The Answer to a Model-led Fiasco Is Different Models. Right. And Your Old Auntie Quarterbacked the Dallas Cowboys.

I love this quote: "The level of experimentation is abysmal. These firms do not take full advantage of feedback opportunities they are presented with." The quote accords with my Principal Assertion about Business, which in fact I've called the only thing I've learned "for sure" in 40 years. Namely: "Whoever tries the most stuff and screws the most stuff up and most rapidly launches the next try wins. Failures are not to be 'tolerated,' they are to be celebrated."

The first quote (which, I repeat, I loved) comes courtesy Freakonomics author Steven Levitt. He's launched a course, with fellow economist John List, at the Chicago B.School to teach the kind of thinking featured in the book and referred to in the quote above. It is, therefore, in effect a course on the scientific method. The "scientific method"? "He who tries the most stuff wins. Failures are not to be tolerated, they are to be celebrated."

If the course, aimed at "the best MBA students in the world" (whoever they are—they were the wizards of Wall Street, now serving as busboys in or out of prison), "works," the world will have a new "model" for doing business. List humbly (reminds me of Larry Summers) says, "We're trying to bring about a revolution in business, so this [the course for "the best MBAs"] is the first shot over the bows (sic)." [NB: The ships I served on had only one bow, as I recall.]

I conclude, personally, from the above:

(1) I contend-reiterate that "tryin' a lot a stuff" is the most important thing an enterprise, or individual, can do in pursuit of success.
(2) I report here that "An Experimental Approach to the Right Answers [whatever that means]," in the Financial Times, 0420, and from which the above was taken, made me want to puke! [Re-reading it to prep for this Post induced another wave of stomach flippin'.]

I'm upstairs in biz class in a KLM 747-400 heading for China as I write. I have fretted for days, weeks, about the direction in which I want my 3-day mini-course to go. Last night, between Midnight and 4 a.m. I "got it"—if history is a teacher, I'll undo it and redo it a couple of more times in the next 36 hours,

My "breakthrough" is a determination to pass along this message repeated in as many ways as I can conjure up:

Excellence = People first, second, third. And fourth. (And fifth and sixth and seventh.)

I'll follow that up with:

Excellence = People first, second, third. And fourth. (And fifth and sixth and seventh.)
Excellence = People first, second, third. And fourth. (And fifth and sixth and seventh.)
Excellence = People first, second, third. And fourth. (And fifth and sixth and seventh.) Excellence = People first, second, third. And fourth. (And fifth and sixth and seventh.)
Excellence = People first, second, third. And fourth. (And fifth and sixth and seventh.)
Excellence = People first, second, third. And fourth. (And fifth and sixth and seventh.)

And then I'll go home to Vermont, where Spring is Springing!

Do business leaders need a ... NEW ANALYTIC FRAMEWORK ... to replace the one Greenspan and Rubin and Summers and pals gave us? Or should they instead pay strict attention to an FT article that appeared the day after the one cited above, titled: "Business Needs to Speak Out Against Greed"?

I quasi-puked after reading the first article—and stood up in my hotel room in Amsterdam, all by my lonesome, and shouted "Bravo" and tossed a tulip at the FT after reading the next day's article.

The last thing business needs is a "new analytic framework" taught only to the "best" MBAs—guys, mostly guys, who'll end up as the next McNamara or Rumsfeld (both members of that dynamic duo score top tenth of the top one percent on "analytic excellence").

What business needs, in my (not particularly) humble opinion is to do more MBWA (Managing By Wandering Around), to really really really "put people first," à la Southwest or Wegmans; to hang out, really really really really hang out with customers à la Cisco boss John Chambers, to learn to listen and apologize, as discussed in yesterday's Post. Etc.

In short:

Business doesn't need a new framework.
Business needs a new attitude.

When I get home I'm going to print new business calling cards—after all these years I've figured out what I do (which is what Bob Waterman and I tried to do 30 years ago in In Search of Excellence). Hence, my new calling card will read:

Tom Peters
The Un-revolutionary

We don't need another "analytic model" to replace the current "analytic model." What we need, and I'm gonna put this on the back of my card:

Excellence = People first, second, third. And fourth. (And fifth and sixth and seventh.)
Excellence = Wander around.
Excellence = People first, second, third. And fourth. (And fifth and sixth and seventh.) Excellence = Wander around.
Excellence = People first, second, third. And fourth. (And fifth and sixth and seventh.)
Excellence = Wander around.

And if there's room left:

Excellence = People first, second, third. And fourth. (And fifth and sixth and seventh.)
Excellence = People first, second, third. And fourth. (And fifth and sixth and seventh.)
Excellence = People first, second, third. And fourth. (And fifth and sixth and seventh.) Excellence = People first, second, third. And fourth. (And fifth and sixth and seventh.)
Excellence = People first, second, third. And fourth. (And fifth and sixth and seventh.)
Excellence = People first, second, third. And fourth. (And fifth and sixth and seventh.)