I'm a Robert Louis Stevenson kinda guy: "Everyone lives by selling something." I've been a traveling idea salesman for 30 years, since the foreshadowing of the Peters-Waterman "excellence thing" at McKinsey/San Francisco in 1976. That's a lot of miles. But Zig Ziglar would approve: I love the "product." I am compelled to sell. (I'm in Milano on a sales call as I write—at 4 a.m.) A lot of miles ... because I think these ideas matter. They represent a more liberating way to work-live than is the norm. And they are the most likely path-to-profit. To figure out why I'm still on the road, 10 days before my 64th birthday, I made a list, in no particular order, of the "products" in my salesman's bag:
* "Hard is soft. Soft is hard." Social stuff, Emotional stuff = Good stuff.
* Mess = Normal = Reality. Rationality = Delusional. Non-linearity = Life 101. (Design accordingly!)
* Failure = Normal = Good. ("Reward excellent failure. Punish mediocre success." "Fail faster. Succeed sooner." "Fail. Forward. Fast.")
* If "they" agree with you—then you're on the wrong path.
* Do > Think. Act > Talk. Action bias!! EXPERIMENT!! R.F.A./Ready. Fire. Aim.
* Decentralization = Holy writ = More independent tries.
* Implementation-Execution-the "Missing 98%."
* Strategic planning, limits thereto. Severe.
* Pitiful performance of Huge Companies. Need C.D.O./Chief Destruction Officer.
* Severe limits to scale advantage. Mega-mergers = Bad = Stupid.
* "Built to last." Why??? Instead: Built to change the world.
* People first! People Power!
* Best "roster" wins! HR (should) rule!
* WOMEN'S WORLD!!!!!!! (MARKET. WEALTH. LEADERSHIP.)
* Aesthetics! Beauty! Grace! (Design primacy.)
* EXCELLENCE. ALWAYS.
* MBWA!!!!!!! (Managing By Wandering Around.)
* Don't over-complicate. (MBWA, Product, People, Action ...)
* Educate for Risk-taking, Creativity, Independence.
* B.Schools suck. Teach all ... except what's important. D.School = Cool.
* Healthcare's Big Three: Quality. Prevention. Wellness.
* R > C. (Adding Revenue > Cutting cost.) C.R.O./Chief Revenue Officer. Sell! Sell! Sell!
* Free markets work! Free trade works! Rise of India-China = Good thing. Fight back with Excellent Performance: Add "insane" amounts of value! Become a "Lovemark"!!
* Brand You. Self-reliance!! Mastery!! Liberation!!
* Survival = PSF/Professional Service Firm "mindset." Goal #1: Enable clients to become successful beyond their dreams!
* Fun! ("Cool" is Cool.)
* Service-obsessed!/Experience-obsessed! (Object: "Raving fans.")
* Passion-Exuberance-Enthusiasm. "Hot" Language! WOW! Insanely great!
* The "right thing" is the profitable thing.
(La Scala above: What else?!)