Category: Excellence

LEADERSHIP/MANAGEMENT/”PEOPLE FIRST” BOOK LIST

My niece, who is at the Tuck business school, asked me for a list of best leadership and management books. I put the list below together in haste. Despite the hastiness, I thought you might be interested.

Herewith:

LEADERSHIP

Jeff Pfeffer, Leadership BS
Robert Sutton, Good Boss, Bad Boss
Robert Sutton, The No Asshole Rule
Dov Frohman, Leadership the Hard Way
Richard Branson, The Virgin Way
Robert Cialdini, Influence
Adam Grant, Give and Take
Edgar Schein, Helping
Laura Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval, The Power of Small
Laura Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval, The Power of Nice
Laura Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval, Grit to Great
John Kotter, Leading Change
Thomas Gilovich and Lee Ross, The Wisest One in the Room
Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow
Sally Helgesen, The Female Advantage
Warren Bennis, Leaders
Warren Bennis, On Becoming a Leader
Susan Scott, Fierce Leadership
Betsy Myers, Take the Lead
George Kohlrieser, Hostage at the Table
Max Bazerman, The Power of Noticing: What the Best Leaders See

MANAGEMENT

Rich Karlgaard, The Soft Edge
Henry Mintzberg, Mintzberg on Management
Henry Mintzberg, Managers Not MBAs
David Marquet, Turn the Ship Around!
Mike Abrashoff, It's Your Ship
Leonard Berry and Kent Seltman, Management Lessons From Mayo Clinic
Dan Pink, To Sell Is Human
Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan, Execution
Susan Cain, Quiet
Frank Partnoy, Wait
John Mackey and Raj Sisodia, Conscious Capitalism
Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, First, Break All the Rules

PROFIT THROUGH PUTTING PEOPLE (REALLY) FIRST BUSINESS BOOK CLUB

The following related list comes from a draft of my new book [Ed.: work in progress], The Excellence Dividend:

Business by and large has a lousy rep, and management books by and large focus on things that are broken and how to fix them. Yet there is also a robust body of "good news by putting people (REALLY) first" books—e.g., the informal list below. How about a year-long ... "Profit Through Putting People First Business Book Club" for you and/or your leadership team?

Nice Companies Finish First: Why Cutthroat Management Is Over—and Collaboration Is In, by Peter Shankman with Karen Kelly
Uncontainable: How Passion, Commitment, and Conscious Capitalism Built a Business Where Everyone Thrives, by Kip Tindell, CEO Container Store (Container Store is the #1 U.S. company to work for/Fortune)
Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business, by John Mackey, CEO Whole Foods, and Raj Sisodia
Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose, by Raj Sisodia, Jag Sheth, and David Wolfe
The Good Jobs Strategy: How the Smartest Companies Invest in Employees to Lower Costs and Boost Profits, by Zeynep Ton
Joy, Inc.: How We Built a Workplace People Love, by Richard Sheridan, CEO Menlo Innovations
Joy at Work: A Revolutionary Approach to Fun on the Job, by Dennis Bakke, former CEO, AES
Employees First, Customers Second: Turning Conventional Management Upside Down, by Vineet Nayar, CEO, HCL Technologies
The Customer Comes Second: Put Your People First and Watch 'Em Kick Butt, by Hal Rosenbluth, former CEO, Rosenbluth International
Patients Come Second: Leading Change By Changing the Way You Lead, by Paul Spiegelman & Britt Berrett
It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy, by Mike Abrashoff, former commander, USS Benfold
Turn the Ship Around! How to Create Leadership at Every Level, by L. David Marquet
Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big, by Bo Burlingham
Hidden Champions: Success Strategies of Unknown World Market Leaders, by Hermann Simon (#1 "management guru"/Germany)
Retail Superstars: Inside the 25 Best Independent Stores in America, by George Whalin
The Soft Edge: Where Great Companies Find Lasting Success, by Rich Karlgaard, publisher, Forbes
Everybody Wins: The Story and Lessons Behind RE/MAX, by Phil Harkins & Keith Hollihan
The Dream Manager, by Matthew Kelly
Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, by Tony Hsieh, Zappos
Camellia: A Very Different Company
Fans, Not Customers: How to Create Growth Companies in a No Growth World, by Vernon Hill
Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won't Teach You at Business School, by Richard Branson
Good Business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning, by Mihaly Csikszentmihali
Enough. The Measures of Money, Business, and Life, by John Bogle
An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization, by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey

Humanity: Quotes Collected by Tom

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

"If you ask me what I have come to do in this world, I who am an artist, I will reply: I am here to live my life out loud."—Émile Zola

(Get the PDF)

"[The novel] traced the very ordinary life of a very ordinary woman—a life with few moments of high drama, but which was also remarkable. The extraordinary in the ordinary. It was a theme I often discussed with my students—how we can never consider anybody's life 'ordinary,' how every human existence is a novel with its own compelling narrative. Even if, on the surface, it seems prosaic, the fact remains that each individual life is charged with contradictions and complexities. And no matter much we wish to keep things simple and uneventful, we cannot help but collide with mess. It is our destiny—because mess, the drama we create for ourselves, is an intrinsic part of being alive."
—Hannah, from State of the Union by Douglas Kennedy

"Make each day a Masterpiece!"—John Wooden

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

"Nobody can prevent you from choosing to be exceptional."—Mark Sanborn, The Fred Factor

"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

"Self-reliance never comes 'naturally' to adults because they have been so conditioned to think non-authentically that it feels wrenching to do otherwise. ... Self Reliance is a last resort to which a person is driven in desperation only when he or she realizes 'that imitation is suicide, that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion.'"
—Lawrence Buell, Emerson

"For Marx, the path to social betterment was through collective resistance of the proletariat to the economic injustices of the capitalist system that produced such misshapenness and fragmentation. For Emerson, the key was to jolt individuals into realizing the untapped power of energy, knowledge and creativity of which all people, at least in principle, are capable. He too hated all systems of human oppression; but his central project, and the basis of his legacy, was to unchain individual minds."
—Lawrence Buell, Emerson

"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

"We make our own traps.
"We construct our own cage.
"We build our own roadblocks."
—Douglas Kennedy, State of the Union

"... the delight of being totally within one's own element—of identifying fully with one's work and seeing it as an expression of one's character ... this affection must be so strong that it persists during leisure hours and even makes its way into dreams ... the mind knows no deadlines or constraints and is open to its inner energies ..."
—Robert Grudin, The Grace of Great Things: Creativity and Innovation

"To have a firm persuasion in our work—to feel that what we do is right for ourselves and good for the world at exactly the same time—is one of the great triumphs of human existence."
—David Whyte, Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity

"This is the true joy of Life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one ... the 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

"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

"If I can reduce my work to just a job I have to do, then I keep myself safely away from the losses to be endured in putting my heart’s desires at stake."
—David Whyte, Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity

"When was the last time you asked, 'What do I want to be?'"
—Sara Ann Friedman, Work Matters

"Strive for Excellence. Ignore success."—Bill Young, race car driver

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

"HAPPINESS" & "LEISURE" PER ARISTOTLE:

HAPPINESS: Eudaimonia ... well-doing, living flourishingly. Megalopsychos ... "great-souled," "magnanimous." More: respect and concern for others; duty to improve oneself; using one's gifts to the fullest extent possible; fully aware; making one's own choices.

LEISURE: pursue excellence; reflect; deepen understanding; opportunity to work for higher ends. ["Rest" vs. "leisure."]

Source: A.C. Grayling, The Meaning of Things: Applying Philosophy to Life

"The antidote to exhaustion is not rest, it is wholeheartedness."
—David Whyte, Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity

"It's no longer enough to be a 'change agent.' You must be a change insurgent—provoking, prodding, warning everyone in sight that complacency is death."
—Bob Reich

"Distinct ... or ... Extinct"—Tom Peters

"Nobody gives you power. You just take it."—Roseanne

"Well-behaved women rarely make history."—Anita Borg, Institute for Women and Technology

"To Hell With Well Behaved ... Recently a young mother asked for advice. What, she wanted to know, was she to do with a 7-year-old who was obstreperous, outspoken, and inconveniently willful? 'Keep her,' I replied. ... The suffragettes refused to be polite in demanding what they wanted or grateful for getting what they deserved. Works for me."
—Anna Quindlen

"You are the storyteller of your own life, and you can create your own legend or not."
—Isabel Allende

"It's always showtime."—David D'Alessandro, Career Warfare

"Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart."
—Henry Clay

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

"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

"Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness."
—Lucius Annaeus Seneca

"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind."
—Henry James

PROFITABLE BUSINESS

K = R = P
Kindness = Repeat Business = Profit

K = R = P
Kindness = Employee Retention = Profit

—Tom Peters

"One of the secrets of a long and fruitful life is to forgive everybody of everything every night right before going to bed."
—Bernard Baruch

