Ten Years in the Making!
The attachment herein [updated 7 April], more heavily annotated than any I have done before, took 10 years of preparation. I have been working on and off with healthcare issues for a decade. Thanks in part to a slew of gangbuster books that have recently appeared, I have been able to reach some temporary closure. Hence, you will find here my best shot at compassing the healthcare issue as I see it. As I say at the outset in my annotation, this presentation is not about Hillarycare or some such. It is about turf upon which I can claim some expertise—organizational and operational effectiveness. For instance, healthcare financing—except as it causes horrid distortions in priorities, a bias against improving our health—is not dealt with. (By choice.)
Tom Peters posted this on 03/31/2008.
I hope that you will "enjoy" this, though most of the story is grim. And I hope that some of you might spend some serious time on the presentation, and give me your feedback. And of course, as always, I hope you will "rob me blind"—and use some of this material in your own work.
Americans mostly think we have the best healthcare in the world, even if the most expensive. In short, that doesn't fit with the fact that our life expectancy is 45th globally and dropping, that our hospitals unnecessarily kill hundreds of thousands of us each year, and that seeking care at our most prestigious healthcare centers will surely reduce our lifespan compared to care at "St Elsewhere," as one writer put it.
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Love It or Leave It
The speaking business, that is. That's Tom's advice for new authors who are considering speaking as a career. (Never the half-way sort, that's Tom's career advice for anyone. Period.) Tom spoke with Jon Mueller at 800-CEO-READ's Author Blog today about his chosen profession. They covered a lot of ground concerning the ins and outs of being a professional speaker. If you're curious about how Tom got his start, or how to communicate effectively with an audience (including one that speaks another language), you should listen to this half hour interview.
Shelley Dolley posted this on 03/28/2008.
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Depression as Opportunity?
At a client meeting this week, I was taken aback when he deliberately chose to describe the current economic outlook in the UK with the word "depression." I have become used to talking to colleagues and clients alike about the coming recession, but a depression is entirely a different matter. I've never lived through one of those! This client is the CEO of a financial services group and extremely well connected in UK banking circles. If he's thinking and talking this way, so, too, I bet, are the heads of many other sizeable financial institutions.
Our conversation moved on to what the best strategies were for both our businesses to successfully navigate through the testing times that lie ahead. What could he do, and did we have anything different to offer that might help him to do it better or more quickly? You won't be surprised that most of the "common sense" stuff we began to discuss, in nautical parlance at least, focused on "lightening the ship, battening down the hatches, and hoping to be amongst those who survived the storm." But we're the Tom Peters Company, dammit!
Back in 1990, Tom released a brilliantly counterintuitive video called "Recession as Opportunity—smart moves for tough times!" Its core message for those dark days was that "smart people should redouble their attention to improving product quality and service excellence." This was a good place to start and changed the tone of our conversation. We then talked about the importance of engaging peoples' hearts and minds, and especially so in tough times. Everyone on the payroll has to do work that is worth their wages. How to make "the work matter" to people. Creating a context where people can do the best work of their lives. Spreading messages of doom and gloom all round the patch certainly won't do that.
I left the session feeling quite pleased with my contribution to the debate. I might have helped my client to get past his personal malaise and into some "uncommon sense" areas where he could deploy his considerable leadership talent to potential competitive advantage. But I came back to earth with a bump today when I read the current Annual Review and Summary from HBOS plc (a competitor of my client), and found this comment prominent in CEO Andy Hornby's remarks: "As we face the unprecedented financial turmoil in global markets, our focus on colleague [talent] development has never been more important. Our ability to execute our strategy within these tough markets relies on engaging with, and motivating, our colleagues to deliver consistently outstanding performance."
Perhaps the common sense stuff came at the end of the discussion, and not at the start? Does anyone have any stories of people who are already making smart moves for tough times?
Richard King posted this on 03/28/2008.
