Event Slides: ONO
Cathy Mosca posted this on 11/30/2006.
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"Bring in wild and wooly outsiders. E-x-p-a-n-d the box." Tom Peters
Cathy Mosca posted this on 11/30/2006.
Two weeks ago we posted a list of Tom's (extensive) speaking engagements for the past five years. He had a chance to revisit it and tweak it a bit, so we offer it again, updated. You can download the PDF here:
Tom's Events 2002–2006
I've been listening to Thomas Friedman's book The World is Flat recently (I love books on CD). I have a couple of thoughts: First, I think everyone in business should read it. I think the man is brilliant for packaging such wisdom. I'm recommending it as a "must read" to the audience at my next Brand You seminar.
Second, if companies must be flat (less hierarchical) to thrive in the business environment today and in the future ... how does an existing company go about accomplishing this? (Aside from eliminating "middle management"). I've never worked in a company that didn't have a hierarchical structure (i.e., must be "A" before you can be "B" & up the ladder you go). How does a company free itself of this structure and mindset? Is it possible to get rid of the traditional "organizational chart"? Even if you invert it (leadership on bottom w/ line-level/customer on top), there is still hierarchy, isn't there? There is still a clearly defined path to follow. Isn't that what needs to go away ... the "talent development path"? It implies a straight line to somewhere—don't we have to develop people who can zig and zag?
The Point of the proposed US Airways-Delta merger? (Other than the obvious one, establishing near monopolistic power in an important set of U.S. markets.)Tom Peters posted this on 11/28/2006.
But it's also neither of those things.
It's actually stunning.
Headline, right column, page 1, Wall Street Journal, 27 November 2006: "Seeking an Edge, Big Investors Turn to Network of Informants. Mark Gerson Assembles Web of Moonlighting Managers."
I suppose in the old days (pre-1995, say) investors or investors' reps could have hung out at bars near plants to ask hair-down workers or even bosses what was going on inside. In fact, there's no doubt they did just that. So "this" is not new—but as usual these days, "Internet Scale" dwarfs all that came before.
In this case it's Mark Gerson, "a networking wizard who has done for professional investors something akin to what Match.com has done for the nation's singles. He hooks up current and former middle managers from hundreds of companies with professional investors desperate for an investing edge." (The Journal reports that Mr G's network includes 180,000 members!)
Needless to say, some employers are duly concerned ... but this is one more genie out of one more bottle that, no matter how intense immediate pushback, is not going to be re-stuffed into said bottle.
Yes, this sort of thing is becoming commonplace. Still, every time I read a story like this, and see yet another barrier to transparency fall, I am both amused and amazed.
Welcome to Web 2.0.
Or Web 3.0.
Or Web 9.83.
What fun it all is!
(NB: Speaking of "transparency," I felt its bite a few days ago. I wrote an email that, I grudgingly admit, contained a "little white lie." Before pushing the send button, I realized that my likely Blog postings would give me away. Fortunately, the hovering finger was withdrawn in time. Yet another "lesson learned, circa 2006.")Tom Peters posted this on 11/28/2006.
A long weekend, some time off, so Tom's been reading and adding to his master slides collection. The result is 180+ new slides, several of which show posts pulled from the comments section of tompeters.com. So, take a look. Maybe you'll find your name in here:
XAlways Master, 1724 slides, 3.85MB
A Patriots-Bears game at Gillette Stadium was as good a way to end the Thanksgiving holiday as I can imagine. My 21-year-old stepson Ben, at school in Durango, Colorado, declares he may be Durango's only Pats fan out there in the heart of Broncoland—hence I felt the need to deliver a Pats victory for him to take home, or at least a good seat. We got the good seat and the victory in the first visit to spectacular Gillette Stadium for either of us. It was a sloppy game (lots of turnovers), but most games between excellent teams are "sloppy," which is an inevitable product of the best playing each other as hard as is humanly possible.
Only two things marred the game for me. Fact is, I'd sworn I'd never go to Gillette after the P&G acquisition of the local company. In my opinion, local bias aside, it was yet another totally unnecessary business combination—accomplished primarily because the Gillette CEO won a $165,000,000 personal prize for selling the company. (Mr Kilts gained defining infamy in my book by subsequently threatening Boston with post-acquisition job losses because the local-Boston press had the temerity to wonder whether his personal gain had been on the high side.) But I gave in ... for Ben's sake.
The other dark cloud was a bit more abstract and a lot more mood dampening. When the Pats score at home, a few guys in the endzone in colonial-patriot uniforms fire a volley skyward with copies of period rifles. Good fun! Except those damn guys dressed in their reproduction garb got me thinking about the original ragtag gang at Lexington and Concord. Their unlikely heroics were an essential part of the founding episodes of a nation that had not only come to be an imposing power, but more important, a matchless beacon of liberty and justice around the world. "Little" episodes, we learn these days, can deliver a roundhouse punch to a brand image patiently constructed over decades. As the news from Iraq goes from bad to worse by the day, it would seem clear to me that our misadventure in that country, perhaps legitimately conceived (???), but executed with breathtaking arrogance and incompetence and disdain for the likes of the Geneva Conventions, has not only dangerously destabilized the entire world but also whacked U.S. "brand power" at a very bad time. Market power today, as always, and more so than ever for that matter, from nations to companies, is about character as much as or more than size-of-arsenal. Put it this way, we've got a lot of catch up to do—and thinking about that as I gazed upon our reproduction patriots cast a pall on my day.
