Topics Of Current Interest

In the week between Christmas and New Year’s a series of topics made their way into my tweetstream:

New Year’s Week

This week you get a twofer. An ending and a beginning. Beginnings and endings are all important. Act accordingly.

Good or not so good results, most folks have done their bit to contribute. Show your appreciation this week.

Pope Francis has made an enormous impact on enormous institution with his way of being. Apply to your wee corner of the world this week.

Bad year? It happens. Be a paragon of grace and thoughtfulness.

Good year or not so good year, end it on a high with an un-showy show of energy and enthusiasm and appreciation and joie de vivre.

As the year closes, emphasize that we are a team moving forward. Use the word “we” per se until you’re blue in the face.

Leadership 2014: “The Year of the Ear.” [Listening rules!]

May each and every one of those you are privileged to lead have a 2014 marked by accomplishment and growth.

Make 2014 the year of committed servant leadership.

Thought for 2014 for those not in formal leadership slots: Every day, on or off the job, offers up a plethora of leadership opportunities! Go for it!


Remember (per me): Excellence is not an “aspiration.” It’s the next five minutes. Or not.

John Miller: You are only 5 minutes max away from Excellence.

Excellence is not a “culture.” It is your next email or IM or 30-second chance meeting in the hall.

If you are a big cheese, excellence that translates into $$$ is about your elevator ride to the top floor.

If ever there were a day for Excellence via MBWA, it’s tomorrow.

Remember, excellence is the work that gets done on the real or metaphorical “lower floors.” Camp out there this week.

MORE Excellence

Personal impact:

Out work ’em.
Out read ’em.
Out last ’em.
Show up.

Vala Afshar: The Foundation of excellence is:

Extreme politeness

Vala Afshar (or TP?): Excellence is:

Learning people’s names
Holding doors open
Greeting people with a smile
Being on time
Being prepared
Front-line Leader Primacy/Training/People First

FIRST place to look re performance deficiencies is excellence (or not) of full cadre of 1st-line leaders.

“Why do companies fail to let underperformers go?”
TP: First priority: Get rid of/reassign least effective 25% of 1st-line leaders, watch what happens.

TP: Often as not, many/most of organizations declared “underperformers” are poorly trained and have truly shitty 1st-line bosses.

TP: First priority: Get rid of/reassign least effective 25% of 1st-line leaders, watch what happens.

Tim Walker: The disparity in skill for those 1st-line leaders is immense, shocking.

New Year’s Resolution #1: By end of 2014 we will have made phenomenal progress in improving the quality of our full cadre of 1st-line leaders.

New Year’s Resolution #2: By year end 2014, neutral outside evaluators will agree we’ve moved 10 Big Steps down path to Training Excellence.

New Year’s Resolution 2A: We will aggressively invest in training excellence. It will by and large take precedence over CAPEX.

Admiral Chester Nimitz on what the U.S. Navy needed more of, early in the Pacific War [World War II]: Training, TRAINING, MORE TRAINING. [punctuation Nimitz’s]

“Tom, what really bugs you these days?”
TP: The “forever problem”: Making “putting people 1st” more than lip service. (Maximize mid-/long-term profit via maximizing people development. Q.E.D.)

Vala Afshar: “In a connected economy, an employee investment is also a company brand investment.”

TP: As never before! Carve that one into stone!

“Suck DOWN For Success”

“Little” people can get big things done in big places if you master the network; make “low level” pals in key places.

Remember, excellence is the work that gets done on the real or metaphorical “lower floors.” Camp out there this week.

My motto: Suck DOWN for success!!!!!

Criticism, [Severe] Limits Thereto

Remember: Criticism poorly given rarely leads to correction. It leads to evasion—avoiding the task in the future.

Joel Heffner: Coaching is like walking on eggs; any dope can criticize.

Try Ed Schein’s book Helping: How to Offer, Give, and Receive Help. Helping is far more delicate than neurosurgery.

Vala Afshar: Most people will do better work and put greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.

Wendy Maynard: Positivity goes a long way, as does asking people what they think went well.

Wendy Maynard: There’s just been too much emphasis in management about “constructive criticism”; it can easily be abused.

Rich McDonald: Why many bosses stink—they watch too many military movies and forget that in-your-face degrading remarks never work for anyone.

Wendy Maynard: Most people were criticized unfairly as kids. As managers, they simply repeat the bad patterns.

Overdoing “Strategy”/Dealing With Strategic Disruption As An Individual

“Amateurs talk about strategy. Professionals talk about logistics.”—General Omar Bradley

Great 12/28/13 FT book review: Britain Against Napoleon: The Organization of Victory. Chalk up the win as due to superior management/logistics.

Former McKinsey MD to team, on over-emphasizing strategy: “Don’t forget the implementation part, boys. It’s that all-important ‘last 99%.'”

Jack Welch on “strategy”: “Pick a general direction and then implement like hell.”

TP: Could we call it WTFWUT* rather than “strategy”? [*WhatThe F*** We’re Up To] Strategy is too grand a word for me.

Glen Taylor: Like sports—your competitors already know your strategy Success = execution; focus on that to win.

Clay Christensen [and his obsession with disruption] be damned; message for you and me: FIRST, get so frigging good at something that you have reason to worry about being disrupted.

If you spend your life worrying about disruption, you won’t have time to get good enough at anything to be disrupted.

Tom Peters posted this on December 31, 2013, in Excellence.
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