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Cool Friends Interview #121: Gibson & Skarzynski
Our new Cool Friends, Rowan Gibson and Peter Skarzynski, have a combined experience of over 40 years in helping organizations become more innovative, seize new growth opportunities, and invigorate their approach to markets. Rowan is a well-known speaker and the author of the best-selling Rethinking the Future. Peter is co-founder with Gary Hamel of the innovation strategies company Strategos, which helps organizations "build a systemic capability to innovate." Peter and Rowan have combined their expertise to write the new (out last week!) Innovation to the Core: A Blueprint for Transforming the Way Your Company Innovates. It goes beyond the reasons why innovation is imperative to how you make innovation happen, where to get fresh insights for your particular problems, how to measure your innovation program, and how to know if it's being implemented effectively within the organization. Read their Cool Friends interview to learn more.
Cathy Mosca posted this on 03/26/2008.
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Got my foot caught in power cord, here in my Las Vegas hotel room. Hence, my computer did not just "fall off a table" three feet high—it flew (!!) off the table, landing about three, or perhaps more, feet away. It "took a licking and kept on ticking." Hooray for my Panasonic CF-W5 TOUGHBOOK!
Tom Peters posted this on 03/25/2008.
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Event Slides: Kindred Healthcare
As Tom says above, he is in Las Vegas, and he's speaking to a group from Kindred Healthcare. You might recall that healthcare is at the top of Tom's list of reading subjects recently, so I'm sure he has a great deal to say to them. If anyone who attends the event would like to comment, we'd love to hear from you! If you'd like to get the slides, you can download them here: Kindred, Part 1 and Kindred, Part 2
Cathy Mosca posted this on 03/25/2008.
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Four Hearty Cheers!
Shopping for Easter dinner in a crowded Shaw's [market] in Manchester Center VT at about 1 p.m. Saturday. As I check out, I'm delighted to see a bagger—an effort to relieve congestion. I am even more delighted to see that my bagger is the Store Manager!!
Four hearty cheers! (And, alas, ever so rare.)
Tom Peters posted this on 03/24/2008.
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100 Ways to Succeed #111:
Get Out And About!
Get out! [Of your office.]
Now! [Within the ... hour!]
[Attached, as a reminder, is a link to our "'Top 50' 'Have Yous,'" PDF or PPT, posted earlier.]
Tom Peters posted this on 03/24/2008.
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I love some of Michael Crichton's books. And have real problems with others.
But I heartily recommend Next, just out in paperback. It's called "fiction," but it is already mostly (?) true. The genetic revolution has great promise—and great peril. Some may call this book "alarmist"; I am not among them. How about "instructive"?
Tom Peters posted this on 03/24/2008.
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Simply the Best!
I am doing more and more work in healthcare. I am not engaging in the policy debate—or at least only marginally. Instead, I am interested in why we spend so much money, and yet trail Bosnia in life expectancy. (Our rank: 45.)
Along the way, and recently, I came across Phillip Longman's Best Care Anywhere: Why VA Healthcare Is Better Than Yours. All I'll say is that it is a stunning book, and the claim holds up.
Consider: "Generally, the more prestigious the hospital you check into, and the more eminent and numerous the physicians who attend you, the more likely you are to receive low-quality or even dangerous and unnecessary care."
Attached you will find some extracts from the book (and from Shannon Brownlee's Overtreated) that I've collected. If you are interested in 1/7th of our economy, let alone your health, read on. (One result of the book is my declining a major test that would have been of marginal value—and since it was intrusive, it would have exposed me to many of the factors that lead to our hospitals unnecessarily killing between 100,000 and 300,000 patients per year.*)
[*"The results are deadly. In addition to the 98,000 killed by medical errors in hospitals and the 90,000 deaths caused by hospital infections, another 126,000 die from their doctor's failure to observe evidence-based protocols for just four common conditions: hypertension, heart attack, pneumonia, and colorectal cancer." TP: total 314,000. FYI: In one evaluation, by the prestigious RAND consultants, the VA system ranked first on 294 measures of quality, compared to other major systems.]
[Now I'm starting on the very new Our Daily Meds, by Melody Petersen—yet another damning treatise.]