Still, it was a good game. For Ben's sake, I'm glad the Pats won—though my heart will always lie with my beloved Johnny Unitas-Ray Berry Baltimore Colts, John Madden-George Blanda Oakland Raiders and Ronnie Lott-Joe Montana San Francisco 49ers.
(Above: Tailgate Nation, Foxboro, MA, style.)Tom Peters posted this on 11/27/2006.
Thanksgiving Day ... first ice—emerging from a downspout.Tom Peters posted this on 11/24/2006.
In Search of Excellence will be 25 next year—believe it or not. A few days ago a Web posting suggested that Bob Waterman and I had fudged the data in the book.
It's simply not true.
But if that perception is rumbling around in cyberspace, it's all my fault.
I did an interview on the book with my great pal Alan Webber, Fast Company founder, a couple of years ago. I made the wretched mistake, in casual conversation, of saying we'd "fiddled the data" for In Search of Excellence.
What I meant had nothing to do with "fudging," or "fiddling," but was a comment only on the differences between our methodology for company selection and that of Jim Collins in Good to Great. Jim apparently had no prior convictions about which companies he'd examine, and created his list by applying certain financial criteria to a huge company database—and sight unseen, a set of superb performers emerged. By that standard, Bob Waterman and I did it "backwards." We were enamored of the "excellence idea," wanted to write about it, and thence sought initial "excellent company" nominations based on McKinsey and academic and corporate experts' subjective evaluations; only after getting a "subjective" list of nominees did we apply the financial screens that caused any number—such as GE (this was pre-Welch)—to drop off the list. Thus, by fiddling I simply meant that we hadn't followed a pure model of starting from a big list and using only financial data to extract unforeseen winners.
(Fact is, any like process is about 90% subjective—e.g., if you use-juggle different data screens, different years, you will get wildly different results/lists.)
For what it's worth, Bob and I subjected our subjectively determined candidates to six tough financial hurdles (see In Search of Excellence, page 22 et seq.), three representing growth, three representing absolute financial returns. Growth measures: compound asset growth; compound equity growth; average ratio of market value to book value. The "absolute" measures were: average return on total capital; average return on equity; average return on sales. We did our research in 1980, and arbitrarily used data covering 1961–1980. To qualify, a company had to have been in the top half on at least four of the six measures for the full 20-year period. Most handily exceeded this standard, but 19 of our original 62 company nominees dropped out, and we concentrated our research on the remaining 43.
Far more interesting, I think, is that given our subjective nomination process, we ended up examining companies that, in 1980, virtually no one had looked at. Absurd as it may seem, these "stealth" "cool" companies, circa 1980, included: Emerson Electric, Texas Instruments, Hewlett-Packard (then a $1-billion firm), Frito-Lay/PepsiCo, Johnson & Johnson, 3M, Caterpillar, Marriott, McDonald's, Intel, Disney, Delta Airlines, and, yes, little Wal*Mart.
While I'm on the topic of In Search of Excellence and retrospective perceptions thereof, I'll deal with the second "charge" against the book; namely, that several of "our" companies "failed." (For some wholly unknown reason, some people say "most of" "our" companies failed????) To be sure, the likes of Wang and Atari and Kmart are today embarrassments. Nonetheless, the overall performance of "our" firms has been little short of stunning. In 2002, on the 20th anniversary of the book, forbes.com held our publicly traded companies up to a high-amp searchlight:
One remarkable fact about In Search of Excellence remains: Its list of companies have held up quite well over time. The book, which our panel of experts recently voted the most influential business title in the last 20 years, focuses on 43 "excellent" companies. The list contains just a few arguably embarrassing picks, Atari and Wang Labs being the most prominent. But overall, the companies Peters and Waterman called excellent have easily outperformed the market averages any way you slice it.
In Search of Excellence didn't name the biggest companies and ride with winners: In 1982, when the book was published, just three of the 43 companies ranked among the top 25 by sales on The Forbes 500s. And just 22 of the 32 public companies were among the 500 largest. Those 22 ranked, on average, 125th on The Forbes 500s by sales.
Over the years, the companies grew. By 2002, 24 of the firms were among the largest 500 public companies, with an average Forbes 500s sales rank of 99.
The authors picked big companies considered "innovative and excellent" in a variety of industries that had shown strong growth and profitability between 1961 and 1980. The book doesn't purport to be an investment guide, but investing in these excellent companies would have been a very wise choice both in the short run and the long run.
Over a five-, 10- or 20-year period, the Excellence Index—an unweighted basket of the 32 public companies among Peters and Waterman's 43—substantially outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the broader S&P 500. Since October 1982, when the book was published, the companies on the authors' list earned an average total return of 1,305%, or 14.1% annually. This return outdistanced the DJIA companies, which earned an average annual return of 11.3%, and the S&P, whose companies earned an average annual return of 10.1%.
