Event: Las Vegas
Tom's 5-hour drive from LA to LV—not a whole lot going on.
For the PPT, click on the link below:
Avenue A Razorfish, Las Vegas, NV
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"The tiny, spontaneous, human act has enormous power." Tom Peters
Tom's 5-hour drive from LA to LV—not a whole lot going on.
For the PPT, click on the link below:
Avenue A Razorfish, Las Vegas, NV
The economist Alan Blinder calls himself "a free trader down to my toes." But what's that goop seeping between his toes these days?
This from a must read-ingest, major Wall Street Journal piece (yesterday/0328): "Mr Blinder ... remains an implacable opponent of tariffs and trade barriers. But now he is saying loudly that a new industrial revolution—communication technology that allows services to be delivered from afar—will put as many as 40 million American jobs at risk of being shipped out of the country in the next decade or two." And that staggering stat, per Mr Blinder, is "only the tip of a very big iceberg."
Just the start!
Suggests to me it's time, per a Post earlier this week, to dust off the "Brand You Plan." There probably will be, alas, counter-productive Federal legislation. But that will be a wee finger in the dike.
The message is clear—and, to a point, simple. Work on your "value proposition" with renewed urgency. Your odds of landing on your feet are directly proportional to the uniqueness of what you have to sell to the world.
(As I've said 100, or 1,000, times, this does not translate into dog-eat-dog competition. To the contrary, you will be the architect of, valued participant in intricate Webs of Value Added that involve many, many others from here, there, and everywhere.)
Hence, unprecedented team skills and individual prowess are both a must.
I'm not an alarmist. (Much.) Still, I'd argue that ... today is the day to act! (Yesterday would be better.) Is the project you are working on right now worthy of becoming a chapter, or at least a sidebar, in your emergent & urgent "Brand You Saga"? If not, what do you aim on doing to make it so? Moreover, what on-line course/s (or whatever) are you looking at as another part of your "investment portfolio"?
The problem is more or less simple. The solution is more or less simple. All that's left is the 98.3 percent called Urgent Execution.Tom Peters posted this on 03/29/2007.
Ken Dychtwald is the guru of gurus in the world of the Age Wave, as he calls it. I've done my bit as well.
Move over Ken.
Move over Tom.
Enter the irrepressible Christopher Buckley. (Author of Thank You for Smoking among many others.) Mr Buckley now offers Boomsday. It is a wonderful spoof (that isn't) about the coming all-out war between boomers bent on a comfy (and lengthy) retirement and those who follow. I am only a few dozen pages into the book—but I love it. A glowing USA Today review offers a peek: "The novel's heroine, a 29-year-old blogger, comes up with a solution [to the wealth allocation problem—boomers fobbing their needs off on the young]: tax breaks for baby boomers who kill themselves at 65. 'Voluntary transitioning' is her term. ..."
Presumably you get the drift.
Forget the "serious" analysts—this is the primer, so far, about this genuinely transcending issue.Tom Peters posted this on 03/29/2007.
Movie reviews are not within the scope of this Blog. Until now. The Lives of Others. To do more than mention the name would require thousands of words. I cannot commend it highly enough; now, not on DVD—must be seen on the Big Screen. (My only elucidation will be to say that it was "one of those very rare ones" where literally not one word was heard upon the end of the film—and almost everyone sat, in stunned silence, until the end of the credit roll.)Tom Peters posted this on 03/27/2007.
Acid-tongued Lucy Kellaway, whose column, "Business Life," is the first thing I turn to in the Monday Financial Times, allows as how she thought my somewhat well-known Fast Company article, "The Brand Called You," was "one of the ghastliest, most irritating articles on management ever written." Well, that does certify impact on a discerning reader. Now, a decade later, she still considers it "ghastly." But acknowledges, in a very amusing riff yesterday, that it may be a ghastly necessity. I guess that's progress.Tom Peters posted this on 03/27/2007.
In recent Posts I have referred very positively to Servant Leadership (Servant Leadership—Robert Greenleaf) and the idea of "decency" as a deep cultural trait (The Manager's Book of Decencies: How Small Gestures Build Great Companies—Steve Harrison, Adecco).