Tom Peters posted this on 03/24/2008.
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The "Little Stuff"
As you know, at the moment I'm obsessed with the "little stuff"—as I have called it here, the "last 98%," that is the heart of implementation-execution. Here, without comment, is another factoid—with which most of you are already familiar. Body language accounts for about 60% to 80% of so-called "verbal" communication. No surprise, women are muuuuuuuuuuuch better at reading body language than men.
My most recent source is the very readable (fun) The Definitive Book of Body Language by Allan and Barbara Pease. [They also authored another of my fun-but-serious favorites, Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps.]
Tom Peters posted this on 03/24/2008.
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Dr Franklin "Gives Good Tea"
As you recall I offered up last week Excellence for "The Rest of Us." This weekend I wrote an alternate introduction: "Dr Franklin 'Gives Good Tea': America Defeats Great Britain!" It's attached.
Tom Peters posted this on 03/24/2008.
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So, Work Really Does Matter ...
Readers of this blog will be well aware of the TP/TPC bias towards work. For many years now, the mantra "the work matters" has been at the heart of Tom's and TPC's philosophy, so it is always heartening when solid research comes to the same conclusions as we do! A recent study in the UK by CHA Communications Consultancy has shed light on the motivation that people have towards their work. Their study of over 1500 UK employees from across public, private, and charity sectors points to the fact that over three quarters of those surveyed want to feel that the work they are doing is worthwhile. Their definition of what makes a job worthwhile: that the work contributes to society, that it is a job they can do well, and that it is a job they can be proud of.
Sadly, almost half of those surveyed are looking for a more worthwhile job than the one they now have. And ironically, although those in the private sector see the charitable and public sectors as being more promising places to find worthwhile work, at the same time, a quarter of public and charity sector workers are frustrated enough by bureaucracy and red tape to be considering a move in the opposite direction!
I am left wondering, in today's world of Brand You, whether the challenge of finding meaning in one's work should be down to the employee herself? Surely it is up to each of us to make the connections and to discover for ourselves the purpose in what we are employed to do? It would be great if leaders could do this for us, but since work means different things to each of us, surely we have at least some responsibility to do this for ourselves?
To follow the tone of Tom's recent "reality" blog, what do you believe is realistic to expect of our leaders as they set a context for our work? And what should be done by people for themselves?
Madeleine McGrath posted this on 03/21/2008.
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A friend sent me the attached. I'm not in the habit of using this Blog to, effectively, forward email, but this was-is too good to pass up.
All too true!
[We'd love to credit the person who put this together, but her-his name did not accompany the file. We'll certainly add a credit if anybody claims ownership.—CM]
Tom Peters posted this on 03/19/2008.
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Thirty Times Over.
While on holiday in New Zealand ... I got to thinking. As time goes by, "one" (me) tends to complexify one's approach to almost everything. The innocence (and clarity) of "days gone by" is blurred. I know that I am "guilty as charged." (By me.) And I think most of the other "gurus" (horrid term, but it's become part of the biz language) have also gotten away from reality. Hence, I began taking notes for a book-like "thing" that is not, in fact, a book. I titled it:
Excellence for "The Rest Of Us":
A "Book" for "Real People," Working in "The Real World" in 2008
The book-that's-not-a-book begins with a Thirty Count Indictment of "guruworld." I have provided 30 contrasting pairs, "Guru focus" versus "RW," Real World. Below I am offering the list, FYI.
The "Indictment" is the opener of a 62-page (so far) "paper" (that's not a book). Attached you will find the entire 62-page, 19,000-word plus document.
More to come!
[If you wonder about the origin of "all this," perhaps the sign, discovered on a beach on Golden Bay, New Zealand, will offer a hypothesis.]
Guru focus versus the "real world":
Guru focus: Big companies and attendant first-order, industry-redefining strategic issues.
