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


Today, Tom spoke at the Gulf International Convention & Exhibition Center in Bahrain. His topic: The Search for Personal & Business Excellence.

He offers participants (and anyone else) three PowerPoint presentations:
Bahrain Final
Bahrain Long
34 BFOs (Blinding Flash of the Obvious)

Disruption! Disruption!
New! New! New!
Phew! Phew! Phew!
Hold Onto Your Hat!
Katy Bar the Door!

I admire—and have learned from—Clay Christensen. He brought us news of a constant state of "disruption." We now live in a state of perpetual breathlessness. Every day brings news of a new disruption. Wow!

But something was nagging at the back of my mind, And I finally figured out what it is. Namely, constant disruption—at a fast clip—may not be new. What "big data analytics" did I use to figure this out? My Mom, Evelyn Snow Peters, was born in 1909 and died in the summer of 2005. Here, in a single paragraph, is a partial précis of the yawn-worthy, uneventful times she lived through:

The advent of mass market cars, commercial radio, routine long-distance phone calls, portable phones, cell phones, satellites, satellite phone call transmission, movies with sound, color movies, TV, TV dinners, microwave ovens, commercial use of aircraft, jets, extensive electrification, the Great Depression, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, Bob Feller, Barry Bonds, Derek Jeter, the West Coast Offense, the Civil Rights Movement, an African-American POTUS, Gay Pride, women win the right to vote, Gandhi, Churchill, WWI, WWII, the birth of the U.S. Navy Seabees, relativity, the A-bomb, the EEC, the EU, the Euro, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, 9/11, the 43-year Cold War, the disintegration of the USSR, the resurgence of China, the death and resurrection of Germany and Japan, Oklahoma & New Mexico & Arizona & Hawaii & Alaska become states, William Howard Taft* [*just missed Teddy Roosevelt], FDR, Ronald Reagan, Father Coughlin, Jim and Tammy Bakker, mainframe computers, PCs, hyperlinks, the iPod, DARPA-net, the Internet, air conditioning, weed whackers, Mickey Mouse, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, the Beatles, Madonna, the Model T, the Cadillac Escalade, Nancy Drew, the first four Harry Potter books, antibiotics, MRIs, polio vaccine, genetic mapping, WWII rockets, space flight, man-to-the-moon, more or less permanent space station.** [**But, to be sure, not long enough to see the Cubs win another World Series or to take a selfie.]

See, not much went down for her.

Whoops, gotta go, gotta deal with my DDD ... daily dose of disruption.


Medtronic is a premier world-wide purveyor of medical devices and therapies. Tom's speaking to their EMEAC FY-15 Annual Kickoff Meeting in Frankfurt today. To get the PPT from his presentation, see below. Also attached is his additional offering to this group, "Systems SECOND."

(Tom tells us that perhaps he'll depart from his normal "pull no punches" style. "Hey," he said, "I have a Medtronic pacemaker implant. I gotta be nice to these folks.")

Medtronic Final
Medtronic Long Version
Systems Have Their Place: SECOND Place

Herein a 737-page “Freebie”:
74 Ways to Launch Your Journey. Now.
(And Then There’s Also “MOAP”)

Last October I wandered across a little item on the topic of "overcoming resistance to change." As happens in life, that phrase turned out to be the innocent trigger for a 9-month exercise which has resulted in the 100K-word, 737-page "collection" presented herewith.

"Resistance to change" conjures up images of "battles" and "conflict" and "winners" and "losers." I get it—and I think it's 100% ass backwards, to put it in blunt terms. The joy—and it is "joy"—of having a new, contrarian idea is seeking out colleagues who share it, jumping into the pond, and starting to splash around. That is, in my view, change agentry is about collecting and nurturing and playing with allies—not "vanquishing" "foes."

Using twitter as my medium-of-choice, I began a vigorous exchange on this topic. And the rest is history. Well, not exactly. The tweetstream/twitter rant on making friends versus defeating foes triggered several like tweetstreams. Which led to this, that, and the other. Some of the thises & thats & others were twitter-inspired, some weren't.

October became Christmas and New Year's, and on 15 January my wife and I headed off to New Zealand for our annual two-month retreat from Vermont winter. (And what a winter we "missed.") I not-so-grandly labeled the oddball collection I'd been cobbling together "Some Stuff." It was a tad over 100 pages in length.

