A Few Quotes …

Call me a “motivational speaker”—and I’ll be tempted to punch you. On the other hand, I have collected a passel of “inspiring” quotes over the years. I put this little set together for a colleague. All yours …

“This is the true joy of Life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one … being a force of Nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” —G.B. Shaw, Man and Superman

The master in the art of living
Makes little distinction between
his work and his play.
He hardly knows which is which.
He simply pursues his vision
of EXCELLENCE in whatever he does.
Leaving others to decide whether
he is working or playing.
To him he is always doing both.

Source: Zen Buddhist text

“Make each day a Masterpiece!”—John Wooden, the most successful basketball coach [ever]

“I don’t think I was a fine game coach. I think I was a good practice coach.”—John Wooden on uber-preparation

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”—Oscar Wilde

“Make your life itself a creative work of art.”—Mike Ray, The Highest Goal

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”—Mary Oliver, poet

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”—Eleanor Roosevelt

“The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”—Alvin Toffler

“Innovation is opera: Theft and murder and egos and false starts and years in the wilderness and years of treading water …”—author unknown

“Ever notice that ‘What the hell’ is always the right decision?”—shrewd observation, attributed to an unknown Hollywood scriptwriter

“No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”—Samuel Beckett

“Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy. You simply must … DO THINGS.”—Ray Bradbury

“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”—Wayne Gretzky

“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”—Ted Rubin, social media guru

BLAME NO ONE.
EXPECT NOTHING.
DO SOMETHING.

Source: Locker room sign posted by NFL football coach Bill Parcells

“The only thing you have power over is to get good at what you do. That’s all there is; there ain’t no more!”—Sally Field

“There is absolutely nothing that beats hard work. You hoped when you were coming out of college that you were the smartest. It turned out none of us are. But I could sure outwork a lot of folks.”—Sallie Krawcheck

“What we do matters to us. Work may not be the most important thing in our lives or the only thing. We may work because we must, but we still want to love, to feel pride in, to respect ourselves for what we do and to make a difference.”—Sara Ann Friedman, Work Matters: Women Talk About Their Jobs and Their Lives

“All of our artistic and religious traditions take equally great pains to inform us that we must never mistake a good career for good work. Life is a creative, intimate, unpredictable conversation if it is nothing else—and our life and our work are both the result of the way we hold that passionate conversation.”—David Whyte, Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity

“I WANT TO BE THOROUGHLY USED UP WHEN I DIE. … Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”—George Bernard Shaw

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece, but to skid across the line broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, leaking oil, shouting ‘GERONIMO!’”—Bill McKenna, professional motorcycle racer

“It’s always showtime.”—David D’Alessandro, Career Warfare

“All human beings are entrepreneurs. When we were in the caves we were all self-employed … finding our food, feeding ourselves. That’s where human history began. … As civilization came we suppressed it. We became labor because they stamped us, ‘You are labor.’ We forgot that we are entrepreneurs.”—Muhammad Yunus

“Many of us don’t see ourselves as leaders, but the truth is that we are all confronted constantly with opportunities to ‘take the lead.’ [We either] take the lead—or fail to do so.”—Betsy Myers, Take the Lead: Motivate, Inspire, and Bring Out the Best in Yourself and Everyone Around You

The Big SIX

“We do no great things, only small things with great love.”—Mother Teresa

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble.”—Helen Keller

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”—Anne Frank

“Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.”—Churchill

“To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”—Henry David Thoreau

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”—Victor Frankl

HR Indiana

Tom is speaking at HR Indiana, the largest HR conference in the Midwest. As you know, he has been working for the last few months on an essay, “The Moral Bedrock of Management: Maximizing Human Capital Development.” In many ways, he says, that essay will be the basis for his speech. “I try to do my best at every event—but this one, I admit, is special. I believe that changing circumstances—especially technology—put, or will put, damn near every job at risk. Hence companies—from 3 employees to 33,333 employees—have an obligation as never before to develop their team. The good news, as I’ve said for over 30 years, is that this is also the number one approach to maximizing profit and growth in the mid- to long-term.” Tom summarizes his argument on a single slide, with text as follows:

CORPORATE MANDATE #1 2014: Your principal moral obligation as a leader is to develop the skillset, “soft” and “hard,” of every one of the people in your charge (temporary as well as semi-permanent) to the maximum extent of your abilities. The good news: This is also the #1 mid- to long-term … profit maximization strategy!