Real World: Most of us, still, in 2008, don't work for Big Companies; we labor in "SMEs," Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. (Or the likes of government agencies.) And if we are in a big company or agency, most of our focus is the 17-person department in which we labor. (As to "SMEs," Germany is, ahead of China, the planet's #1 exporter, thanks mainly to focused, high-end middle-sized companies, the Mittlestand enterprises.)
Guru focus: Public corporations.
RW: Most of us work in privately owned companies. (Or in those government agencies.)
Guru focus: Cool industries.
RW: Most of us aren't in "Cool" industries, we do pretty ordinary stuff—like my pal, Larry Janesky, who makes a buck, and then another ($60 million, actually), creating "dry basements," that are free of toxic mold and can be used as a spare room or for a playroom or storing anything and everything; or Australian Jim Penman, who has over 2,500 franchises worldwide doing such things as walking dogs, washing dogs, and installing antennae.
Guru focus: "Excellence" is reserved for GE and GE and GE (or Google or, until last week, Boeing).
RW: "Excellence," bar none, is the fabulous, friendly, informative, instantly responsive pharmacy next door that takes on docs and insurance companies with vigor and usually victory. (Gary Drugs on Charles Street in Boston, for me.)
Guru focus: Boss-less, flat, friction-free, self-defining organizational settings.
RW: Most of us have "bosses." Most of us are assigned tasks.
Guru focus: "Getting ahead" means becoming a "Brand You," in a world where what our peers think of us is more important than the Boss's evaluation.
RW: Most of us still must cater to our bosses to get ahead.
Guru focus: "Cover boy" CEOs with G-4s, trophy wives, and the kids from all three marriages in prep schools with tuitions starting at $50K.
RW: Most of us work for government agencies or in schools or fire departments or in private companies perhaps run by the "millionaire next door," who owns two suits, a 2006 Lexus, stops in the coffee shop on the way to work, and sends his kids to public school.
Guru focus: New "virtual organization" forms of doing business; workplaces with hierarchy are "so yesterday."
RW: Most of us work amidst a rather clear "hierarchy" as depicted on a standard organization chart. (Though there are probably a few less layers then there were a few years ago.) (Want hierarchy? Try Home Depot.)
Guru focus: Creative right-brain weirdos, "with it" in these odd times.
RW: The majority of us are not "new age creatives," but are occasionally quite clever ... and pretty good at "blocking and tackling" in order to "get done what needs to be done."
Guru focus: The immediate threat, to millions upon millions, of being "outsourced."
RW: Most of us aren't especially threatened by the prospect of having our jobs outsourced to India or China or Romania.
Guru focus: Global enterprises "playing in the big league," in a "flat world."
RW: Many (most) of us are only marginally affected by globalization, and our firms don't sell more than a modest share of their products or, especially, services beyond our national borders. (The primary reach of the 18-person accountancy in a mid-sized city of 84,000 is perhaps three miles.)
Guru focus: A world where "the Web is everything, changes everything."
RW: Most of us haven't had our world turned anything like "upside down" by the Web, though the Web has surely had a significant impact. (We communicate with the plumber by Blackberry email from our car, but he's still 5 hours late!)
Guru focus: Our ability to be in instant communication with anyone, anywhere.
RW: Use email, but still practice MBWA—Managing By Walking Around.
Guru focus: An encompassing IS-IT strategy, with everything wired to everything else.
RW: While integrating IS is very important, most of us muddle through, trying to ensure that the IT-enhanced bits (the front-line sub-systems) are marvels of simplicity that deliver the goods for those front-line folks and their internal-external customers.
Guru focus: Strategic planners and CEOs desperately seeking "blue oceans."
RW: Most of us don't spend much or any of our day making grand plans. Never have. Never will.
Guru focus: Thinking "outside the box," of course.
RW focus: Most of us obsess on "doing," pretty much inside the box. (There are enough damn problems in the box—pissed off customers of long standing, etc.)
Guru focus: Complex "systemic change."
RW: Most of us believe in and spend our time doing on-the-cheap, rapid experimentation, picking off the "low-hanging fruit," muddling our way through to big change.