In other words, if you invested $10,000 in the Excellence Index 20 years ago and then did nothing at all, you would have $140,050. An equal investment in the Dow would have yielded just $85,500.
The Excellence index gets a boost from star performers such as Wal*Mart Stores and Intel. But its median company performance also easily bests the averages for each of the five-, 10- and 20-year periods.
Some might assume it easy to pick 30 or 40 companies that would outperform the Dow. But precious few mutual fund managers do it—even though that's their job and they can change their mix of companies at will. ...
Tom Peters posted this on 11/24/2006.
Mistakes in In Search of Excellence? Absolutely. Things I'd say differently? Absolutely. But overall ... coulda been a lot worse. (And, boy-o-boy, do I ever wish I'd invested in "our" companies in 1982! Frankly, I considered it, but decided that such a move would destroy my credibility.)
I just organized sending flowers for Thanksgiving to about 20 people. And you?
(It's better than Christmas in a way, because it's more or less expected then. Oh, and the "other part": It was great fun to concoct the list—it kept me awake for a couple of hours last night. Giving and saying "thanks" does, indeed, beat the hell out of receiving.)Tom Peters posted this on 11/21/2006.
Did the Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock? Did they break bread with the Indians on Thanksgiving? Are we white folk responsible for genocide concerning the Native Americans?
I don't know the answers to any of those questions, other than "open to debate." But there is something I do know ... for sure. The folks who came from England on the Mayflower, landing somewhere or other, and breaking bread with someone or other ... were a flinty, tough, strong-minded, determined, resilient bunch. And America's subsequent long march to global leadership is indeed a reflection of wave after wave of such determined, tough immigrants ... many of whom, after a generation or two, broke into the clear and made a mark. For example, my Grandfather Peters, who came here from Germany in 1870 or so, and became a leading Baltimore contractor; my grandmother Peters, in turn, founded one of that grand city's leading charities of the day.
So my perhaps odd "Thanksgiving message" (how pretentious!), or rant (far less pretentious), is about, um, "Brand You."
Yup. "Brand You" was not, as some critics contend, an idea born of the '90s desire for self-adulation. To the contrary, in the late '90s I saw technology begin to supplant workers, increasingly skilled workers; then as the calendar turned to the new millennium-century I saw the astonishing explosion of energy and determination arising in the likes of India.
American economic isolation came to an end in a flash. We all, even "management gurus," became part, overnight, of a global labor market. Wages stagnated. Outsourcing soared, and technology got smarter and smarter. A pal, Dan Pink, said, more or less, "Here are the options: Do you choose to lose your job to an Indian? Or a microprocessor?"
It's not quite that dire in reality. But it is psychologically. Any sense of lifetime job security is caput. Health insurance is a distant dream for millions. Pensions are no guarantee of a cushy, or at least adequate, retirement after 40 years as a loyal Cubicle Slave.
Enter—as I saw it and see it—Brand You. What Brand You really means (to me) is a glorious (yes, glorious) return to the idea of those flinty Pilgrim men and women. A return to Franklin's (the true Father of Brand You) principles and Emerson's self-reliance. And the spirit of the brave ones heading West in the rickety Conestoga wagons. Or the spirit of Charles Lindbergh. Or Jackie Robinson. Or Martin Luther King or Elizabeth Cady Stanton ... or Carly Fiorina.
Ms Fiorina flatly said, "There is no job that is America's God-given right." Wired guru Michael Goldhaber adds, "If there is nothing very special about your work, no matter how hard you apply yourself you won't get noticed, and that increasingly means you won't get paid much either." And Sally Field tells us, "The only thing you have power over is to get good at what you do. That's all there is; there ain't no more."
Yes, I do see this as good news, and not just for Ivy Leaguers. Ivy Leaguers? America—God bless America—now has about 11 million women-owned businesses—damn few were started by Ivy Leaguers. (But that's another story.) In our abiding attention to Google's or Yahoo's next micro-move we blithely ignore the thousands of brave entrepreneurs I talked to last year who had the guts to roll the dice, skip out on ordinary means of security, and take on the responsibilities of starting and owning tanning salons!
Is it a lonely life that I propound? To the contrary. Those hearty first white New Englanders were at once self-reliant ... but had the support of an extraordinarily tight-knit community. My "Brand Yous"? On their own—but, if they're wise, creating their own, resilient communities of reputation and support. Face-to-face or, increasingly, online. (Web 2.0? 3.0? Who cares; it can work.) I mostly work alone, or, rather, with the assistance of a wee group of colleagues in Vermont and Boston. And a powerful band of supporters from hither and, increasingly, thither. To tell the truth, I feel a lot more secure with my self-created network and devotion to self-improvement than I ever did at, say, McKinsey or Stanford. It's up to me, per Sally Field, to constantly get better-different than yesterday; and it's up to me to expand and mind my network.
Hence my flavor of Brand You is at once distinctly Solo and distinctly about creating and minding a Network-Community of, mostly, one's own construction.
My Thanksgiving suggestion is to remember the true nature and character and determination of those Pilgrim Fathers & Mothers as their little band, alone on the East coast of a great continent, carved out the beginnings of a truly New World that eventually became a Beacon of Freedom and Opportunity for all others around the globe.
