Archives: February 2010

Link Roundup #13

International Mentoring Network Organization, a nonprofit organization aimed at making professional mentoring available to all, has launched the Get in Their Shoes 2.0 Campaign, the longest Mentorship Auction ever conducted. You can submit a bid for your chance to be mentored by Guy Kawasaki, Caterina Fake (co-founder of Flickr), Aaron Magness (director of Brand Marketing at Zappos), or many others. The winning bidder gets a session with the mentor of their choice; for example, the first winner got a half hour on the phone with Dan Pink. Each week a new mentorship opportunity will be posted, so you might want to bookmark the link.

BloombergBusinessWeek and the Hay Group have collaborated on a study of best leadership practice, and they've identified the Top 20 among the Best Companies for Leadership. Here are links to study findings that we found of interest: Women Leaders: The Hard Truth About Soft Skills, and How Infosys Leads the Way in Leadership. And here are the Top 20 (advance the slideshow to see details on each one).

Cool Friend Andrea Learned has made women consumers and the green/sustainability trend a major topic of study. See this blog entry from February 18 at her website: Working Women: Key to Promoting Energy Efficiency. That led her to try to find women at the forefront of the sustainability movement. If a name comes to your mind, she wants to hear from you @AndreaLearned, with the hashtag #sustywomen.

In the emails to Tom we got this on-site account from Haiti. The CEO of Timberland arrived there among the first responders to the earthquake, and one of his former employees sent us his report as an example of leadership qualities to emulate. We think you'll find it riveting to read for many reasons, of which leadership lessons may be the least compelling.

Fast Company published its list of the Most Innovative companies. We're happy to point out that HarperStudio, the publisher of Tom's new book (out soon!), made it into the media list. Online, the article is supplemented by this slideshow of the Top 10.

Also at, best experienced online with the volume turned on: The Top 10 Addictive Sounds. We think some may surprise you.
Tom loves the Olympics' display of Excellence. To help you keep score, The Huffington Post offers the Olympic Medal Tracker. It's fun!

Re-Set: The Business Models of Tomorrow

Tom's publisher HarperStudio and Vanity Fair are putting on a breakfast on April 20th in New York that we think might interest you. It's called Re-Set: The Business Models of Tomorrow. Seth Godin will moderate and the panelists are Tom, Anna Bernasek, Michael Eisner, and Gary Vaynerchuk. (Sounds like something you don't want to miss, doesn't it?)

Find out more at or download the invitation.

Leadership: Don't Use Standardized Forms

The latest in Tom's Little BIG Things video series is "Don't Use Standardized Forms." You can watch the video on YouTube to see Tom present his case that you should be choosing and assessing your talent like an NFL team or a Symphony Orchestra. Those groups would never use a standardized assessment vehicle, and Tom contends that neither should you.

[The video is 3 minutes, 14 seconds in length, and you can get a PDF transcript here.]

A Peerless Strategic Opportunity:
The First-line Manager20/1LM20

The evidence is clear: Employee satisfaction and like variables are significantly, even overwhelmingly, linked to the employee's relationship with her or his first-line manager. While first-line managers are considered to be of great importance, in my experience few companies truly obsess on every aspect of their care and feeding. In fact, my observations suggest that such things as first-line manager training regimes are often of questionable quality. This is a strategic mistake. More important, a lost strategic opportunity.

What follows is a long way from the "last word"—in fact it is the "first word" from me, and simply an indicative list aimed to stir your analytic juices.

Herewith, my First-line Manager20:

  1. The selection process for 1st-line managers (1LMs) should be as rigorous as that of, say, vice presidents. "360" evaluations are a must. Perhaps a selection committee should be appointed, which includes other 1LMs.
  2. New hires should be selected in part on the likelihood of subsequent promotion to 1LM, and this goal should be formally emphasized from the start of their tenure.
  3. 1LM slots that are open should not be filled until an appropriate (superior beyond a shadow of doubt) candidate is found.
  4. 1LMs should be given long probation periods—perhaps 6 months.
  5. New 1LMs should "shadow" senior 1LMs for a significant period of time.
  6. 1LM training programs should be evaluated far and wide, and, based on "best practices," a stellar/"Wow" 1LM training program should be developed. The "basic" course and intensive continuing-ed curriculum should aim to win "best in class" awards.
  7. 1LM designees should receive superior evaluations in "basic training" or be put on probation.
  8. Given the abiding importance of cross-functional communication and coordination and synergy, 1LM selection and training and subsequent evaluation should emphasize measurable performance on this dimension. (Poor marks on XF performance should be cause at any time for probation or, after fair notice, removal from the job.)
  9. Senior officers (including the CEO) and highly rated-regarded 1LMs should present parts of 1LM training modules, especially the "basic training" program.
  10. "People development" should be the central element of 1LM training. (The "people development" training modules should be award-winning.)
  11. Success as precisely measured in "people development" should be the central element of 1LM evaluation.
  12. "Business" training should also be a central part of 1LM training.
  13. 1LMs should be treated as the company's principal "culture carriers" and principal "change agents"—and be treated and trained and "used" accordingly.
  14. The abiding importance–Excellence of our portfolio of 1LMs should be considered a formal "core value" of the enterprise.
  15. A portfolio of "outside" training courses for 1LMs should be available during the entire tenure in the job.
  16. Every 1LM should have two assigned mentors, one from within the 1LM's department, one from outside. One of the two should be a fellow 1LM. The mentoring process should be carefully constructed, not "catch as catch can;" mentors should be evaluated on their results.
  17. 1LM reviews should be monthly during the probationary period, quarterly thereafter; these reviews should be carefully designed and rigorous by any standard.
  18. Every department head should evaluate her or his "portfolio" of 1LMs regularly; the quality and continuing development of the 1LM portfolio should in turn be a central element in the evaluation of department heads and division heads.
  19. A senior HR exec and a senior "line" exec (and perhaps an outsider) should formally evaluate the company's 1LM portfolio annually.
  20. After the 1st year of 1LM service, the 1LM should be trained for and become a mentor of new 1LMs. Henceforth, mentoring success or failure should be a central measure of the 1LM's performance.

The Little BIG Things book page

We're getting very excited about the launch of Tom's new book, The Little BIG Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence. We've created a landing page for the book. You can find out where to pre-order the book, check out what people are saying about it, watch a video, and (yes!) get a sneak preview of the book. We'll be adding audio excerpts soon as well, so stay tuned!

Service: On Thoughtfulness

In this latest video, Tom presents his case for including thoughtfulness in your values statement. But don't do so unless you believe, as he does, that it is the key to success. Success through customer satisfaction and retention, employee satisfaction and retention, enhanced brand image, and more.

You can watch the 2:50 minute video on YouTube.

A transcript is also available for downloading. Get the PDF.

Excellence Slides: Miami

Tom's event of the day is speaking to the National Confectioners Association. Their website is! If you'd like to get the PowerPoint from Tom's appearance, you can get it here, along with a longer, web-only version:

National Confectioners Association, Miami
National Confectioners Association, Long Version

As always, please let us hear from you if you were there.

"Guru" This!

I just finished an hour+ walk on the streets of Miami. I imagine I saw, say, 500 "workers." In bank branch lobbies. Hotels. Restaurants. Other miscellaneous shops. Heading into law firms and PR firms. And so on. And on.

I bet 98% (literally) have pretty standard bosses who, in turn, are embedded in pretty standard hierarchies. And I further bet that the reach of most of their markets is about five blocks, and no more than the Miami border.

And so on.

(Oh dear, and 98%++ don't even read my blog ... or Tweet.)

That is, about 98% of the people I saw are pretty much unaffected by all of the "cool" stuff and "weird" stuff and "world-upside-down" stuff that about 98% of the "gurus" (me included!!) write about 98% of the time.

That is, I sometimes (right now) wonder what we "gurus" are doing to help/be of service to 98% of the working people of the world, from Miami to Chicago to, yes, beloved San Francisco and Amsterdam and Dubai?

Just a thought.


Tom embraced the new media/web conversation at Twitter—with a vengeance! As he does everything. So, eight months in, he has a lengthy collection of past tweets to share. Expect frequent updates to this, his Tweetbook. Thanks to the folks at for making it easy for Tom to collect his Twitter postings so that we can offer it to readers of If you'd like the Twitter stream directly, so that you can experience the immediacy of the conversation, follow Tom @tom_peters. If not already, sign up for your own Twitter account. He is responding to many tweets directed his way. Try it!

Though our Cool Friend Chris Brogan suggests that getting a reply might not be the only reason you'd want to follow Tom on Twitter. Maybe you'll just get some inspiration.

Excellence Slides: Philips Healthcare

Today, Tom is speaking to Philips Healthcare. Their tagline is "Sense and Simplicity." Nice.

If you'd like to get the slides, you can use these links:
Philips Healthcare North America
Philips, Long Version

If you attended the event, please drop us a line in the comments.