You’ll find here Tom’s presentation as given, and a long version that he plans to annotate. We’re also including the “Moral Bedrock of Management” essay.

Tom adds, “This is really important to me, and I hope it may push you toward action.”

Update: Moral Bedrock

What should you focus on right now to make Excellence happen in your organization? That’s the question that’s always on Tom’s mind. He’s been working on a document called Excellence. NO EXCUSES! (available here) for months. This collection of Twitter conversations now encompasses all the topics Tom sees as important right now for excellence in the workplace. It is 800+ pages of thought-provoking ideas.

“Moral Bedrock,” which started as a chapter in Excellence. NO EXCUSES! is now at the center of Tom’s attention. As he tweeted during a discussion of business metrics, the best standard to use in making decisions is, “It is the morally right thing to do.” Read more in this latest update of “Moral Bedrock.”

Some Stuff
Tweets
18 July 2014

Brief snippets FYI …

Topic ONE: Generational management.

I’m sick-to-death of the “How do we manage ‘Gen Whatever’” bullshit. My response thereto:

As leader, commit yourself fully to helping everyone grow every day. Gen A. Gen B. … Gen X. Gen Y. Gen Z. Nothing new. Damn it.

People you work with can smell your (leader’s) passion for helping them grow. Or the absence thereof. Demographics be damned.

Topic TWO: “Helping.”

“Helping” is more delicate than neurosurgery, so half (three-quarters? 90%?) of the time we’re helping, in fact we’re hindering. (That’s NOT glib.)

Thought of the day: “Helping” is the most delicate act there is. (THE MOST DELICATE.) Most managers—newbies or seasoned, especially seasoned—think they understand how to help. They are delusional X10.

“Helping” is an area of intense-committed-sustained professional study—not “instinctive” or “seat of the pants” or “old wives’ tales.”

Effective-attuned listening is the heart of helping. “Listening” is an area of professional study—not seat of the pants or old wives’ tales.

Topic THREE: Selling.

Selling is 80% listening. (Not clear what the other 20% is.)

Hypothesis: Often as not/more often than not INTROVERTS make the best salespeople.

(Re introverts: Persistence and aggressiveness do not require making noise.)

Topic FOUR: Nurturing creativity in yourself.

Best way—bar none—to stay creative is to manage “hang out.” RELIGIOUSLY. Hang out with weirdos (on any and all dimensions) rather than “same old, same old” and you automatically win.

The “smartest person in the room” is the one who (KEEPS HIS OR HER MOUTH SHUT) and learns from everyone else in the room.

Detroit

Sculpture of Joe Lewis Fist, Detroit

Did you see the recent article, “The Post-Post-Apocolyptic Detroit”? Before I met Tom Peters, I lived in Detroit. My husband had an idyllic, cookie-cutter suburban ’60s upbringing there with a family full of auto workers. All his grandparents were immigrants, happy to see their children thrive in post-WWII Detroit. He spent the ’80s in downtown Detroit, in college and working at the Stroh Brewery. Detroit was already in decline when I arrived in the ’90s.

What I found was a population baffled by their misfortune. Why was manufacturing more cars not the solution to their economic woes? Assembling cars had created a healthy middle class and glamorous city. But the industry changed. This community of builders, in love with the cars they built, were no longer able to prosper. Ruin, on a massive scale, ensued.

For an overview of the desolation, take author James Howard Kunstler’s Google Street Views tour of the Detroit cityscape.

Detroit’s decline has lasted for so long that its reputation is rough, scarred, brutal. As a young, white woman in the ’90s I was advised by many not to go downtown alone. Kunstler states while visiting Detroit he had to stay in another country for safety (Windsor, Ontario, across the river). That was not my experience. I found boundless creativity. In some of the most dangerous areas, there were community art fairs, neighborhood art projects (most notably the Heidelberg Project, shown below), and a vibrant music scene. That is not to say that Detroit is a safe place. It’s not. But those who have stayed either don’t have the ability to leave or have been brave enough to believe that things will improve. Knowing Detroiters as I do, I’d say they will not go down without a fight.