Guru focus: Imposing words-phrase such as "business models," "scalable," "strategic talent management," "customer-retention management," and "knowledge-management paradigm."
RW: Most of us try to use everyday language such as "the way we make a buck" (instead of "business model"), "let's grow this sucker" (not "Is it scalable?"), "hire good people and treat 'em well and give 'em a chance to shine and thank 'em for the stuff they do" (rather than "strategic talent management"), "bust our ass to keep our customers happy to keep 'em coming back" (instead of "customer-retention management"), and "share the stuff you learn with everybody ASAP, don't hoard it" (rather than "executing a knowledge-management paradigm").
Guru focus: Best data base + sexiest algorithms win in our customer-centric enterprise.
RW: Most of us spend our time on "trivial" acts of relationship building with customers, suppliers, leaders in our community, etc.
Guru focus: The relentless pursuit of "synergies."
RW: Most of us focus, focus, focus in order to stand a chance of succeeding in the marketplace. (Those astounding German "Mittlestand" companies again, or Larry Janesky, the dry-basement guy.)
Guru focus: Marketing sleight of hand!
RW focus: Sales! Sales! Sales!
Guru focus: Put the customer first!
RW focus: Put the front-line employee and the front-line manager co-first! (In order to maximize the odds of repeat business.)
Guru focus: Acquisitions and mergers aimed at expanding our "reach" and "market penetration" and "market share" amidst a zero-sum game, thus reducing risk courtesy a "diverse" portfolio and smothering ("killing") the competition.
RW: Play from our strengths, work like hell to enhance those strengths, and survive-thrive via "organic" growth and executing very, very well.
Guru focus: Totally "new rules for a new game," dramatic new "management tools" that "change everything."
RW: Most of us are learning new things, but nothing that's particularly "revolutionary" as we labor mightily (fulltime) "just" to "get stuff done," improve relationships, find good folks and keep 'em by showing appreciation and respect, and providing opportunities to get ahead.
Guru focus: Hiring PhD mathematicians to design obscure algorithms that allow the creation of the likes of "risk free" derivatives and, hence, stunning "competitive advantage."
RW: For most of us, snappy execution of the "timeless" "basics" is Job #1. (And Job #2. And Job #3.)
Guru focus: A fetish for the diabolically clever.
RW: Most of us know that "relentless" pounding and pounding and pounding, and then pounding some more, on those Golden Basics wins.
Guru focus: Built to last.
RW: Most of us muddle through, trying to make it to the end of the week while keeping our customers content.
Guru focus: Disruptive Innovation is #1.
RW: We "invent" everyday "tools," such as Xeroxed (paper) checklists, aimed at preventing "line infections" and thus saving thousands-of-lives-per-year of ICU patients, in the U.S. (In a similar vein, as it were, the British observers estimate that over ten thousand lives per year could be saved in hospitals by providing most patients with compression socks that help prevent deep-vein thrombosis.) (Call it "un-disruptive innovation," with inordinate power?!)
Guru focus: Describe "new age" mortgage bankers, loaded with "intellectual capital" and "integrated systems" who "package" loans as soon as possible and sell them to financial service institutions who create and sell derivatives based on the packaged mortgages—which are in turn re-packaged as super-derivatives.
RW: As, say, a young mortgage-lending officer in a town of 18,000, whose Dad runs a local car dealership, take Mary and John to lunch to get a grasp of who they are before lending them $450,000; and after the loan, call or drop by every, say, three or six months to see how things are going—even if all payments have been on time.
Guru focus: "Changing demographics," "the new Gen X world," as many discrete market segments as there are customers.
RW (I wish): Our primary customers [85% of the time] are women—find the right team [lotsa women in senior management] and go for it. We also, to make a buck, have gotta aim more at boomers or near-boomers, and "geezers" [who collectively have all the dough], and less on callow, so-called "trendsetter" youth.
There's my thirty—and I plead "guilty-as charged" to many-most of them!
Tom Peters posted this on 03/18/2008.