Key words (very powerful per se, per me):
Now, in Utrecht, I have bumped into another pea from the pod: "hostmanship." I shared the stage with Swedish management guru Jan Gunnarsson. And he gave me his two most recent books (co-written with Olle Blohm):
Once again, I am enamored, even mesmerized, by this "simple" idea. Here are the authors speaking from the dust jacket of The Welcoming Leader: "Welcoming leadership is about inspiring people to want to achieve common goals. For a welcoming leader, the emphasis is on the person. ... It requires an honesty and authenticity from you as a leader that has been lacking in many of our bosses in the past. In a world where everything looks similar—products and places, companies and countries—a guest or employee makes his decision to participate and commit based on how welcome he feels. To provide hostmanship ... we have to rejoice in serving others and provide leadership that reflects this."
Add to the Key Words list:
Jan performed a wonderful little riff on stage about the person in charge walking into a meeting:
The "boss" brings a PowerPoint presentation.
The "leader" brings a polished Vision Statement.
The "host" brings a box of chocolates. (Hey, we were in Holland.)
If the point is to engage and seek the voluntary commitment of others in pursuit of a worthy goal, this strikes me as spot on.
We have, then, added to our for-profit, experience-obsessed enterprise:
Leader as Servant.
Decency as the bedrock of effective corporate culture.
Host, hostmanship, and Welcoming leader as metaphor for those who would seek the wholehearted engagement of others.
I like all that a lot. I suppose I naturally would, as the inventor, with Bob Waterman, of: "Hard is soft. Soft is hard."
The numbers turn out to be the "soft" stuff, abstract and subject to fudging. The "tangible," "hard stuff" of infinite importance for performance is the depth and breadth of our relationships with others within or outside the firm.
I rest my case.Tom Peters posted this on 03/26/2007.
It's a treat to all of us at tompeters.com when an old friend becomes a Cool Friend. As Robyn Waters says in her interview, we met her at a Manchester Summit. She also says that the summit was a turning point in her life, leading up to her leaving her position as VP of Trend, Design, and Product Development at Target and starting the consulting firm RW Trend. Her book is The Hummer and the Mini: Navigating the Contradictions of the New Trend Landscape. You can read her Cool Friends interview here. Robyn, we're glad to welcome you into that group!Cathy Mosca posted this on 03/24/2007.
How many of us are working on projects that we know are headed for trouble? According to a recent survey (see complete results at www.silencefails.com), 90% say they know when a project will fail and 78% say that they are working on projects that are doomed. We spend billions of dollars on projects, most of us are working on projects, so why are they doomed? A lot of projects aren't set up correctly, aren't addressing the right business issues, and ignore the human factors involved. The sad part is that often the people working on these projects know that they will fail, and yet, they are afraid to voice their opinion to the people in charge. That speaks volumes about the culture of an organization. Open cultures where there are high levels of trust encourage the expression of people's ideas and thoughts, even contrary ones. The senior leaders must be visible and approachable so that they can be confronted with the truth. I wish I could say that I mistrust the research, but I have been in enough companies to know that its conclusions are true.
Are you working on a doomed project? Can you tell your boss? What are your thoughts on how to save a doomed project?Val Willis posted this on 03/23/2007.
Today finds Tom in Utrecht, The Netherlands. He took these pictures on an afternoon walk upon his arrival there yesterday. It looks as if he's still enjoying lovely weather, while we're getting forecasts of more snow tonight in Boston.
The event of the day is a conference on The Future of Talent, and Tom has done a long and short version of his Talent50 for the occasion. You can download them here:
The Future of Talent Conference, Utrecht, The Netherlands
The Future of Talent Conference, Long Version
What a one-two punch. Last Friday morning I caught Tom's talk at Quinnipiac U. in Connecticut (see Cathy's earlier post of 03.16.07), and over the weekend I attended a Beatles Fan Fest in New Jersey (to interview Beatles' colleagues for an upcoming book). I soon realized I was getting the same message at both events.