"The deepest human need is the need to be appreciated."
—William James

"Appreciative words are the most powerful force for good on earth."
—George W. Crane

"The two most powerful things in existence: a kind word and a thoughtful gesture."
—Ken Langone

"One kind word can warm three winter months."—Japanese Proverb

"Employees who don't feel significant rarely make significant contributions."
—Mark Sanborn

"Every child is born an artist. The trick is to remain an artist."—Picasso

 

"My wife and I went to a [kindergarten] parent-teacher conference and were informed that our budding refrigerator artist, Christopher, would be receiving a grade of Unsatisfactory in art. We were shocked. How could any child—let alone our child—receive a poor grade in art at such a young age? His teacher informed us that he had refused to color within the lines, which was a state requirement for demonstrating 'grade-level motor skills.'"
—Jordan Ayan, AHA!

 

"How many artists are there in the room? Would you please raise your hands. FIRST GRADE: En mass the children leapt from their seats, arms waving. Every child was an artist. SECOND GRADE: About half the kids raised their hands, shoulder high, no higher. The hands were still. THIRD GRADE: At best, 10 kids out of 30 would raise a hand, tentatively, self-consciously. By the time I reached SIXTH GRADE, no more than one or two kids raised their hands, and then ever so slightly, betraying a fear of being identified by the group as a 'closet artist.' The point is: Every school I visited was participating in the systematic suppression of creative genius."
—Gordon MacKenzie, Orbiting the Giant Hairball

"The key question isn't 'What fosters creativity?' But it is why in God's name isn't everyone creative? Where was the human potential lost? How was it crippled? I think therefore a good question might be not why do people create? But why do people not create or innovate? We have got to abandon that sense of amazement in the face of creativity, as if it were a miracle if anybody created anything."
—Abe Maslow

"The purpose of professional schools is to educate competent mediocrities."
—Peter Drucker

 

EXUBERANCE: THE PASSION FOR LIFE, BY KAY REDFIELD JAMISON

"The Greeks bequeathed to us one of the most beautiful words in our language—the word enthusiasm'—en theos—a god within. The grandeur of human actions is measured by the inspiration from which they spring. Happy is he who bears a god within, and who obeys it."
—Louis Pasteur

KRJ: "Exuberance is, at its quick, contagious. As it spreads pell-mell through a group, exuberance excites, it delights, and it dispels tension. It alerts the group to change and possibility."

"A leader is someone who creates infectious enthusiasm."
—Ted Turner

KRJ: "'Glorious' was a term [John] Muir would invoke time and again ... despite his conscious attempts to eradicate it from his writing. 'Glorious' and 'joy' and 'exhilaration': no matter how often he scratched out these words once he had written them, they sprang up time and again ..."

KRJ: "To meet Roosevelt, said Churchill, 'with all his buoyant sparkle, his iridescence,' was like 'opening a bottle of champagne.' Churchill, who knew both champagne and human nature, recognized ebullient leadership when he saw it."

"At a time of weakness and mounting despair in the democratic world, Roosevelt stood out by his astonishing appetite for life and by his apparently complete freedom from fear of the future; as a man who welcomed the future eagerly as such, and conveyed the feeling that whatever the times might bring, all would be grist to his mill, nothing would be too formidable or crushing to be subdued. He had unheard of energy and gusto ... and was a spontaneous, optimistic, pleasure-loving ruler with unparalleled capacity for creating confidence."
—Isaiah Berlin on FDR

"Churchill had a very powerful mind, but a romantic and unquantitative one. If he thought about a course of action long enough, if he achieved it alone in his own inner consciousness and desired it passionately, he convinced himself it must be possible. Then, with incomparable invention, eloquence and high spirits, he set out to convince everyone else that it was not only possible, but the only course of action open to man."
—C.P. Snow

"We are all worms. But I do believe that I am a glow-worm."
—Churchill on Churchill

"Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. To convince them, you must yourself believe."
—Winston Churchill

"The multitudes were swept forward till their pace was the same as his."
—Churchill on T.E. Lawrence

"He brought back a real joy to music."—Wynton Marsalis on Louis Armstrong

"If you want to build a ship, don't gather people together to collect wood, and don't assign them tasks and work, but instead teach them to long for the sea."
—Antoine de Saint-Exupery (The Little Prince)

"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

"The object of life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, 'Holy Shit, What a Ride!!!'"
—Mavis Leyrer (feisty octogenarian, living in Seattle)

HTSH/HANDS THAT SHAPE HUMANITY: ENGAGE!

