Mike and Tom, Mike vs Tom

I spoke to a brilliant colleague who is writing a book about the impact of business ideas, strategy in particular. I will not try to summarize 5 intense hours in a paragraph, but ... well ... I'll try. "There are two kinds of people"—what nonsense! But, hey, let's go with it. The pure "strategy guys" (M. Porter, Exhibit #1) believe in the importance of ... no surprise ... strategy. The "other" crowd (of which I am perhaps the member with the highest name recognition) "believe in" ... PEOPLE & EXECUTION. (In Search of Excellence "Basic" No.1: Action! No.2: Customers! No.3: People! We—the good guys, of course—believe that the strategy, while important, is secondary (very secondary?) to the "infrastructure"—Execution Mania, Customer Love, Passion for People. (Which in turn requires "hands on" leadership vs "intellectual" leadership.") As one prominent soul apparently told my pal, and I paraphrase (thanks to a crappy memory), "Porter couldn't comprehend the people side of the equation if you gave him a century." That is, of course, unfair—I guess.

(Attached is a frivolous pair of slides I concocted a while back contrasting Porter, Peters, Drucker, and Bennis. FYI.)

Tom Peters posted this on July 18, 2006, in Strategies.
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