Two weeks into my New Zealand sojourn, on 1 February 2014 at 1 P.M., to be all too exact, I was in a lollapalooza of a head-on-both-cars-totaled car crash. Though no one was badly injured, I was the person at fault—one more Yank driving on the wrong side of the road. My physical problems were non-trivial but not debilitating. But the mental anguish was a whole other story. Only airbags and a fastened backseat seat belt had kept me from grievously injuring—or worse—three innocents.* ** *** (*My Kiwi neighbors were stunningly supportive—treating me like a longtime neighbor, not a pariah; bless them one and all.) (**This paper-book is unstintingly dedicated to John Hetrick, the guy who in 1952 invented the auto airbag; in this single instance, he may well have saved three lives.) (***The last item in this piece is an outright demand that you insist that passengers fasten their back seat seatbelt—the fastened belt saved a passenger from significant harm, perhaps death, in my accident.)

My head ceaselessly played a video loop of the crash—a psychiatrist friend said it was literally the "garden variety" homefront flavor of PTSD.

My mental therapy, the only thing I could do to distract my mind and slow the film loop, was to go back to "Some Stuff." To cut to the chase, the 100 pages grew by mid-May to, yes, 737 pages, the titled morphed from "Some Stuff" to "Excellence. No Excuses."—and the final (for now) product is hereto attached.

All yours!

The paper-tome-book-encyclopedia is a hodgepodge-by-design. That is, to reprise the subtitle, "74 Ways to Launch Your Journey. Now."

I should offer a word of warning. As I said, "it" all started courtesy my ire at "overcoming resistance to change." The tone was thus set. Virtually all of the 74 items are "rants" of one flavor or another. And a byproduct of that is a busload of: BOLDFACE type and many, even by my standards, BRIGHT-RED-IN-YOUR-FACE-EXCLAMATION-MARKS. (One colleague calls it "one of your PowerPoint presentations—on 8 1/2 X 11 paper." Indeed.)

Bottom line: This is 737 pages of stuff I really give a shit about.

I'm not wholly insane—I don't expect you to sit down for the weekend and read it cover to cover. But I do hope you will dive in from time to time and cherry-pick an idea to be used "Monday morning." Or some such.

(FYI I: In deference to the intimidating length of the "book," we are also providing most of it in a chapter-length format—also attached hereto.)

(FYI II: This in a way is "Act TWO." On 01 January 2012, we posted "MOAP"—the Mother Of All Presentations—at our then-new website, excellencenow.com. That piece was titled "EXCELLENCE. NOW."—a 23-part, 4096-slide, fully annotated PowerPoint presentation of "everything I've learned." It was three years in the making.)

In Search of Excellence took off in part because, though only a 5K first printing of the book was planned, my coauthor Bob Waterman and I had given away about 5K copies of the massive, 600-page McKinsey presentation booklet on which the Harper & Row hardback version was based. Which is to say, I have been a vigorous advocate of the desirability and power of the "sharing economy" long before the idea recently became popularized. In the "book" attached hereto, item #12, on the sharing economy, begins with an 1868 quote from Louisa May Alcott: "Cast your bread upon the waters & it will come back buttered." Amen!

Well, here are a few loaves of ZERO-priced bread, and along with equally priced "MOAP" I hope you will find some nourishing bits!

Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference

Logistics have always been important. No doubt of it. (My first slide is a quote from General Omar Bradley, commander of U.S. forces on D-day: "Amateurs talk about strategy. Professionals talk about logistics." Incidentally, the 70th anniversary of D-Day is just two weeks away.) But, if possible, the role of the logistics—supply chain—exec is becoming more important. By an order of magnitude. In the "Age of the Internet of Everything" and "Social Business" ... everything truly is connected to everything else. And concocting and managing and harvesting maximum value from this ubiquitous web/moving target is arguably Corporate Job ONE.

Hence, I am at once excited and cowed by the opportunity to speak at Gartner's 10th annual supply chain bosses' get-together. (Among other things, the conference includes the announcement of Gartner's "2013 Supply Chain Top 25.")

You'll find my slides here—in long and short form. We are also including a paper that seems particularly apropos, "Systems Have Their Place: Second Place." It acknowledges, with 10 supporting case studies—the centrality of excellent systems, but also the necessity for a supportive culture to be in place if their yield is in any way to be maximized.

Gartner PPT Final
Gartner PPT Long

Inc.’s Top 50

On 12 May 2014, Inc.com posted a list of Top 50 Leadership and Management Experts. The purpose behind the listing was "to find out which people are globally the most popular management and leadership writers in the English language." Tom makes it into the ranks at #12. Our thanks go to Inc.com for the commendation!


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