Tom: "Be different." "Hang out with freaks." "The Peters Principles include ... creativity, imagination, vitality, joy, surprise, independence, spirit."John O'Leary posted this on 03/22/2007.
(And Happy Birthday!)
The world is a mess and getting messier.
Chaos reigns—and will get more chaotic.
America has no friends.
And on it goes. (I've been a drummer of some of this litany of woes ...)
But let's pause, for a day, anyway.
Let's wish Europe, that is the unprecedentedly peaceful and enormously prosperous European Union, a Happy Happy 50th Birthday!
Today—March 21—is the Big Anniversary. Six nations signed the very limited (mostly about steel and coal) Treaty of Rome on 21 March 1957, little more than a decade after WWII ended. Now the EU has 27 member nations and 500 million people within its confines. There's never been an alliance like it in history.
But it's so "old economy" ... right? Don't be so hasty.
E.g.: "Absurdly" high wage Germany has the highest positive trade balance (and growing) in the world—surpassing China's. The Nordic countries, so burdened by social welfare costs, are thriving and then some. And, yes, France has higher output per hour than ... the U.S.A. (Ours is higher per year—since we work a lot more hours.) London, some say (Manhattanites are in a not-so-mild panic), may surpass New York, New York, as a financial hub.
(My more intimate report on EU prosperity, or something, was made graphic at the currency exchange counter in the Lisbon airport—where I got back 139 Euros for my two-hundred dollars.)
So the EU peace & prosperity Report Card at age 50 is quite healthy.
But that's not actually the point of this Post.
My point is to speak about a broader and equally inseparable union that gives new historical meaning to the word "mighty"—namely the EU-US Dynamic Duo.
Many of "them" are irritated (or worse) at many of "us."
And vice versa.
But the point is, like it or lump it ... bachelorhood (isolationism) is behind us, and we're now an old married couple. Our politics may differ (not about the most important stuff of course—Big D Democracy, variety of flavors notwithstanding). But our economic destinies are those of Siamese twins, or close to it. Daniel Hamilton, Director of Johns Hopkins' Center for Transatlantic Studies, told Newsweek that our de facto cross-oceanic union "is by a wide margin the deepest and broadest between any two continents in history." (That's a mouthful, especially from a professor!)
Sixty percent of U.S. foreign investment, Newsweek also reports, goes to Europe—and even our investment in the smaller European nations such as Belgium and Ireland is more than our investment in China or India. In turn, or return, fully two-thirds of European foreign investment is in the U.S.A. In one of those "cute factoids," Newsweek informs us that Europe's investment in Georgia, Indiana, and Texas is greater than U.S. investment in China and Japan combined.
So spits and spats aside, "we" are in it, and in it deep, together; and our destinies for years to come are unimaginably intertwined. And, as to the rise of China and India and the turmoil in the Middle East, well, it may well create chaos—but the EU-US colossus dwarfs any other combination and will for a long time to come.
(And add in, as I think one should, our deep partnership with Japan ... and think US-EU-Japan ... and the idea and dimensions of "colossus" stagger the imagination, a billion-and-a-quarter Chinese notwithstanding.)
We have a lot to do. But "they," and especially "we two," have come a long, long peaceful and prosperous way, baby. Yes, it does stagger the imagination—especially if you were born in Baltimore in November 1942 on the day, I believe, General Eisenhower landed, along with his raw farmboys, in North Africa while Europe lay in tatters for the second time in 25 years.
(I got to Lisbon in the late afternoon, and I was determined to get my own pic of the EU flag for this Post; I did, but thanks to lousy light, it isn't very good—but it's mine, and thence gen-u-ine, relative to this Blog.)
An odd picture? Well, one of the things I've always loved about Lisbon is the beautiful and unique paving stones on the streets—though they can be slippery after rain. Not a problem now, as it's 65°F (18°C) and sunny, sunny, sunny.
(The IIR of the title is my old friends at the International Institute for Research—which I know sounds like a CIA cover name.)
[As you can tell, Tom's in Lisbon, Portugal, and his presentation is sponsored by IIR. If you would like to download the PPT, you can use the link below.—CM]Tom Peters posted this on 03/21/2007.
