Success In Five Words.
Success in Nineteen Words.

It wasn't really a sleepless night. But it was "one of those nights" (not that infrequent for me) when some words start rumbling around ... and around and around. I just wanted a list of "stuff" that gets to the essence of human behavior, and thence is directly related to individual effectiveness at pretty much anything. (NB: And, ain't it always the case, "stuff" that business schools either recklessly take for granted or decide is not sophisticated enough to merit their attention.)

So here are "the real basics"—in five words. Achieve Excellence at these five things and the world (of human organizations) will pretty much be your oyster. To wit:

  1. Read.
  2. Write.
  3. Talk.
  4. Listen.
  5. Appreciate.

Once the keyboard was at my command, I ended up (surprise!) extending the list to 19 words. Herewith:

  1. Read.
  2. Write.
  3. Talk.
  4. Listen.
  5. Appreciate.
  6. Walk.
  7. Work.
  8. Sweat.
  9. Sweat.
  10. Enthuse.
  11. People.
  12. Frontline.
  13. Act.
  14. Anger.
  15. Band.
  16. Apologize.
  17. Weird-out.
  18. Network.

Here, also in very few words, is my more or less definition of the 19 words:

  1. Read. (Outstudy 'em.)
  2. Write. (Clear, concise, powerful.)
  3. Talk. (Presentation mastery. Study. Practice-practice-practice. Storytelling, mastery of.)
  4. Listen. (Study. Practice-practice-practice. Understand enormous power thereof.)
  5. Appreciate. (Engaged. Thoughtful. Compassionate. Appreciative always, enormous power thereof.)
  6. Walk. (MBWA/Managing By Wandering Around. In touch. Again, learning, and learning is required, through practice.)
  7. Work. (Work harder than the next person. "Balance"? Uhm ...)
  8. Sweat. (Sweat the details with maniacal passion!)
  9. Sweat. (Sweat the details with maniacal passion!)
  10. Enthuse. (Enthusiasm moves mountains.)
  11. People. (Great and engaged people>>>Great strategy. Best bosses = Best people developers.)
  12. Frontline. (Firstline supervisors, quality of, determine just about everything. Must become an obsession.)
  13. Act. (Most tries wins. Hence "most failures" is a concomitant reality—celebrate 'em.)
  14. Anger. (Raging impatience with dumb stuff. Constantly question the status quo.)
  15. Band. (Small, passionate, relentless bands of people/renegades change the world. Period. Avoid the hierarchy—it tenaciously defends the past in 9.9 cases out of 10.)
  16. Apologize. ("I'm sorry," enormous power thereof. And rare, particularly among men.)
  17. Weird-out. (Multiple, unusual sources of information and feedback.)
  18. Network. (Develop wider-deeper-downward relationships. Think "suck down for success." Think-obsess on R.O.I.R./Return on investment in relationships. Again, women take to this instinctively.)

Over to you ...

Tom Peters posted this on December 15, 2009, in Strategies.
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