(Have we dimmed the light of that Beacon of late? Perhaps. But "they" still line up at the portals of our embassies around the world—wanting in. God help us when those lines get shorter.)
There is an absolutely stunning article in this issue of Fortune about Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp. As a Princeton senior, 17 years ago, she had a dream. Seventeen years later fully 10% of the graduating classes of Yale and Dartmouth, in the midst of a more or less bull market for college hires, applied to Teach for America. All told 19,000 seniors applied for 2,400 slots. After only a few weeks of "basic training," these bold, young Brand Yous, circa 2006, will enter classrooms in some of the toughest schools in America. Hats off, way off, to the Golden Ten Percent at Yale and Dartmouth. And hats off, way, way off to Wendy Kopp. Can one person make an enormous difference in a still complacent nation of 300,000,000? Damn right.
Happy Thanksgiving to our troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locales. To, especially, our active-duty National Guard types, often serving a second tour in the desert. Happy Thanksgiving, Wendy Kopp. Happy Thanksgiving, Yalies and Dartmouth youngsters and the rest of the 19,000 volunteering for tough active duty of another sort. Happy Thanksgiving, brave tanning salon owners and pioneering women business owners.
The hell with those pensions-for-time-served-in-cramped-cubicles. Welcome to a New Age of Self-reliance in a flattening global society of equals.
Thanksgiving considerations, honoring the chutzpah of our Pilgrim forebears:
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"—Mary Oliver
"A year from now you may wish you had started today."—Karen Lamb
[Tom is home—and the family's Designated Shopper; part of Susan's list is above.—CM]Tom Peters posted this on 11/20/2006.
If you've ever looked into Tom's slides, you've heard of our new Cool Friend, Maxine Clark. She calls herself "Chief Executive Bear" of her company, Build-A-Bear Workshop®, Where Best Friends Are Made®. If you know any children under the age of twelve, you've probably seen one of the bears. Maxine has written a book to tell her story: The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company with Heart, which we talk about with her. Here's a sample of what she has to say:
I do believe in the power of possibility. If you want to do something badly enough, you can find a way in today's world. You can change your life by finding the right company to work for, the right company to do business with. I feel very fortunate to have grown up in a time when there was so much going on in the world. How could I not be an optimist? There's been so much wonderful change and so many possibilities unfolding right before my eyes.Cathy Mosca posted this on 11/17/2006.
Tom's in Chicago, and he sent us his photo above along with this caption: "Sears Tower (minus Sears) and Lake Michigan from my hotel window." The event is HSM's World High Performance Forum at the Art Institute of Chicago. If you'd like to download the slides, you can get them here:
XAlways, HSM World High Performance Forum
XAlways, Long Version, HSM World High Performance Forum
My brain feels like it's caught in one of Nikola Tesla's high-voltage experiments. In Logan on the way to Chicago, I finally picked up Bob Woodward's State of Denial. I soured on Mr Watergate several books ago, but this one has gotten amazing raves from the likes of Peggy Noonan. I laughed when brilliant friends said they couldn't read more than 5 or 10 pages at a crack, because of the intensity. Well, I joined that club. The saving grace: Carl Hiaasen has a new book, Nature Girl—which lives up to his insanely high standard. (Though I have many friends—e.g., my wife—who are turned off by brother Carl.) At any rate, Woodward on Iraq and Hiaasen on South Florida shenanigans is a jolt to the head. On the other hand, both stories are about equally surreal.Tom Peters posted this on 11/17/2006.
I've put off commenting on Carly Fiorina's book, Tough Choices: A Memoir, because I've had so many confused thoughts. I've decided that's not going to change, so I instead offer you the following dis-jointed, ever-so-partial assessment:
(1) I liked the book. I thought it was a helluva read—not easy when you know the ending. And best of all: She wrote it herself!!!!!
(2) I thought Carly's recounting of her life saga was nothing short of captivating and amazing—worth the price of admission alone. Courage, conviction—all those good words are merited.
(3) In particular, I liked the AT&T part as much as the HP part. I've consulted to AT&T (of old—very) and Western Electric. Other than old Chase Manhattan Bank, it is home to the most brutal organizational politics I've experienced. (And, hey, I worked in the Nixon White House.) Carly, Carly-the-woman, survived and thrived. She is doubtless a Master Politician (all top players, public and private sector, must be) ... but her bottom line performance was exceptional+.
(4) When we get to HP, we get to the tricky part for me. Premise: The "Fabled HP Way" (always the ... Fabled HP Way) was busted. My problem is that one of my very closest friends was the final pre-Carly presiding officer—the late Lew Platt. He and I lived next door at Cornell, nerdy engineers both, and he was my best friend's best man. "All business is personal," someone said—whoops, it was me who said it. Carly arrived and started screwing with the HP Way—for which I can never forgive her. (No matter at all that she was very, very right ... if occasionally somewhat hamhanded in execution. Look, I lived in the Palo Alto area for 30+ years—"one nation, under HP" was our schoolroom substitute for others' "one nation, under God.")