18% of Iraqis express confidence in U.S. troops—and over 50% condone violence against us. In a wide-ranging survey, results show that only Kenyans, Nigerians, and Filipinos think America does more good than harm in the world.
And British Air took a person who died in coach, on a Delhi to London flight, and strapped the corpse into an empty seat next to a sleeping passenger in first class for the remainder of the trip. (Article title: "Woman dies on flight, gets upgraded to first class")
Better late then never. In Boston this Day of the Irish paralleled a dig out from our latest storm of note. Above, you'll see a bench on the Commonwealth Avenue promenade—not quite ready for Spring. Below, St Patty's traditional Boston Public Garden attire for either Jack or Kack or Lack or Mack or Nack or Quack or Pack. (Based on the children's classic Make Way for Ducklings, by Robert McCloskey. Some commentator will, I trust, fill you in on the details.)
Tom Peters posted this on 03/19/2007.
Just perused The New CIO Leader: Setting the Agenda and Delivering Results, by industry experts Marianne Broadbent and Ellen Kitzis. Here's a typical blurb from the back cover: "Taking time to read The New CIO Leader was the most valuable few hours I've spent looking after my career."—CIO, Sainsbury.
I think it's a fine book because it's a fine book that evaluates the "missing 90 percent"—the part of the "staffer's" job that's not technical but involved with actually getting the work implemented and into the corporate culture, and using the work to enhance or even redirect the enterprise vision and strategy. But I also like it because, as you know, I think "the PSF/Professional Service Firm idea" is central to value added in the age of success based on creative intellectual capital. And this is one of the rare books on running a "PSF," such as, in this case, the IS department. I wish there were dozens more like it for HR groups, Purchasing departments, R & D, etc.Tom Peters posted this on 03/19/2007.
I love those rare books about how professionals actually go about thinking about pertinent stuff. Hence, I'm mesmerized by How Doctors Think, by Jerome Groopman, M.D. The book does not beat up on docs per se, but it surely explores in detail the nonrational-human side of diagnosis and decision making and case management. Consider: "On average a physician will interrupt a patient describing her symptoms within eighteen seconds." 291 pages of this? My answer is a wholehearted "yes," at least for me. It's fun, useful in my extensive work in healthcare, and indicative of individual-organizational decision making in general.
(Speaking of non-rational evaluations and decision-making, I just reread Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases, by Daniel Kahneman, Paul Slovic, and Amos Tversky. Though 25 years old, it remains the timely bible on nonrational thought processes. Kahneman won an economics Nobel for his work here. I read the book when it appeared in '82, and reread it every few years—it keeps me in touch with my roots. Hence, the odd success strategy below.) (FYI, Judgment under Uncertainty sits with Gould's Full House and Taleb's Fooled by Randomness in my "iconic pile"—the books that more or less "spiritually" guide my work—LOVE THE MESS!!)Tom Peters posted this on 03/19/2007.
Nonrational Behavior, Becoming a Student of
To grasp organizational life as it is, read novels (!) and books such as the two discussed immediately above. It is my fervent belief that we will never design rational processes that "overcome" such irregularities—don't bother telling that to a consultant. Hence, we should embrace the real, non-rational, nonlinear world with vigor and glee—and develop enterprise and career strategies accordingly. Part of this process may involve absorbing the likes of How Doctors Think and Judgment under Uncertainty.Tom Peters posted this on 03/19/2007.
Keep forgetting to let you know. You'll appreciate the slides much more if you have the font "Showcard Gothic"—which not all versions of Windows have.Tom Peters posted this on 03/19/2007.
Tom's in Orlando, FL, enjoying a clear, warm day (62°F., 17°C.) while we continue to cope with the after-effects of Friday's snow storm here in the Northeast. Remember, snow is one of the things we love about living here. (All you Northeasterners, repeat after me ...)
