ... all in the space of 60 months. I'll stand by that remark.
He has challenged the "built to last" paradigm many times, and says that "built to make an impact" is so much more important. His comparison of the Beatles' greatness to the Stones' makes it so clear.
We automatically assume that longevity is a result of greatness. But it so often isn't true. Hey, Mozart died at age 35. Duane Allman and Charlie Christian are two of the 20th century's most influential guitarists, and both died at age 24. And then there's Netscape ...
How ingrained is this obsession with longevity? It seems that people are (finally) breaking away from the "bigger is better" paradigm. Can the same happen with "built to last"?Steve Yastrow posted this on 04/10/2006.
One of my pet peeves is the "dumbed down" conversation. I've heard too many of them lately. In contrast, the comments on my last two posts are rich, interesting and thoughtful. Thank you.
I wrote those posts at O'Hare Airport Friday evening, just before boarding an overnight flight. After a stop in Frankfurt with friends, I arrived in Jerusalem before dawn yesterday (Sunday) and spent the day relaxing away from the online world. I just flipped open my computer at my favorite Jerusalem coffee shop, Tmol Shilshom, which is in an old, funky building in the center of town. Central Jerusalem has free wireless access, so I was able to check in for the first time in a few days.
What a pleasure to come back from a few days of "head clearing" and read those comments. I love it when people think and engage in good debate and conversation. Let's keep doing it!Steve Yastrow posted this on 04/10/2006.
A colleague was recently complaining about the powerful personalities on his sales team. He compared it to the Beatles, and contrasted it with the Rolling Stones. His point was that the Beatles were John, Paul, George, and Ringo, and the Rolling Stones were the Rolling Stones. He claimed that the powerful individual personalities in the Beatles were a major reason they broke up in 1970 and the Stones still play today.
I don't agree 100% with the analogy (after all, there are Mick and Keith), but the point is well taken. How do the individual personalities fit into the overall brand, and not overtake it?
I attended the Cubs' home opener at Wrigley Field today, and I couldn't help but think of this. The Cubs are my friend's definition of the Rolling Stones. In the energy at the park (despite the sub-40 degree temperature) I sensed a continuity with Cubs games I attended in the late 60s. The players change, but it's still the Cubs. When Matt Murton, in his first home game as a Cub, made an amazing double play throw from left field, the fans cheered as they would have cheered a Billy Williams throw from left in 1969 or a Moises Alou throw from left in 2003.
How does the brand transcend and outlive the players? (And then, ask yourself why the players make so much money!)Steve Yastrow posted this on 04/07/2006.
What are the characteristics of a great customer relationship?Steve Yastrow posted this on 04/07/2006.
Tom is back in Key Biscayne with the Merrill Lynch Investment Managers. Today there is only one PPT, but anybody attending the event who wants to see more can delve into the presentations from Wednesday's posting.Cathy Mosca posted this on 04/07/2006.
There's Roger Bannister's 4-minute mile. Sir Edmund Hillary's conquest of Mt Everest. Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak.
And now ...
Post-travel dress requirements mean that, for me, a major hotel qualification is speed of suit pressing. A couple of hours is okay. (24 hours per day.) An hour is nice. Or so I thought. The bar has been raised. The Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne took, pressed, and returned my suit in 14 minutes.
Wow! (And it was pressed beautifully.)
Move over, Joe D!
(Incidentally, I'm not so lame as to refuse to press my own suit. I do it regularly; but if an airline has performed Major Full-body Smush ... it is indeed beyond me.)Tom Peters posted this on 04/05/2006.
Today's event is in Key Biscayne, Florida, where Tom is speaking to Merrill Lynch Investment Managers. His photo is looking back at Miami Beach from Key Biscayne. It looks a bit grey, but the weather has to be better than what we have today in Boston ... it's snowing.Cathy Mosca posted this on 04/05/2006.
Sure it's a little thing. Sure Susan thought I was nuts.
I don't care. I think it's important.
A local school had a fabulous increase in standardized math test scores. Very cool. In the local paper, the Principal said, "The significant jump is due to the hard work and dedication of our teachers and administrators—and is not the typical increase one would expect in a year."
Quiz: What's wrong with that quote?
Okay, it's a rhetorical question. I'll provide my "slightly" altered version: "The significant jump is due to the hard work and dedication of our students and teachers and administrators—and is not the typical increase one would expect in a year."
Am I a nitpicker? Or not? Your call.
(PS: Flu struck—hence my small contributions of late. Ha! Haven't missed a speech. Off at noon for Key Biscayne for Merrill Lynch.)Tom Peters posted this on 04/04/2006.
Tom never gets tired of re-visiting his slides presentations and re-combining the ideas therein in new ways. A prime example is on offer today: Irreducibles209 & Sales122—173 Irreducibles are now 209; 111 Thoughts on Selling are now 122. And the two PPTs are available in combination by means of the link above.Cathy Mosca posted this on 04/04/2006.
I don't think pharmaceutical advertisers should be required to include medical disclaimers in their television commercials.
You know what I'm talking about—"Side effects may include nausea, bloating and diarrhea ..." "Be sure to tell your doctor if ..."Do not take this medication if ..."
Requirements to include these warnings are based on the fallacy that the advertising will sell the product. The advertising is a small piece of the sell, and the doctors and product literature, which are also part of the sell, can fill in the warnings. Why should the rest of us have to listen to that unpleasant information? After all, a campaign might be successful and still have 99%+ of viewers not in the target audience. So don't make the rest of us listen to that stuff. The video of happy patients is insufferable enough.
I'm all for protecting patients. But let's not inflate the power of the ads—which don't function in a vacuum. Let the doctor do the dirty work when only the interested patient is listening. (If he can't be trusted to do that he shouldn't be trusted to prescribe the medication. TV commercials do not exist to protect us from doctors.)Steve Yastrow posted this on 04/03/2006.
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.