(5) I hate, hate, hate big mergers. But at the time—and today—I vigorously support/ed the Fiorina-driven HP-Compaq merger: (a) Dick Hackborn supported it. (b) HP-as-mini-Xerox/printer company was a travesty. (Don't get me started on the Hewlett boy; among many, many stupid things, he claimed "operating experience" at VTel; that's my local VT phone company—all six subscribers—bet Little Hewlett couldn't find Vermont on a map.) (c) Compaq is a lot, lot more than a PC company. (d) The culture clash bit was destined to be easier than normal. The primary ingredients were: Rod Canion's Compaq, Jimmy Treybig's Tandem, Ken Olsen's DEC and Bill & Dave's HP. (e) The merger mostly worked.
(6) Carly had a tougher job than Welch ay GE or Gerstner at IBM. Jack and Lou were resurrecting Grand Old Cultures that had run aground. (Both did magnificent jobs.) Carly needed to find a new culture to some more or less great extent.
(7) The Board political crap I found boring as hell. All boards are political nightmares, especially as the days of CEO-and-10-golfing-buddies become a distant memory. Shareholder activism (I'm a great Boone Pickens fan) and then post-Enron board-independence-or-Sing Sing adds much fuel to the fire. (It'll only get worse. Wait 'til Spitzer's President.)
(8) My biggest problem with the HP-Carly story is too much "vision," not enough "execution." (I am revealing decades-old biases here.) People mis-read the hell out of me. I was never, never, never a "vision guy." In fact Bob Waterman and I wrote In Search of Excellence almost solely because we were pissed off at McKinsey's (and corporate America's) worship of strategy and vision. (I.e., we Americans had "vision." The Japanese "made cars that worked.") It's no accident that "a bias for action" was the first of our "eight basics." (Still is today.) One critical, as I see it, thing Gerstner did at IBM was to contemptuously dismiss the constant calls for "vision" until he got the operating bugs ironed out. And don't I remember (oh, I do!!) that Bush I was constantly accused of being light on the "vision thing." Not true of Bush II. (B II of course has had some "implementation problems.") (To inject the personal, I am told I was the first Stanford B.School PhD candidate to write a dissertation on Implementation. Cool if true, great urban legend if not.)
(9) I have a little riff I call "4/40"—the only 4 things I claim I've learned in the last 4 decades, that began with me as a platoon leader in Danang Vietnam. And #1 is DECENTRALIZATION. (#2 is Implementation.) I full well understand that life, personal or professional, is a "matrix" of some sort. But if you read Tom Peters, from 1975 to about 1985, I lived only to put the God-awful matrix organization out of its misery—lots of things helped, but I had some non-trivial success. (#3 is Accountability—"accountable matrix" is an oxymoron! Period!) I understand why Carly built the structure she did; cross-functional coordination is a must, was a must in her (and today's) HP. But, put simply, you gotta find another path to achieving that coordination—the matrix ain't it.
(10) Despite my dismissal of "vision," I think the "direction" Carly laid out was fundamentally right, very right—and is a key reason HP is now moving pretty swiftly in the right direction. On the other hand, I don't think her successor, Mark Hurd, walked into an easy situation. Maybe Carly should have stayed as CEO and Mr Hurd would have made an excellent COO. Who knows? Frankly, my "HP Dream Team" in that regard would have been Carly as CEO and Larry Bossidy (Mr Execution) as President.
I liked the book. A lot. I like Carly. A lot. (*And I think her husband Frank is one of the most decent human beings I've ever met.) I think she did 75% of a dirty job that needed doing. And if hell freezes over, she'll never move me a millimeter away from my Adoration of Decentralization-Implementation-Accountability. (BTW, #4 on my 4/40 list is "get up earlier than the other guy—not a C. Fiorina issue; she has as much energy, not said lightly, as Mr Energy, Jack Welch.)
Whatever ...Tom Peters posted this on 11/16/2006.
Tom posted his most recent Google-juice numbers in the "Bio & PR" section of the website late last week. As good Brand Yous, we assume you're all googling yourselves on a fairly regular basis. (The first thing anyone does after meeting you is to go home and google your name, so you better know what they're seeing.) I took a look at Tom's document (which you can find on this page in the right-hand column) and then googled "Tom Peters" (using the quotes in the search) and came up with a number that was quite a bit lower than the one he had documented. And so asked him about that. Nothing devious or untoward as it turns out. Seems that the Google search results fluctuate wildly. As Tom notes, he's been as high as 3.9 million and as low as 1.8 million in the same week. (And, no, he's not checking his numbers every day!)Erik Hansen posted this on 11/16/2006.
Forget O.J. Whoever produced or airs "If I Did It, Here's How" deserves to fry in hell.Tom Peters posted this on 11/15/2006.
Headline on a page 1 article titled "Guns and Butter," by José De Córdoba in today's Wall Street Journal:
Under Castro's Brother, Army
Built Joint-Venture Empire;
From Hotels to Dolphins
Required Reading: Tom Peters
Cathy Mosca posted this on 11/15/2006.
When asked about the article, Tom [tersely] replied, "Did we get royalties?"
(I don't think you can get to the whole text without a subscription. Sorry.)