Today's event is the Property Loss Research Bureau, and you can get the PPT below. As always, we'd love to hear from anybody who was in attendance about Tom's talk:
Property Loss Research Bureau, Orlando, FL
Tom's in Connecticut, and so am I. It's a beautiful location in Hamden, Quinnipiac University, where Tom is speaking to a Business Leadership Forum, sponsored in part by our friends Miller [Insurance] Agency. So, there are three PowerPoints, one for the Business Leadership Forum, one for Miller Agency, and one long version shared between them.Cathy Mosca posted this on 03/16/2007.
We welcome Don Tapscott to the ranks of the Cool Friends. His recent book, Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, might possibly be essential reading for anybody doing business today. Choose wiki methods or not, but you must be aware of this trend. Here's what Tom said about the book:
On the way to Manchester [England] I re-read the profoundly important book by Don Tapscott & Anthony Williams, Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. If possible, it had greater impact the second time 'round. Hence, I created a little presentation that I used in Manchester—which we've attached. With typical understatement I told our participants, "You must not 'read' this book, you must 'ingest' it."Cathy Mosca posted this on 03/14/2007.
Today, Tom is speaking at the Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference in Lansing, MI. Apparently, he made some friends during his walk when he got there yesterday afternoon. See below. As always, we'd like your comments attached to this blog. If you attended the event, let us know about it.
(The temperature was about 70° F. when Tom got to Lansing, MI. The first warm evening of the year brought the Michigan State fraternity folks out of their houses. Though there's no proof, Tom wonders if, possibly, the empty cans on the lawn could, once, have contained beer?)Cathy Mosca posted this on 03/14/2007.
Inova Health System in Fairfax, VA, is the location of Tom's event today, for the Inova Leadership Institute. "Toward Health(care) Excellence!" is the title of his talk. We'd love it if attendees would let us know their impressions of the event in the comments to this blog entry.Cathy Mosca posted this on 03/13/2007.
Tom has been getting serious about Excellence again, and, of course, that focus is reflected in his Master Slides. The title of the Master for 2007 is Excellence Always, and it's grown so much that we present it now in three parts. He's also decided to get LOUD about the Women's Thing. He's been vocal on the subject for a long while, but he recently realized that vocal was not enough, and he turned up the volume. You'll find a renewed, insistent emphasis on Women as the major market for nearly everything, and Boomers and Geezers along with them.Cathy Mosca posted this on 03/12/2007.
Courtesy our mutual friend, Warren Bennis, I've known Charles Handy for years. But yesterday in Manchester, England, I had the privilege (& delight) of co-presenting with him, for the first time, at an all-day seminar. Put simply, he is one of the most decent & thoughtful & profound people-professionals I have ever known. We agree on many-most-almost all-virtually everything when it comes to the "important stuff." (Unlike me & Peter Drucker, Jim Collins, Michael Porter.) But our presentation styles are polar opposites—he's quiet and penetrating. I'm noisy.
One area where Charles & Warren have got me dead to rights is the critical axiom that in order to lead effectively one must know oneself—not navel gazing, but the idea that your core values must not be left unexamined and that you simply must understand how you are understood by others. This is fully half of Charles's presentation. (And will become a larger part of mine.)
(I flatter myself, or resort to wishful thinking, when I say that Bennis & Handy & I might be called "three peas from the same pod.") (The only hole in their humanistic thinking, to my mind, is their failure to vocally focus on the women's issues—both are true believers as I am—but neither choose to make their beliefs on this subject a centerpiece of their writing or presenting.)
At any rate it was a lovely day, and feedback suggests that it worked for our "customers." It sure as hell worked for me.Tom Peters posted this on 03/09/2007.
It is possible that Wikis will "change everything." On the way to Manchester I re-read the profoundly important book by Don Tapscott & Anthony Williams, Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. (Blogged previously.) If possible, it had greater impact the second time 'round. Hence, I created a little presentation that I used in Manchester—which we've attached. With typical understatement I told our participants, "You must not 'read' this book, you must 'ingest' it."
Hint: I meant it.
A few WikiWords:Tom Peters posted this on 03/09/2007.
Welcome to Wikiworld!
Master "Mass collaboration"!
"Mass collaboration," WikiScale, really is one of those (rare) things that probably merits "new thing under the sun" status.