"Commit! Engage! Try! Fail! Get up! Try again! Fail again! Try again! But never, ever stop moving on! Progress for humanity is engendered by those in any station who join and savor the fray by giving one hundred percent of themselves to their modest or immodest dreams! Not by those fearful souls who remain glued to the sidelines, stifled by tradition, awash in cynicism and petrified of losing face or giving offense to the reigning authorities.

"Key words: Commit! Engage! Try! Fail! Persist!"

Source: HTSH/Hands That Shape Humanity, Tom Peters’ contribution of "most important advice"—for display at a Bishop Tutu exhibit in South Africa

"In Tom’s world, it's always better to try a swan dive and deliver a colossal belly flop than to step timidly off the board while holding your nose."Fast Company, review of Re-Imagine!

BE THE BEST/”COMMODITY” IS A STATE OF MIND

"Be the best. It's the only market that's not crowded."

—George Whalin, Retail Superstars: The 25 Best Independent Stores in America

Tom's Credo: "Commodity" is a state of mind—a loser's state of mind. A-n-y-t-h-i-n-g can be significantly (dramatically?) differentiated.

Some time back I met a senior IBM sales exec. She said her breakthrough had come years before when she was a rookie salesperson for Moore Business Forms. Her product was about a third more expensive than that of their primary competitor. "Our bosses told us," she said, "that it was up to us to dig into the client's operations, be helpful, and find a way to merit the price premium." That is, she and her colleagues were effectively told to de-commoditize a rather ordinary product. "The lesson has stayed with me and paid off throughout my career," she concluded.

The local plumber or electrician does not provide a "commodity service" ...

if he/she knows the job
if he/she is learning new tricks all the time
if he/she has a good disposition
if he/she shows up on time
if he/she is neatly dressed
if he/she has s spiffy truck
if he/she fixes the problem in an elegant and timely fashion—and clearly explains
what was done and why it was done this way or that
if he/she cleans up so that after the fact the client could "eat off the jobsite floor"
if he/she volunteers to do a few tiny tasks outside the one at hand—gratis
if he/she calls 24 hours later to make sure all is well
if, perhaps, he/she even goes so far as to create a blog with occasional posts
featuring practical tips for his clientele—a tiny Virginia swimming pool company became a literal "best-in-world" following this social-media strategy

He/she ain't a commodity!!
(I call such personal de-commoditization ... DWPF/Distinction Worth Paying For.)

My mind returned to that hypothetical plumber/electrician a few days ago as I write. I was on my way to pick up plans from a local engineering firm for a septic system repair. I was driving through a moderately populated suburban area about 50 miles south of Boston. I passed a modest-sized quadrangle with shops and offices. The roadside sign included:

• Quilt shop
• Wedding-cake provider
• Swimming pool sales, service, and installation company
• Tailor offering alterations
• Medical billing service
• Solo lawyer
• "Be Fit"/Fitness center
• Etc.

There are thousands upon thousands of such setups around the country—fact is, they employ the majority of us. And another fact is that each and every one has the opportunity to be no less than a local ... Superstar. No, not a jillion-dollar "unicorn," but to be like that hypothetical plumber/electrician cited above. To be special. Very special. To "be the best." To be an "employer of choice," too—not hiring dozens, but with sustained stellar performance and growing reputation, increasing staff size from, say, three, to five or six or nine. And the "jobs added" would be damn good jobs. Probably not high-paying jobs, but moderate+ paying jobs at a "great company"—the three or five or six or nine employees of this little "be the best" outfit would learn a bushel of good habits and pick up precious hard and soft skills that would increase their "employability quotient" and, thus, serve them well in the years, even decades, to come.

Despite at first blush what appear ordinary-sounding services, none of these operations has to be a "commodity." "Special"/"Excellent"/"Wow!" is not an opportunity open to a chosen few! These differentiating attributes are available to anyone with a vivid imagination, a sterling work ethic, a passion for improvement, and a caring attitude.

Oddly enough, after picking up my septic plans, I went on to get a much-needed haircut. I was a bit early, and sat down to wait. As fate would have it, there was a small framed motto on the magazine table next to me: "When you support small business, you support a dream." What a fitting end to my wee local journey.

Dream on!
Excellence or bust!
Be the Best!
Become an employer-of-choice!