I love "obvious & important stuff"—that catches you flat-footed. Twenty+ years ago the matchless car dealer Carl Sewell introduced me to the "simple" idea of Lifetime Customer Value. There were none of today's lengthy research studies or least-squares data fitting on Customer Loyalty or any other unnecessary complications. Carl matter of factly said in conversation: "If we treat a guy well, he'll buy a half dozen or so cars from us over time and tell at least one friend. At $35,000 a pop that could easily add up to a half million bucks. I tell everyone from the reception desk to the service bay, that guy is a $500,000 bill walking in the store, ready to be won over, if we all work together to make him our best friend." No "Loyalty-based selling." No "experience marketing." No regression analyses. Just one guy and a friend nets a dozen sales, not one transaction, if we treat the fellow like next of kin. Love it!
Well, I'll offer another piece of "obvious" stolen advice. This one from Duke's Coach K [Krzyzewski], courtesy a recent interview for IBD/Investor's Business Daily. Here's his "obvious" remark: "Things don't stay the same. You have to understand that not only your business situation changes, but the people you're working with aren't the same day to day. Someone is sick. Someone is having a wedding. [You must] gauge the mood, the thinking level of the team that day."
That is, your 6-person project team or 7-person training department or 18-person housekeeping unit is a new puzzle every day. It's far beyond "treat everybody differently according to their skills," etc. It's that in a 220-day work year, we the leader-manager face 220 different teams! Every day is a new crossword puzzle! If you get off on doing the morning crossword every morning (metaphorically), you'll get off on confronting the day's Unique People Puzzle. I'd add that if such constant puzzle solving isn't your cup of tea, then leave the leading-managing to someone else! (Any of us with kids, or any primary-school classroom teacher, knows the full truth of this; the kid/s has/have 365 different personalities a year, calling for 365 different-distinct approaches. Mom seems to handle this a lot better than Dad—maybe that goes a long way toward explaining the accumulating evidence on women's often superior leadership skills.)
Thanks, Coach K!
(Incidentally, after reading this I called an acquaintance who was a well-known former pro football coach just for the hell of it; no surprise, he echoes coach K. "Right on, Tom. Every practice session, from the two-a-days at the beginning of summer camp until the Super Bowl, if you're lucky, has a more or less completely different character. You haven't got much time during a game week—you damn well better prepare for what you're going to face; each player, to use your words, is a different puzzle unto himself each day. Coach K is right—the on-the-road problem, the girlfriend problem, the free-tickets problem, the agent problem.")
(Related quote, courtesy Mary Pipher: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle."—Philo of Alexandria. I like this a lot; I've pinned it to my home-office corkboard. Soooooooo true!)Tom Peters posted this on 11/14/2006.
In the Moment
Your workteam today is not your workteam yesterday. Take a quiet moment or two or three BEFORE you go to work (not in the middle of your commute) to go through your up-to-date mental file on each person, where they are personally, where they are professionally, etc.
Among other things, this might result in a 90-second stop at two or three workstations to talk about what's up with a kid's school problem, etc. Or ask about an online course that so-and-so is taking, or why (women do this sooooo much better—and if that's sexist, so be it) "you seem to be a bit gloomy lately"—whatever. Maybe it means quick lunch plans. A 10-minute walk in the park mid-morning. Whatever. I'm hardly suggesting that you be a snoop—just that you are, after all, trying to work with your team to get something done and help each one develop and contribute in the process.
Think like Coach K: Each practice-game-day is different. Act accordingly. (On the women's thing—to keep beating this horse—I read another Coach K article, I think in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, which says his wife sits in on almost every team meeting—she is indeed attuned to important signals he misses.)Tom Peters posted this on 11/14/2006.
"Ready. Fire! Aim." is one of Tom's favorite mantras. In that spirit, we've been experimenting with advertising at the TP Wire Service. We've also considered and researched it for this site. The results have underwhelmed us. We removed the ads from the TP Wire Service RSS feeds yesterday and will be removing the ads from the TP Wire Service home page in the near future. Tompeters.com will remain ad-free. (Mail to: feedback (at) tpwireservice (dot) com.) We welcome your thoughts on the subject. Here's to "Relentless Experimentation!"Shelley Dolley posted this on 11/14/2006.
I've been recovering from the flu. (Missed only my third speech in 28 years last week.) Hence posting has lagged—other than the "SF flap." So I missed my traditional Veterans Day message. Simply put, "Thanks!"
Incredible sacrifices in Iraq notwithstanding, I dedicate this Post to the often-forgotten Korean War veterans and Viet vets. To the latter I offer the soldier-to-soldier salutation: "Welcome home!"
(San Francisco has veterans, which I know will surprise some. One such SF Vietnam vet is pictured above on Veterans Day 2006.)
[Photo credit goes to Susan Sargent. Thank you, Susan!—CM]Tom Peters posted this on 11/13/2006.
Comments have been great! [To the "Fed Up and Pissed Off" post of 11.08.06.] Here's what I wrote on Sunday as a Comment, included here as a separate Post:
I re-read the Post, and for the life of me I can't find any defense of so-called "liberals," whatever that word means. (In fact, I thought I went way out of my way to avoid-evade the topic.)