Went to London yesterday (there-here as I write.) Yesterday's paper was more loaded than usual:
End of the World as the English know it. An unexpected Commons vote to, after 700 years, turn to an elected House of Lords. The end is nigh for the ultimate oxymoron ... "hereditary excellence"? Quite possibly.
The Chinese are seriously considering real property rights—the right to OWN one's property. Headline (from Tom): "Today the Sun Rose in the West."
Hooray: The Brits are seriously considering severe penalties for the BAA if security lines, especially in hell (a/k/a Heathrow) are too long. Five MINUTES, on average, would be the new standard, and >20 minutes would be treated a Capital Offense. Fingers crossed, hope it happens—and exports across the Atlantic.
No less Important for being obvious. Headline, the Times (London): "A friend is loyal, kind, true ... and probably a woman." An academic study based on 10 years of data. Conclusion: "Friendship between women seems to be fundamentally different from friendship between men." "Friendship is much deeper and more moral for a woman. Women tend to keep their friends through thick and thin, across geography and social mobility. Men, on the other hand, are more fickle with their relationships and seem more interested in asking 'What's in it for me?'"
Below, welcome signs of spring, daffodils in Green Park, London, March 8.
Tom Peters posted this on 03/09/2007.
Thriller writers don't get much better than Charles McCarry (latest, Secret Lovers) and Robert Littell (I'm reading Legends—about a former CIA officer who becomes confused about who he is. Apt reading in "Scooter" week?).
Highly recommended, a surprising "page turner": The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister: Three Who Changed the World, by John O'Sullivan. Obviously about Reagan, John Paul II, and Thatcher. It is doing no less than changing my perspective on three decades of my life.Tom Peters posted this on 03/09/2007.
Came across this wonderful presentation Karl Fisch, the Director of Technology at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado, put together for his students. It's called "Did You Know?" What a wonderful educator using technology to inspire and inform his students. It struck me as something all of us Tom readers would appreciate. Enjoy.
[Note that the link takes you to Fisch's blog. I'd recommend that you explore there for a moment or two.—CM]Mike Neiss posted this on 03/07/2007.
Manchester, England: Benchmark for Business and tompeterscompany!uk present Transforming Life, Work, & Organizations with Tom Peters & Charles Handy, appearing at the same event for the first time today! Hello to all our friends in the UK!
And, the UK branch of tompeterscompany has established a new destination for you if you'd like to learn more after attending the conference. I'm glad to announce this new website here: http://www.futureshapeofthewinner.com
Or, to get a copy of Tom's PPT slides, you can use this link:
Sunday. Lufthansa check-in area, Logan, Boston. The parent ahead of me has got his young kid on one of those leashes. The kid is energetic (boy), and straining against the leash in the style of my hypermanic Australian Shepherd, Dodger.
I'm not keen on losing kids in airports, though Logan was pretty empty at the time. I am unalterably opposed to "kid leashes," and especially when the situation is as I described it.
Frankly, it made me slightly ill, though I demurred from saying anything.
Decentralization vs. centralization ... no??
Voter turnout, in the snow (see below), was over 50%. The decision between public voting at Town Meeting (a 222-year tradition) and secret Australian ballot was on the table. Feelings ran hot, but the meeting was orderly and respectful—and the arguments pro and con so compelling that they changed my mind. It was a wonderful display of Cap-D Democracy. Our issues may not have been directly about war and peace—but they were heartwarming, dramatic even, confirmation of what Mssrs Washington, Adams, et al. were about two-and-a-quarter centuries ago.
In the end, the Australian ballot won by 8 votes. Thus ends a 222-year streak. (I almost wept.)
Tom Peters posted this on 03/05/2007.
Don't Forget Why You're Here!
I was talking with a young lawyer, Harvard trained, now putting in her time at a big firm. She allowed as how life was just a whirl of mostly trivial activities. On the one hand that's very normal, and part of the time-honored apprenticeship process. But it's also true that in the midst of all the BS, you often lose sight of why you followed this apparently hallowed path to begin with. I've heard doctors and other professionals say the same thing. At the top of the pyramid, former Secretary of State George Schultz mused on how you come to public service with the highest of ideals, but "you get so caught up in the Power Game, that you forget your worthy aspirations." God knows, on many a long plane delay and the (constant) like, I've wondered the same thing.