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New Cool Friend: Dan Roam
Cool Friend Dan Roam says that a picture is worth a thousand words, but only the first thousand you'd need to get briefed on the issue at hand. He helps big name clients solve complex problems by using simple pictures like the one above. In his new book (out today!), The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures, he explains that you don't have to be good at drawing to use visual thinking for communicating ideas. Find out more by reading the interview. You can also visit the website of the consulting company he founded, Digital Roam Inc., or read his blog.
Cathy Mosca posted this on 03/13/2008.
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Event: Global Leaders
Tom's in Johannesburg, South Africa, doing a seminar for Global Leaders. If you attended the event, please leave us a comment to let everyone know how it went. If you would like to get the slides, you can download the PPT file with this link.
Cathy Mosca posted this on 03/12/2008.
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The 500 True Believers,
Dodger the Dog,
And the Beantown Cabbie
The deal is, we've been told, that CEO pay is so high because demand for the 9-sigma talent of these Water Walking Wonders, so very beyond your and my shriveled imaginations, wildly exceeds supply when it comes to the 500 jobs as Fortune 500 CEOs. I contend that there are exactly 500 Guys (almost all guys, hence I can safely use the term) who believe that line of reasoning—namely the 500 CEOs of the F500 companies. (I guess I could also throw in the heads of the biggest search firms, who unearthed many of these so-far-beyond-the-pale dudes, which perhaps puts the total at 505 True Believers.)
The Inspiring Invincibles! Chuck Prince (Citigroup, formerly head of)! Stan O'Neal (Merrill Lynch, formerly head of)! Angelo Mozilo (Countrywide, formerly head of)! Tough cookies, each one. And yet, somehow, on their watches, The Three Geniuses allowed their firms, through grotesque negligence—maybe silliness or Theaters of the Absurd would be better words if the stakes weren't so high—to get into positions in which tens upon tens of BILLIONS of greenbacks had to be written off from their books of account. Dodger, my 5-year-old Aussie, could have done a better job. (He could have bitten anybody who tried to make a $500K loan to someone who had never had a job or paid a bill and signed his name with an "X"; and peed on the pants of any 22-year-old University of Chicago PhD who said, "With my clever algorithm I've designed what's called a 'derivative'—it'll make risk a thing of the past." Yes, had Dodger bitten and peed on schedule, the likes of Citigroup would be ten or twenty billion ahead of their current position.) But, since the demand is so strong for the 500 different-from-mere-vice-presidents- Monumental-Management-Marvels, and the supply is so short, The Three Geniuses, on the basis of "Upside Potential," were able to chalk up about a half BILLION buckaroos on their pay stubs over the last five years, while busily installing the tools necessary for Global Economic Meltdown. Well, I guess that means they're "excellent" at something. Isn't there some line about wool & eyes & pulling? (In most cases, their pay deals, especially the parts about "if you turn out to be an idiot, we'll pay you a king's ransom to clean out your desk," were effectively set before they set foot in the executive suite. Wow, I wanna piece of that action!)
Then, across the sea from our Miracle 'Merican Marvelous 500 uber-Managers (demand waaaay exceeds supply, remember), sits the chief of France's Société Générale, or SocGen. (How about "sock shareholders"?) Somehow or other, yup, "somehow or other," on his continuing watch, a 31-year-old trader with a penchant for math and a knack for writing code managed to evade "controls" and "sneak" $74 BILLION worth of exposure onto SocGen's balance sheet; it has taken an almost $10 BILLION loss to clean up the mess—for now. But in the future, the Big Boss, a/k/a "the genius," promises "tighter controls." (The saving grace here is that the laddie who scored the seventy-four bil is named Kerviel. I keep thinking "Evil Kerviel," after the late lamented Evil Knievel. Unfair! Evil Knievel had a far, far better sense of "risk assessment" than our superduperstar Banker Bigwigs—may I not be damned for in any way besmirching Mr Knievel's name and spirit.)
