The Search Continues
35 Years
ONE Page
8-Point Type


[Photo: Lilies from Susan’s garden]

Okay, say what you will, but I spent about three (full) days on this—which you’ll see below and in a 1-page, 8-point type pdf.

The genesis was my speech in Tel Aviv a couple of weeks ago. I tried to cover “everything I’ve learned in the last 35 years”—in the space of a (very) few minutes. When I got home, I was determined to boil it down to one page. Which was fun—but one hell of a struggle.

Well, though I had to resort to 8-point type, I made it!

All yours!

Tom Peters’ X12/EXCELLENCE2012: The Search Continues!


1. EXCELLENCE. A sterling reason for being. A way of life. A personal choice. (Besides, if not Excellence, what’s the point?)

2. Organizations exist to serve. PERIOD. (Selfless service to others is the moral basis for all enterprise. PERIOD.)


3. “Business has to give people enriching, rewarding lives … or it’s simply not worth doing.” —Richard Branson

4. To put the customer first is to put our people ahead of the customer. (Leaders’ Job #1: “In service” to staff!)

4A. “You have to treat your employees like customers.”—Herb Kelleher, on his “only” success secret

5. Obligation on several levels (including community/country) to maximize efforts to develop our people—one at a time.

6. The demise of jobs as we’ve known them—the accelerating tech tsunami. (Education revolution. NOW. Or doom.)

7. “Productivity through people” in truly small organizations—the ultimate national productivity multiplier.

8. The training imperative. (#1 “C-level”?) (Every employee has superstretch growth plan—managers evaluated thereon.)

9. The “d”iversity (lower case “d”) imperative. (Variety of every sort is effectiveness’ handmaiden.)

10. The teamwork imperative. (Goal: “I’m 100X better!”—top doc on power of Mayo Clinic’s dogmatic “team medicine.”)

11. Taking hiring (VERY) seriously. ALL-important. Rarely an “obsession.” (Becoming a full-fledged “hiring pro.”)

12. First-line manager/leader cadre as (under-appreciated) principal engine of productivity and quality and results.

13. Taking people (VERY) seriously: The Great Craving to Matter. (“Acknowledge” is the most powerful human force …)

14. “Memories That Matter”: Looking back, we recall the people to whom we gave a hand. (Net worth ain’t on the tombstone.)


15. Innovation’s only secret: WTTMSW/Whoever Tries The Most Stuff Wins! (“Ready. FIRE! Aim.”—Perot/”Demo or die.”)

15A. WTTMSW’s identical twin: “Fail. Forward. Fast.”—IDEO chief. (Forget “tolerate” failure. Instead … celebrate failure.)

15B. “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”—Wayne Gretzky (Favorite slide/quote among library of 5,000.)

16. Innovation’s only (other) secret: “Hang-out” axiom. Every “hang out” decision = Innovation (“Yes” or “No”) decision.

16A. The NEW Hang-out axiom: Crowdsourcing … front and center! (Hang out with literally … EVERYONE!)

17. Innovation is everyone’s fulltime game. (100% of individuals. All groups—e.g., every staff function.)

18. Innovation: Little BIG Things. (Become a maniacal experimenter: Incredible multipliers flow from mundane variables.)

19. The innovation final exam for positively everything from product to employee to etc. to etc.: WOW!!

19A. More than one way to skin a cat: 20,000 people (eBay) vs. 30 (Craigslist); madness is afoot—e.g., the “singularity.”


20. Value-added: TGRs/Things Gone RIGHT. Manage! Measure! (These are the markers remembered for a lifetime.)

20A. “Small courtesies.” (K = R= P/Kindness = Repeat business = Profit/”Kindness is free.”) (“Hard is soft. Soft is hard.”)

21. Value-added: DESIGN/Design-is-everything. “Everything is design.”—Farson. (Market cap 2011: Apple > Exxon.)

22. Value-added: Service-package-as-tail-that-wags-dog. (E.g., IBM Global Services re-imagines businesses/re-imagines IBM!)

23. Value-added: XFX/Cross-functional EXCELLENCE. (The core: Unsexy “social accelerators”—e.g., “Let’s do lunch.”)

24. Value-added: Women-as-primary-market-for-everything. $28 trillion/yr worldwide. (Still largely honored in the breach.)

25. Value-added: Oldies-but-richies/ Mostly AWOL opportunity. (USA: Boomer turns 65 every 8 seconds, next 20 years.)

26. Value-added: Mid-sized magic/E.g., German Mittelstand stars. (“Be the best. It’s the only market that’s not crowded.”)

(26A. Value-added? Behold, the pitiful performance of the business behemoths. Entropy inescapable—only patches possible.)


27. Leading: MBWA/Managing By Wandering Around. In-touch-or-bust. (Starbucks’ Schultz visits 25+ shops a week!)

28. Leading: Focus. Successful leaders = ONE (big) thing at a time per Drucker. (You = Your calendar. Calendars never lie!)

29. Leading: LISTENING. Differentiator #1?? (No kidding!!) Make it Core Competence #1??!! (TRAIN it!! REWARD it!!)

30. Leading: Meetings. (Like it or not: “It’s what I do.” So … make each and every one a paragon of Excellence.)

31. Leading: “Getting” you: “To develop others, start with yourself.”—Marshall Goldsmith

32. Leading: Women are today’s most effective leaders! (“The Women’s Century.”/Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.)

33. Leading: Responsiveness/Apology. (“The problem is rarely the problem; the response to the problem is …”)

34. Leading: Enthusiasm! Energy! Exuberance! (“I am a dispenser of enthusiasm.”—Ben Zander)

35. Leading: SERVICE/SERVANT LEADERSHIP. (Leaders serve. PERIOD.) (“Service” is the most beautiful word!)

36. Leading: EXCELLENCE. (Excellence is not an “aspiration.” Excellence is the next five minutes. Or not.)

37. Leading: WOW! (Make Steve Jobs’ mantra your own: Aim for “insanely great”—or don’t bother.)


38. “We have a ‘strategic plan,’ it’s called ‘doing things.'”—Herb Kelleher

39. The competition ain’t the competition: We beat ourselves.* (*Courtesy failure to execute!)

40. Execution is a game of inches—Relentless wins! (“No silver bullet”—Howard Schultz on Starbucks makeover)

41. “Remember to tuck the shower curtain into the bathtub.”—Conrad Hilton claimed it was his “only” success secret.

42. “Execution is strategy.”—Fred Malek/”Execution is the job of the business leader.”—Larry Bossidy.

Tom Peters posted this on July 12, 2012, in Excellence.
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