(DREAM BIG/BE THE BEST/PROGRAM ONE MILLION [GOOD!] NEW JOBS: ONE MILLION SMALL BUSINESSES [<10 EMPLOYEES] COMMIT IN 2017 TO PROVIDING THEIR CUSTOMERS WITH A LEVEL OF EXCELLENCE AND "WOW" SUCH THAT EACH OF SAID BUSINESSES WILL PROSPER TO THE POINT OF HAVING TO HIRE ONE NEW EMPLOYEE—WHOM IN TURN THEY WILL TRAIN IN EXCELLENCE/"WOW" TO THE EXTENT THAT THE NEW EMPLOYEE'S LIFETIME JOB PROSPECTS ARE EXPONENTIALLY IMPROVED. BOTTOM LINE: F-R-O-M-I-N-D-I-V-I-D-U-A-L-TO-C-O-M-M-U-N-I-N-I-T-Y-T-O-N-A-T-I-O-N-E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E-W-I-N-S- B-I-G-T-I-M-E.)

BASICS

Wee tweetstream last week:

Profit is good stuff. But never forget it's DERIVATIVE. Horse that draws the cart is excellent work/fabulous people/great relationships.

Don't get sucked into "scalable." First you need something fabulous/road-tested to scale.

Don't get sucked in by "unicornism." Odds of becoming a unicorn same as winning the lottery. Just do great work.

Fabulous work. Great relationships. The rest is details.

“Best Slides”/PDF Doc

My monster PP collection—THE WORKS/1966–2016 at excellencenow.com—ends with an Appendix of "Best Slides," about 200 thereof.

Since that appendix is in a way a summary, I decided to convert it to a PDF document. You will find that document below.

It ended up being 49 pages long, encompassing about 13,000 words of text. I have beefed the slides up a bit to offer some "stand alone" coherence to the doc.

All yours ...

THE WORKS: Best Slides PDF

THE WORKS 1966-2015: Overriding Logic

This—circa November 2015—is my best shot. It's "THE WORKS." Some half-century in the making (from 1966, Vietnam, U.S. Navy ensign, combat engineer/Navy Seabees—my first "management" job); but also the product of a massive program of self-directed study in the last 36 months. It includes, in effect, a 250-page book's worth—50,000++ words—of annotation.

The times are nutty—and getting nuttier at an exponential pace. I have taken the current context as fully into account as I am capable of doing. But I have given equal attention to more or less eternal verities that will continue to drive organizational performance and a quest for EXCELLENCE for the next several years—and perhaps beyond.

Enjoy.
Steal. (That's the whole bloody point.)
P-L-E-A-S-E try something, better yet several somethings.* ** *** **** *****

*Make no mistake, this is a 14-chapter ... BOOK. I think and write in PowerPoint; but the flow is emphatically "booklike"—and the annotations are extensive, to say the least; if something needs explaining, well, it's explained. I dearly hope you will join me in this cumulative—half-century—journey.

**My "Life Mantra #1": WTTMSW/Whoever Tries The Most Stuff Wins.

***I am quite taken by N.N. Taleb's term "antifragile" (it's the title of his most recent book). The point is not "resilience" in the face of change; that's reactive. Instead the idea is proactive—literally "getting off" on the madness per se; perhaps I somewhat anticipated this with my 1987 book, Thriving on Chaos.

****Re "new stuff," this presentation has benefited immensely from Social Media—e.g., I have learned a great deal from my 125K+ twitter followers; that is, some fraction of this material is "crowdsourced."

*****I am not interested in providing "good presentations." I am interested in spurring practical action—i.e., pick a few things and try them. Otherwise, why waste your time—or mine?

Contents/"The Works"/1966-2015/EXCELLENCE!

Chapter ONE: Execution/The "All-Important Last 95%"
Chapter TWO: EXCELLENCE (Or Why Bother at All?)
Chapter THREE: 34 BFOs/Blinding Flashes of the Obvious
Chapter FOUR: People (REALLY!) First
Chapter FIVE: Tech Tsunami/Software Is Eating the World++
Chapter SIX: People First/A Moral Imperative Circa 2015
Chapter SEVEN: Giants Stink/Age of SMEs/Be The Best, It's the Only Market That's Not Crowded
Chapter EIGHT: Innovate Or Die/W.T.T.M.S.W./Whoever Tries The Most Stuff Wins++
Chapter NINE: Nine Value-Added Strategies
Chapter TEN: The "PSF"/Professional Service Firm "Model" as Exemplar/"Cure All"
Chapter ELEVEN: You/Me/The "Age of 'BRAND YOU'/'Me Inc.'"
Chapter TWELVE: Women Are Market #1 For Everything/Women Are the Most Effective Leaders
Chapter THIRTEEN: Leadership/46 Scattershot Tactics
Chapter FOURTEEN: Avoid Moderation!/Pursue "Insanely Great"/Just Say "NO!" to Normal