More on the topic of "genius," the short supply thereof: Big mergers and acquisitions, negotiated by Big People, have a pretty much guaranteed habit of Going South, destroying value, statistically, perhaps 80% of the time—give or take a bit, depends on whose research you read. But in that Rarified Air of the 500 Top Talents, ever-short-in-supply-because- they're-so-so-much-better-than-you-or-me-or-even-their- #2-in-command, it is clear (to the 500, that is) that through their Unique Genius (they can see Farther Ahead than you or me), they can move beyond others' mistakes and consummate marriages that make money. No worries. But then there was the headline, the most recent of the many of its kind, on 29 February as I recall, that reported Sprint's taking a $29.5 BILLION write-down following its Ingenious Acquisition (had to be, made by one of the 500 Horsemen—of the apocalypse?) of Nextel. Thirty BILLION later, we learn from the CEO that there will be "significant change" and that he intends to "improve execution." Dodger-the-dog could have told him that—smart dogs can attain a vocabulary of 200 or so understood words, and that's about 190 more than the "genius" who made the Sprint-Nextel deal. In fact Mr Big's vocabulary was but a single word, as far as I can make out, uttered over and over (and over) again: "Synergies, synergies, synergies, I smell synergies. My synergies in and of themselves are majestically synergistic." I suspect he said that when announcing the deal—c'mon, Tom, you know he said that without reading the transcript. Well, I smell something, but I will spare you because this is a family-friendly Blog. And while on the subject of odor, there's absolutely no need to go back in history two years (but I will, as I'm in that sort of mood at the moment) and remind one and all that, in pursuit of "synergy, synergy, synergistic synergy," the Fabled Bosses of DaimlerChrysler (one, Jürgen Schrempp, was considered Europe's Jack Welch!) managed, after their "merger of equals," to lose market cap at the rate of $10,000,000 per ... DAY ... for nine years.
Speaking of Mr Welch, his boy Bob Nardelli, given his GE birthright and thence Automatic Excellence, decided he belonged in the "Top One" in pay package ranks—his board demurred, demand didn't exceed supply quite that much. So Bob took his couple hundred mil "getoutttahere" "separation pay" packet from Home Depot right before the home improvement market tanked, and ran off to save Chrysler, post-demerger. (Wanna buy a bridge in Brooklyn ...) And while on the topic of high-profile, always Excellent GE alums: Airbus was a bunch of "big dream" idiots—delay after delay after delay in getting the A380 launched. (Launched it now is, and a helluva sight to see, as I did in Sydney about 10 days ago.) But with a former GE superduperstar in control, James McNerney, fresh from messing up 3M's innovation machine with an imagination-free six-sigma diet, Airbus rival Boeing's systems would be go. No worries. Genius in charge. Whoops. Boeing's Dreamliner, the 787, has, like a flash, or sinking rock is more like it, gone from almost fit-to-fly, not like the damn French-German machines that are now flying, to Nightmareliner, suffering delay after delay after delay after delay. (With further delays promised.) And then there was the one last week about Boeing losing the hundred bil or so Air Force tanker order—that one might be reversed, not by that old "GE [free market] magic," but by a bunch of irate Dobbsean (as in Lou) Congresspersons determined to put brakes on this "free trade crap."
Well, perhaps I should cry "uncle." Maybe those headhunters have got it right. I suspect the supply of guys capable of the likes of losing $10,000,000 per day, nine years running, while simultaneously giving sold-out lectures on "the DaimlerChrysler Way," is indeed pretty short.
Give me a break. These 500 "perfect fits," "unique beings" are doubtless pretty swell fellas, but they are also as mortal as you and me, and clearly less savvy about the Real World than the taxi driver who took me across Boston yesterday. "Stupid loans," he declared, unbidden, summing up the Trillion Dollar (or so) sub-prime mess in two words. Chuckie (Prince, recall), Angie (Mozilo) ... hear that? (And the cabbie didn't charge me the $100 million plus that Countrywide's Angie is scheduled to nick if and when Bank of America closes the deal to buy his company—the B of A, fresh from its own write-down, is, of course, pursuing "synergies, synergies, synergistic synergies.")