My Tuesday-Election Day hope-expectation was-is, first and foremost, the restoration of checks-and-balances. Even that, however, does not mean "taking sides"—I'm not at all sure how things ought to turn out. I'd just like two powerful sides to issues rather than, effectively, one, which amounts to submission of Congress to the Executive; among other things, concerning the threats to Privacy (always capital P). And to say that sure as hell—despite what Rove & Co, has tried to feed us—does nothing to suggest "soft on terrorism." I'm a defense hard-liner, perhaps Joe Lieberman or John McCain flavor; AND a Privacy fanatic. (Almost all my liberal, whatever that means, friends, such as my wife (!), shudder at my hawkish-ness.)
While I personally love every aspect of SF's diversity (e.g., woman fire chief and woman top cop; women in virtually all top jobs), that is not the point. If SF is "liberal" (whatever that means), I was mainly pointing out it's a helluva lot more than "liberal." E.g., home to matchless capitalist-pigism (wealth, financing, entrepreneurs, innovation, research universities). Now I happen to think—as do Richard Florida and Juan Enriquez cited in the original Post—that the evidence clearly suggests that Diversity (capital "D," all flavors) is an essential correlate of off-the-charts innovation—and, per me, a lot more fun and enriching in general. (As opposed to Vermont where diversity—lower case "d"—means white male deer hunters and white male non-deer hunters.)
I am hardly endorsing Pelosi-ism. Parts I applaud, but I am HORRIFIED at her apparent anti-China bias—since I believe that an open, friendly relationship and minimum trade restrictions between the USA and China are at least as important as sorting out Iraq. And Charles Rangel heading the de-facto trade committee makes me nauseated. (My fellow Vermonters, without my help, just elected Bernie Sanders to the Senate. Among many questionable things, he wants to tax corporations for sending jobs offshore—what a dangerous jerk.) (Then there's my pal Sherrod Brown, the Senator-elect from Ohio, who ran on a platform of protecting manufacturing jobs—how foolish.)
Like most people—typically called "the all-important independents," which I think includes upwards of 80% of us—I feel free to choose from Column A and Column B as I see fit. I surely "admit" to being left of center on many so-called "social issues" such as "choice," but also near-loony "right" on any and almost all economic-trade stuff. Absurdly free trade (starting immediately with CAFTA)! End of "earmarks"! Balanced budget! Welcome most every immigrant! (Is that "left" or "right"? Not sure.) Just enough protection of intellectual property to encourage innovation, but not so much as to stifle innovation. Etc. Etc.
Good God, could we lighten up on the bullshit labels, acknowledge that all sane people are mixed bags, and get down to work!Tom Peters posted this on 11/13/2006.
The "SF Post" is going to end up costing me $5,200 plus mailing.
Last Friday, my monthly "Bauman Rare Books" catalog arrived. Upon rare occasion I collect mint First Editions—e.g., Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, from which I read to Susan at our wedding. Item 25 in the current issue, priced $5,200: "ADAMS, John, A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America (1797)." This is a First Edition of, per the catalog, "Adams' important work on the separation of powers in the Federal government." NB: Adams, our first "conservative," was, as the word "conservative" suggests, maniacal on the abiding importance of separation of powers.
I'll order it this morning.Tom Peters posted this on 11/13/2006.
"What's Tom been up to?" is a question I am often asked. I thought it was a good question, and that "beats me" was a lousy answer. So Abbey and Cathy and I pulled together the attached general & specific analysis of the last five years (including, God willing, the rest of 2006). We'll also Post it under "Tom's Bio and PR" (in the nav menu on the left).Tom Peters posted this on 11/13/2006.
When Nancy Pelosi became Speaker-designate of the House last night many of the TV hosts asked interviewees what she'd be like. To paraphrase, but not by much, most all said, "San Francisco." (No modifiers, just "San Francisco.") One had the feeling that SF was the name of a deadly disease.
For 30+ years I lived in the "diseased" Bay Area. That included eight years in the Den of All That Is Ill ... San Francisco. At the time I was working for the ultra-liberal consultancy ... McKinsey & Co.
Forget the emotional fact that my heart and soul will forever be in Northern California, and that I count the SF years as among the most wonderful in my life.
Is San Francisco, home to former Dead Dude Jerry Garcia among other filthy rich nutters, "liberal"? Absolutely. Is that the totality of SF? Don't make me laugh—or choke. We know all about the beauty. But what about the fact that this "liberal" bastion is, along with its "liberal" neighbor Silicon Valley-San Jose, probably the Wealthiest Place on Earth? What about the fact that there is more successful entrepreneurial activity and funding therefore in said SF-Bay Area, by far, than anywhere else in the world in the history of the world? What about the conclusion that many "conservative" analysts have reached that the "nutty culture" of SF, and schools like Stanford and Berkeley, are pretty much directly responsible for the "culture" that spawned Apple, Yahoo, and, um, Google. I wouldn't be surprised if the (probably) "liberal" Google founders are ... God forbid ... Democrats. Maybe they should form a "liberal" "club" called Liberal Entrepreneurs Under Thirty with Net Worths of Twenty-five Billion Dollars or More. Is San Francisco diseased? Absolutely! It is the breeding ground of a Virus called Matchless Business & Research & Financial Success.