Epigraphs

"Business has to give people enriching, rewarding lives ... or it's simply not worth doing."—Richard Branson

"Your customers will never be any happier than your employees."—John DiJulius

"We have a strategic plan. It's called 'doing things.'"—Herb Kelleher

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

"Ready. Fire. Aim."—Ross Perot

"Execution is strategy."—Fred Malek

"Avoid moderation."—Kevin Roberts

"I'm not comfortable unless I'm uncomfortable."—Jay Chiat

"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it."—John DiJulius on social media

"Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart."—Henry Clay

"You know a design is cool when you want to lick it."—Steve Jobs

"This will be the women's century."—Dilma Rousseff

"Be the best. It's the only market that's not crowded."—George Whalin

Working the Room

The key to engaging an audience is to make a human connection. Tom explains exactly how he does this in a conversation with colleague Shelley Dolley in the latest in our Off the Cuff video series.

You can find the video at YouTube (time: 2 minutes 57 seconds).

Tailoring Speeches

Longtime member of Tom Peters' staff Shelley Dolley posed questions to Tom that she frequently gets asked by other business speakers. Many crave insights into Tom's tricks of the trade. As part of our Off the Cuff series of videos, Tom tells us what the keys to successful speaking are. In this video, he shares with Shelley how he ensures he never gives the same speech twice.

You can find the video at YouTube (time: 2 minutes 33 seconds).

In Defense of PowerPoint
A Book
Not a “Book”

I am about to unleash a book on you.
A book—not a "book."
Said book (not "book") is in PowerPoint.
100%.

My colleagues insist that not everybody is like me.
Not everybody dotes on PowerPoint.
Damn.

I mainly give speeches.
My speeches are based on PowerPoint presentations.
Fact: I "do" PowerPoint.
Fact: I "am" PowerPoint.

My book (not "book") is a long one.
It—almost literally—consists of "everything I've learned" about effective (EXCELLENT!) and ineffective (un-Excellent) organizations in the last 49 years.

It is 1,918 PowerPoint slides long.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
About 40% of those slides are gray-background explanatory text.
That's probably 50,000+ words of text.
Add in the slides and the text may run, say, 80,000 words.
Which translates roughly into 275 pages of "real" book-format text.

I am not a total sadist.
When we release the book—very soon—you will indeed find THE WORKS as I call it—a single 1,918-slide set.
But you will also find 11 separate PowerPoint presentations which are the 11 chapters (not "chapters") of the book.

Of course the main thing is that I hope you read it and discuss it and use it—and steal like crazy from it at will.

For better or for worse, it's the (VERY) best I can do.
And since I "do" PowerPoint, that's the way it will come to you.

Enjoy.
Coming soon to various nooks and crannies, including, obviously, this site: tompeters.com.

(NB: Did you know I wrote my first blogpost 11 years ago next month—August 2004? It was the day after the youthful Illinois Senatorial candidate Barack Obama made his debut at the Democratic Convention in Boston, which resulted in the nomination of John Kerry. My Post #1 was not in any way political. I simply said that I give speeches for a living, and that was one helluva speech!! Like or dislike the President, I sure as heck got the "good speech" part right. Four years after the post, that precocious youngster was headed for the White House. And, to more or less repeat, like him or dislike him, he's in the White House. And you and I aren't.)

Oh yeah, one last thing.
I "do" PowerPoint.
And I also "do" ... EXCELLENCE.
So remember my mantra:

EXCELLENCE is NOT an "aspiration."
EXCELLENCE is NOT a long-term goal.
EXCELLENCE is manifest in the next ... FIVE MINUTES.
Or not.

Training = Investment #1

I have ratcheted the volume WAAAAAAY up re training. I unloaded on the topic last week at Indiana HR in Indianapolis. I have subsequently upgraded a document titled "Training: Investment #1."

All yours ...

[Ed. And, there's an update to Excellence. NO EXCUSES! to reflect the changes to the training piece.]