(Alas, many CEOs epitomize this. They get so caught up in the earnings game that they forget the fact that they are meant to be "of service" to some worthy, Olympian objective. Perversely, I'm pleased to report, this loss of attention to the basics is the wellspring of earnings that don't measure up.)
I have a little ritual I follow to help get back on track. I take a moment or five and skim either In Search of Excellence or my Stanford dissertation—and remember what I aimed to do in the first place. And how far I have strayed; it helps me get centered, or re-centered.
I suggested to my newfound lawyer acquaintance that she invent some like ritual. And I suggest the same to you: "Why did I take this assignment, or choose this profession? Am I doing everything possible in my current project to hold to the principles that got me into all this? Is my time here up?" Or some such. It's the ritual review rather than its form that's important.
(My suggestion: Do it every 90 days. Better yet, every evening!)Tom Peters posted this on 03/05/2007.
If The Envelope Doesn't Fit, Forget It!
(So Check on the Envelopes.)
My local Starbucks stayed open a few minutes late—and fetched something already put away—to fill my order.
When I handed my other local Starbucks my thermos yesterday morning, they filled it up without question, even though that's a non-standard order. (I think they under-charged me—a two ventis price for what doubtless was three ventis in quantity. Oh, and they thoroughly washed the thermos before filling it without request.)
My local Whole Foods opens at 8:00 a.m. Several of us were waiting. They opened at about 7:45. And those folks define helpful—I got a full-bore dissertation on various cuts of beef, among other things.
Stanford sent me a questionnaire in prep for my MBA reunion. (# ???) I took some pains to fill it out. When I got ready to mail it, I discovered that it didn't fit into the envelope they'd enclosed—I tore the questionnaire up and tossed it in the recycle bin. (Ever wonder what's wrong with MBA programs? Lack of attention to misfitting envelopes! Think I'm kidding?)
Do you bend over backwards to go "beyond the book" to help customers? Do you open earlier than advertised? Are your envelopes the right size?
The 25 companies that made BusinessWeek's first "Customer Service Champs" list are very, very, very, very, very serious about the "little things."
How do you know?
What are you doing about it?
"Big aims" (I believe in them religiously!) are plain silliness without the "little" things executed to perfection—and constantly beyond the "best practices" you designed yourself.
"Little things"—I love the word "fanatic."
("Big" keys to "little" things: great hiring practices emphasizing "soft" factors, great and extensive and enjoyable training, fun, celebrations, routinely using words like "Wow," managers who are out and about, etc., etc.)Tom Peters posted this on 03/05/2007.
Speaking of customer "service":
It's not about free tickets.
Or multi-hundred dollar "I'm sorry" checks.
(Or multi-thousand dollar checks.)
It's about what it's about!
Totally Insane Incarceration In Supermax Prisons!
Fix it, you idiots!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I don't want federal mandates.
I want you to pull your heads out of your ...
1, 2, 3 ... all together ... pull!!!!!!!!!!!
(I've written this Post because I've read a hundred "I'm sorrys" and plans for healthy recompense—but no damn ironclad promises about destroying Abu Ghraib of the Air.)Tom Peters posted this on 03/05/2007.
R.O.C(I): "They" All Work For Me!
Suppose I work in a 201-person unit.
Suppose I'm in sales. (Everybody is—but that's another story.)
Key #1 to success: C(I) >> C(E)
Translation: My Internal Customers/C(I) are more important, perhaps far more important, especially in the long term, than my External Customers/C(E) to whom I am officially making the sale.
Goal: I want all 200 of my mates—in every discipline—working for me! Starting with my CEO!
Secret to Key #1?
Big time investment!
Screw the "traditional silos"—I plan to make love to everybody in every department in the Unit. I want 200 folks desperate to make me successful with my External Client-Customer.