Detroit's Heidelberg Project

The “Post-Post-Apocolyptic Detroit” article features the stories of some of those who are brave enough to not only stay, but invest heavily in the future of this once-great city. Dan Gilbert, billionaire owner of Quicken Loans, seems to be investing the most.

Detroit is his mission; he has gone all-in. He has brought 12,500 employees with him to downtown, … is funding the construction of a light-rail system … formed a start-up incubator called Bizdom and a venture-capital firm … He told me: “Here, man, oh, man, it’s a dream. Anything can be created in Detroit.”

Gilbert, a Detroiter by birth and an entrepreneur by nature, happened upon some very good advice early in his career:

After starting his first company, Rock Financial, he fell under the sway of the Thomas J. Peters business tome In Search of Excellence and became fixated on the idea of creating a positive corporate culture.*

Longtime readers of Tom’s work recognize that profit isn’t always the result of greed, his favorite equation being, “Kindness=Repeat Business=Profit.” Dan Gilbert is trying to “enrich a city and himself at the same time,” believing that you can “do well by doing good.”

I, for one, hope that Dan and Tom are right. As the article points out,

If the scale of Detroit’s failure is unprecedented, then so (the local reasoning goes) is the scale of its opportunity.

Whether the locals are right or not about the size of the opportunity and its likelihood of success, the more who act on Tom’s equation, the better off Detroit will be.

*[Postscript: Upon reading Dan Gilbert's comment, Tom wrote, "I am flattered beyond measure and never cease to be amazed by commentary like this. Makes a dent in the cumulative weariness from millions of air miles."]

Shelley Dolley posted this on July 18, 2014, in News.
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“Mastery”
Total Real Estate Training
Annual Education Conference
Sydney, 15-16 July 2014

Tom is addressing a group of the most successful realtors in Australia and New Zealand. He and Rupert Murdoch are the principal keynoters. (Mr. Murdoch is in town to, among other things, celebrate the 50th anniversary—15 July—of the launch of his national newspaper, the Australian.)

“The pattern is one I’m familiar with,” Tom says of the audience. “They are exceptionally attentive. Every one is wildly successful and doesn’t need this; but those are precisely the folks who are perpetually hungry to pick up even the tiniest idea that might help them take their game up another notch.”

If you would like to get the PPT presentations from the event, it is available here. Note: Three PPTs posted on 15 July (Session One, Session Two, and the Long Version) have been replaced by one combined PPT on 18 July:

Sydney, Sessions One and Two, 15-16 July

Excellence. NO EXCUSES! Update

Tom has continued to tinker with his now super-sized document, Excellence. NO EXCUSES! He asked the opinion of his Twitter followers, and they approved the addition of “Moral Bedrock of Management,” available here. It is now item number 6 in this latest version of Excellence. NO EXCUSES!

We encourage you to download it, or one of its chapters. Ponder it, use it, spread it around. And if you would like to read the story behind it, you can find that here.

New Master Slideset

After a year of self-education, Tom has lots of new observations to include in his Master slides. Get the newest PPT here, or on excellencenow.com.

Surprising Oldie Stats

These few snippets are from my slide deck. (Post occasioned by tweetstream on the topic, 06.23-24.14.):

USA 1996-2007, Entrepreneurial Activity (firms founded): 
Highest rate: Ages 55-64 
Lowest rate: Ages 20-34 
(Source: Dane Stangler, Kauffman Foundation, reported in the Economist.)

“The average age of a start-up founder is 40. And high-growth start-ups are nearly twice as likely to be launched by people over 55 as by people 20-34.”
(Source: Vivek Wadhwa, Kauffman foundation, reported in Time/0325.13.)

Forrester Research: “[Age 55-plus] are more active in online finance, shopping, and entertainment than those under 55.” (Sorry, no date available.)

The Moral Bedrock Of Management

It’s a long(ish) story—and not relevant. Let’s just say that a conversation I had earlier today led me to pull together the 9-page paper attached. In the main, I think it speaks for itself—or I hope it does.

[Ed. Update 07.25.14, 45 pages]: The Moral Bedrock Of Management PDF

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