Archives: April 2008

Event: Skillsoft

Tom's closer to home in Watertown, Massachusetts, speaking for SkillSoft's Leadership Development Channel. Featuring best-selling business authors, experts, and CEOs—those who can have the biggest impact in motivating and challenging the thinking of learners, Leadership Development Channel is a collection of on-demand programs (videos) in multiple learning formats designed to help organizations develop their managers.
You can download the slides here:
Skillsoft, Watertown, MA

Tucking the Shower Curtain

I was lucky to get to London for the Tom event yesterday. Repeating his message from this blog post, Tom told the story about Conrad Hilton, founder of Hilton hotels. At a gala celebrating his life, he was asked, "What was the most important lesson you've learned in your long and distinguished career?" His reply was, "Remember to tuck the shower curtain inside the bathtub."

At first glance, one may think, that's it? But, think about it ... paying attention to detail makes all the difference when we are trying to achieve excellence. When we miss the little things, we miss the opportunity to achieve excellence; we fall just short of it.

My question of the day is, "What shower curtain do you need to tuck in?"

Event: London Tom Day

Today, Tom's in London sharing the stage with our Cool Friend Kjell Nordström, with the theme being "Look Beyond Change." Presented by old friends Benchmark in partnership with Tom Peters Company!UK, it should be a great day! As always, the slides are available here:
Excellence. Always. Benchmark/TPC!UK, London

What the Hell!

Found this on a greeting card in a Boston paper store. Frankly, it doesn't get much better than this:

"Ever notice that 'what the hell' is always the right decision?"—unknown Hollywood script writer (courtesy The Borealis Press)

100 Ways to Succeed #115:

What the Hell!

At some point today (today!), despite "overload" ... just say, "what the hell" and go for it in some way or other.

(Likewise, worry if it's been more than a week or so since you said to yourself, "what the hell.")

Innovation … It's Easy as P___!

If innovation is still the best source of competitive advantage, then this truism should apply beyond the world of fashion, IT, and pharmaceuticals, and into less obviously promising areas, like aircraft toilets! A client who works in this sector told me recently that men (still) make up 70% of airline passengers carried. (Reason in itself to re-read Chapter 13 of Re-imagine!) Further, and without going into unnecessary detail, he told me that three out of every four visits passengers make to the toilet during flights is to pee. So, putting these two statistics together, over 50% of toilet utilisation on flights is by men peeing. Question then. Why are there no men's urinals on planes, as there are in just about every other venue where men and women co-exist in large numbers?

Some cynics amongst us might say that this is largely because the status quo does not cause a big problem for men! But things are starting to change. DASELL Cabin Interior (see the Washroom with Urinals page on their website) has just won an industry prize for offering the first aircraft urinal as a unique feature for their customers, the big airlines and plane manufacturers. These novel facilities are certainly more space- and weight-efficient, and attractive for the specifying aero-engineers on that basis alone. But it's likely to be the women passengers who turn out to be the biggest beneficiaries of this particular piece of German ingenuity. Having to share toilet facilities with us men on long flights can't be the best aspect of the air travel experience for women passengers. Installing urinals to take most of the male traffic opens up the attractive possibility of an airline's being able to designate some of the conventional toilet facilities as for "ladies only" without inconveniencing the male majority. This seems like a really good service innovation to me. But how could I possibly know or understand!

Does anyone know of similarly mundane innovations that had surprising benefits?

Keystone Seven

In the course of the last few weeks, in addition to "live events" (e.g., Johannesburg, Mexico City), I've been working on a set of "Keystone Presentations," seven to be exact. Fact is, they collectively amount to a significant shift in emphasis. I am focusing on the "practical" "eternal" "human" (oh so human!) basics of GTD/Getting Things Done, or Implementation. We have posted several of these presentations along the way. With this post I want to offer you, in one place, all seven—prior to my taking off for a week-long trek on the Dalmation Coast-Croatia.

[Download links for all seven are below—CM]
The Alternate Master—The 1158-slide set that Tom would choose from if he were presenting a day-long seminar
Real People (PDF)—Also known as "Excellence for the Rest of Us: A Book for Real People, Working in the Real World in 2008"
The Healthcare Master—Ten Years in the Making, a completely annotated slides presentation
The Implementation Master—The case for Implementation as business strategy #1
3 Cases—Implementation—A corollary to the Implementation Master above
Guru Gaffes—Contrasts: Guru-world vs. Real World
Equations—A series of equations stating that "Success is a function of ..."

Re-imagine! China

See a larger version of the Re-imagine! cover--China

What are they reading in China? According to Joe Nocera in the New York Times this past Saturday, everything to do with business management, and their Tom Peters book of choice is Re-imagine! See what Nocera has to say at NYTimes online.

Mud Season. Not.

It's (still) "mud season" in Vermont, courtesy this winter's abundance of snow. Cars and trucks, in particular, look like flying mud balls.

While on my speed walk yesterday, I passed through the Equinox Hotel parking lot—Manchester VT. They are undergoing, under new owners, a massive renovation. The contractor is Bread Loaf Construction, probably VT's best, out of Middlebury.

Bread Loaf folks aren't as smart as they think, as I see it. That is, they apparently don't know it's mud season. Every contractor's truck in the parking lot—and the FedEx and UPS trucks, too—confirmed the "mud ball" image I just pointed out.

Except for Bread Loaf's. There were two BL trucks in the lot, both sizeable pickups. Both, in BL tradition, painted fire engine red.

And neither—and here I do not exaggerate—had the tiniest trace of dirt or mud or even dust.

Later in the afternoon, I was having a long interview with a top dog at the ad agency TBWAChiatDay, and, not surprisingly, the topic turned to branding. Out of my mouth, unbidden, popped "Branding is a squeaky clean bright red contractor's truck in mud season in Vermont." In fact, we talked about the fact that branding is, well, about ... Everything. On the one hand, that's not very helpful. On the other hand, it reminds us that nothing, absolutely nothing, is irrelevant to individual branding—or branding of a construction company in VT or Megacorp Inc. As a quote from David D'Alessandro, in Career Warfare, goes, "It's always showtime."

(I know, I know—I should have taken a picture. Sorry.)

100 Ways to Succeed #113:

Nothing Is Irrelevant

Right now.

Check the reception desk.
Check the reception area.
Check the bathroom.
Check your last Client email.
Check etc.
Check etc.

Check 10 "little things."
Right now.

Is each one stunningly, amazingly excellent?
Does each one confirm & extend & broadcast your "brand promise"?
You, personally?
Your training department?
Your 3-person accountancy on Main Street?
Your BigCo division?


(Remember: You are in control. There are things you cannot make happen, to be sure; but you can project Brand Excellence on a thousand "atmospherics" that determine Client-Employee perception.)