My "feelings" are hardly hurt by the barbs. It's just that I'm not comfortable listening to Maliciously Ignorant Idiots.
Will Speaker Pelosi be "ultra-liberal"? Who the hell knows. What we do know is that if you erased a few "liberal hotbeds" such as Cambridge MA, Boston MA, Pelosi's San Francisco, and Silicon Valley this great country of yours and mine (most readers) would economically be in the tank.
The genius demographer Richard Florida and the genius polymath Juan Enriquez demonstrate the stunning fact that most of our entrepreneurial activity and patents, the leading indicator of longterm economic health, come from an astonishingly small # of ZIP Codes. Virtually all of them are "liberal hotbeds" such as SF, Boston, Palo Alto, Cambridge, and Seattle. (Washington State yesterday sent Maria Cantwell back to the Senate—she's a rather "liberal," under 40 I believe, Microsoft Millionaire.)
Just shut up. I'm pretty typical of the lucky ones from that glorious area ... pretty "liberal"-libertarian on many contentious social issues (stem cell research, working on the environment) and a pretty well-off Entrepreneurial American Capitalist Pig Small-Business Owner.
Just shut the hell up.Tom Peters posted this on 11/08/2006.
Las Vegas is the location of today's event, where Tom is speaking to DealerTrack. That's automotive dealers. You can get the PowerPoint presentations here for downloading:
XAlways, DealerTrack, Las Vegas
XAlways, DealerTrack, Long Version
Probably a book Tom will want to read: BOOM: Marketing to the Ultimate Power Consumer—the Baby Boomer Woman. What their publicist said: "A new book by brand strategists Mary Brown and Carol Orsborn, Ph.D., argues that marketers focused on the 18-34 age bracket may be missing the most lucrative demographic: Baby Boomer women who are now age 45-60."
You can get an excerpt from BOOM on marketing opportunities related to empty nest syndrome by clicking here.Cathy Mosca posted this on 11/03/2006.
Updates! Always updates! The Master "Excellence. Always." The women's version thereof. A "short" version of that Master. And an extended version of the "Think-Do" presentation. (Hope this stuff is of value.)
Fascinating day with Discover Networks. I was very, very cranky-impatient-"dogmatic" about the Women-Boomer-Geezer stuff—and had the nerve, for better or for worse, to make that 75%+ of the speech. I remain totally committed to this—the Business Opportunity is matchless & enormous. The data are irrefutable. And 9 of 10 still fail to grasp the nettle—particularly the "strategic re-alignment" nettle. Repeat: This is not a "program." This is not an "initiative." "This" must become "How we do things around here"—the centerpiece of Corporate Culture.Tom Peters posted this on 11/03/2006.
A certain "friend of the family" has a birthday tomorrow. I will say no more except for this quasi-public "Happy __th Birthday! We love you!"Tom Peters posted this on 11/03/2006.
I cannot pretend to be neutral about the Ohio senate race. Back in 1985, I'd guess, a bright, energetic, determined, idealistic young state legislator from Ohio came on "scholarship" (as I recall) to one of our first 5-day "SkunkCamps," at Pajaro Dunes, near Santa Cruz California. By next Wednesday he stands a good chance of being Senator-elect Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
I wish him the best of luck next week. If he does win, Grandpa Tom plans, when the dust settles, to send him a short note: "Congratulations, Sherrod (Senator!). Current political madness notwithstanding, I believe the United States Senate is and remains the world's most extraordinary legislative body. As you take on your enormous responsibility, I pray that you will be an American first, an Ohioan second, and only third a Democrat. That is, a true national legislator. I would like to dream-believe that you will become one of those cranky lions of the Senate such as, in my generation, the late and great and independent-minded Daniel Patrick Moynihan."Tom Peters posted this on 11/03/2006.
Here I go again.
(I'm not proud.)
Yesterday I sent a rather effusive thank you note, to a renowned M.D.—age 64.
Got an even more effusive response—thanking me for taking the time to thank him.
The email took probably 2 minutes to write.
Power of appreciation?
Power of "paying attention"?
Always will be.
(Maybe more powerful than usual in these especially frenetic, "I'm toooo busy" times.)
Have you offered a "small" thank you to anyone today?
(Or a card?)
Apologized for a "little" mix-up?
(How many written thank yous?)
Did she/he pick up your laundry?
Call the satellite guy for an appointment (ha!)?
Did you say thanks for any or all of the above?
Winter is coming.
Buy flowers for the office.
Say thank you more than usual.
We need all the help we can get to survive 'til Spring.
(It's below freezing/28 degrees F in Chicago as I write.)
Send this Post (attached as a PDF) to 10 colleagues-friends.Tom Peters posted this on 11/02/2006.
As he says above, Tom's in Chicago. The occasion is Discover Network's Merchant Advisory Council meeting. Here are the slides for downloading:
XAlways, Discover Network, Final
XAlways, Discover Network, Long Version
Thanks to an email from one of our readers, we learned that Charles Handy has a "programme" on BBC.co.uk billed as a "Handy Guide to the Gurus of Management." Here is a link to the series, and here is a link to the segment where Tom is featured.Cathy Mosca posted this on 11/01/2006.
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.