I am desperate in turn to get rid of my external customer. I want "my" External Customer to become not "mine," but the customer of my mates/C(I). I want them, my C(I), to reap the pleasure and rewards of the relationship with "my" (now their!) External Customer.
(FYI: This applies to every project. The customer is not the customer. The customer is my mates throughout the enterprise who will surpass me in their effort to satisfy-WOW my "official" end user-customer for that IT project.)
So? Are you investing like a ... deranged maniac ... in your C(I)? Do all 7, 17, 170 folks in your unit work for you—and love it?
Return On Investment in Internal Customers/C(I)—nothing more important. Oh, by the way, have you ... MEASURED ... the "customer satisfaction" of your internal customers?Tom Peters posted this on 03/05/2007.
Jefferson vs Hamilton.
"It's" all about—"the first 100%"—centralization vs decentralization.
How tight the reins?
How much slack?
The child will never learn until she's on her own and been through a full set of disasters. But you don't want any ill to come her way—so you keep the reins tight!
Jefferson believed in "We the people."
Hamilton said: Centralize. Strong executive.
(We're fighting about "it" 220 years or so later.)
Every (!!—no rounding error) person who makes it into the history books is by definition insanely (!!—no rounding error) disobedient—doesn't "buy the act;" has contempt for his-her "betters."
But we tell our kids in school to "sit still, follow the rules, and behave."
The essence of the boss's job (including bosses of 5-person project teams) is the art—never science!—of dealing with the always gyrating centralization—decentralization balance-tension.
These thoughts are the product of a recent row over the imposition (right word, per me) of "best practice" standards in a big company.
I love best practices.
I hate best practices.
I love them when they are available to learn from.
I hate them when they demand mimicry.
True, very true, you will never "get it right" (nation, child rearing, your 27-person unit), but I bet you (I guarantee!) that you will slowly get it wrong. That is, unless fanatically managed there is an Axiomatic Drift Toward Centralization. (A/K/A human nature.) I humbly suggest that Creeping Centralization is the cause of the lion's share of most CC/Corporate Collapse.
Tighten the reins!
Fight Corporate Collapse!
Fight Creeping Centralization!
What are your precise procedures to stop-reverse the proliferation of originally sound-procedures-become-bureaucratic cancer?
Have you exercised said procedures—this week? Today? (Prove it.)Tom Peters posted this on 03/05/2007.
We call it Bare-knuckle Competition!
We call it Capitalism!
We call it Democracy!
I call it:
(May life's innocent-inadvertent centralizers enjoy a long, unhealthy stay in Dante's Ninth Ring!)Tom Peters posted this on 03/05/2007.
Our friend, colleague, commenter, and blog post-er, Mike Neiss, is quoted in today's New York Times in Joe Nocera's column titled, "A Double Shot of Nostalgia for Starbucks." Mr. Nocera quotes from Mike's post titled, "Wake Up and Smell the Coffee." The Times article explores the two sides of Howard Schultz: the man nostalgic for the Starbucks past, and the man who only cares about opening more retail outlets than any other store in history. For me, though, the most damning fact for the ubiquitous coffee chain is a "survey of 20,000 people by phone and in person that showed that Dunkin' Donuts now had higher customer loyalty than Starbucks." Yikes.Erik Hansen posted this on 03/03/2007.
New Cool Friend Dan Heath is the coauthor, with his brother, Chip, of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. Together, they also write an ideas column for Fast Company magazine. But one of Dan's favorite accomplishments is that he once won a New Yorker cartoon caption contest. How cool is that? Begin to find out what makes ideas live on in the minds of your audience by reading his Cool Friends interview here, or learn more at www.madetostick.com. Or, buy the book. I'd say this one would appeal to Tom just because of the duct tape in the cover design.Cathy Mosca posted this on 03/02/2007.
The Quinnipiac University School of Business in Hamden, Connecticut, is presenting a Business Leadership Forum, and Tom will be appearing along with several other speakers. It is sponsored in part by a friend of Tom Peters Company, the Miller [Insurance] Agency. Space is limited, so act soon if you'd like to attend. To register, go to www.quinnipiac.edu or call 203-582-3766 by
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.