I shall say no more. For example, I shall not mention the billionaire next door, here at the bottom of Beacon Hill in Boston. Come on, Peter! (Lynch, Fidelity.) The gazillionnaire really needed free event tickets from the people whose portfolios he evaluated? (He and Fidelity were just fined for so doing.) I coulda directed him to a legit ticket broker, from SF, who's been taking good care of me for decades.
I am ... still ... a dyed-in-the-wool-capitalist-pig-free-trader. I don't want The Law to muzzle exec pay. But I would like common sense to prevail, or at least make the occasional appearance. The 500 Fortune 500 CEOs are no more flawless, genius, etc., than my dog Dodger, who, trust me, via his own sort of Excellence, can reverse the tide and part the waters by producing a fart that carries on the wind from Tinmouth VT all the way to Wall Street.
Dodger is my inspiration!
Tom Peters posted this on 03/10/2008.
It's good to be back on the farm!
(Whoops, off to Johannesburg in a few hours!)
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Connected Without Banners
Got an email through the website pointing me to this blog at ideasonideas.com that attacked an ad agency exec for being clueless about banner ads. I had to admit that if not clicking on banner ads makes one clueless, then I must be counted among the clueless as well.
But, before my sentencing ...
I do an insane amount of shopping on the Web (I'd bet I go online 30-50 times a day if I'm not speechifying), so does my wife, for any damn thing-category you can name, from clothes to food to books-DVDs-song downloads to trips to used stoves, etc, etc. Moreover, her home furnishings company does 50% of its sales on the Web, and the share is growing. For me, tompeters.com, ad-free incidentally (I'll explain if you'd like), has become my best marketing tool ever, ever, ever.
But neither my wife nor I is a banner-ad user, and I admit to harboring suspicions that Google is over-priced. I am at work on a Japanese garden at home (or will be when the weather allows, a jillion Vermont days from now). Among other things, I-we want a little bridge over a wee stream, the sort I saw a picture of somewhere, Web, mag, whatever. Now what? Susan's and my "now what" is 100% Web, but 0% banner ad. And, indeed, God bless Google. I simply typed in the search box "build or buy little bridge to traverse narrow stream," or some such. As I recall I had 87,000 choices, a surprise, but no surprise, given the # of words I used. Obviously, most were useless-unrelated. But after 15 minutes, and digging waaaaaaaaaaaay down beneath the top 10 or 20 (I always look for stuff deep down just to see what's there), I had a nice starter list of perhaps 20 leads; better yet, my mind, re possibilities, had been stretched beyond recognition. Now to me (old, 65) and my wife (none of your business), that was truly wondrous—100% use of the Web, circa 2008. But not banner ads.
Tom Peters posted this on 03/07/2008.
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A Blog for Business Authors
We have news to share about what our esteemed colleagues at 800-CEO-READ have been up to lately. We mention 8CR now and then as they're a little known, but phenomenal, resource for business authors and the people who love them. One of the areas where they excel is keeping us informed about what thought leaders are saying. Their Daily Blog, New Releases Blog, and the inimitable ChangeThis manifesto site are all must-reads. Now they're reaching out a helping hand with the addition of the Author Blog. Chief blogger Jon Mueller is lighting the path for business authors, exploring and explaining the pitfalls and best practices in the industry. We're excited about this new blog as navigating the business book publishing industry is no easy task and we want to see more great ideas entering the public forum.
Shelley Dolley posted this on 03/06/2008.
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Web Seminar Thursday
Last chance to sign up! If you'd like to participate—or just listen in—while the UK team explain their Future Shape of the Winner model and how it can help you to deal with dilemmas you are facing in business today, you still have time to enroll. This free webinar will be run twice on Thursday, 6 March; 12.00 midday GMT and 12 midday EST. Please contact email@example.com, and let them know which session you'd like to join.
[Note: Tom himself will not be speaking on this webinar.]
Cathy Mosca posted this on 03/04/2008.
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What we're talking about on the front page.