Last October I wandered across a little item on the topic of "overcoming resistance to change." As happens in life, that phrase turned out to be the innocent trigger for a 9-month exercise which has resulted in the 100K-word, 737-page "collection" presented herewith.
"Resistance to change" conjures up images of "battles" and "conflict" and "winners" and "losers." I get it—and I think it's 100% ass backwards, to put it in blunt terms. The joy—and it is "joy"—of having a new, contrarian idea is seeking out colleagues who share it, jumping into the pond, and starting to splash around. That is, in my view, change agentry is about collecting and nurturing and playing with allies—not "vanquishing" "foes."
Using twitter as my medium-of-choice, I began a vigorous exchange on this topic. And the rest is history. Well, not exactly. The tweetstream/twitter rant on making friends versus defeating foes triggered several like tweetstreams. Which led to this, that, and the other. Some of the thises & thats & others were twitter-inspired, some weren't.
October became Christmas and New Year's, and on 15 January my wife and I headed off to New Zealand for our annual two-month retreat from Vermont winter. (And what a winter we "missed.") I not-so-grandly labeled the oddball collection I'd been cobbling together "Some Stuff." It was a tad over 100 pages in length.
Two weeks into my New Zealand sojourn, on 1 February 2014 at 1 P.M., to be all too exact, I was in a lollapalooza of a head-on-both-cars-totaled car crash. Though no one was badly injured, I was the person at fault—one more Yank driving on the wrong side of the road. My physical problems were non-trivial but not debilitating. But the mental anguish was a whole other story. Only airbags and a fastened backseat seat belt had kept me from grievously injuring—or worse—three innocents.* ** *** (*My Kiwi neighbors were stunningly supportive—treating me like a longtime neighbor, not a pariah; bless them one and all.) (**This paper-book is unstintingly dedicated to John Hetrick, the guy who in 1952 invented the auto airbag; in this single instance, he may well have saved three lives.) (***The last item in this piece is an outright demand that you insist that passengers fasten their back seat seatbelt—the fastened belt saved a passenger from significant harm, perhaps death, in my accident.)
My head ceaselessly played a video loop of the crash—a psychiatrist friend said it was literally the "garden variety" homefront flavor of PTSD.
My mental therapy, the only thing I could do to distract my mind and slow the film loop, was to go back to "Some Stuff." To cut to the chase, the 100 pages grew by mid-May to, yes, 737 pages, the titled morphed from "Some Stuff" to "Excellence. No Excuses."—and the final (for now) product is hereto attached.
The paper-tome-book-encyclopedia is a hodgepodge-by-design. That is, to reprise the subtitle, "74 Ways to Launch Your Journey. Now."
I should offer a word of warning. As I said, "it" all started courtesy my ire at "overcoming resistance to change." The tone was thus set. Virtually all of the 74 items are "rants" of one flavor or another. And a byproduct of that is a busload of: BOLDFACE type and many, even by my standards, BRIGHT-RED-IN-YOUR-FACE-EXCLAMATION-MARKS. (One colleague calls it "one of your PowerPoint presentations—on 8 1/2 X 11 paper." Indeed.)
Bottom line: This is 737 pages of stuff I really give a shit about.
REALLY REALLY REALLY GIVE A SHIT ABOUT.
I'm not wholly insane—I don't expect you to sit down for the weekend and read it cover to cover. But I do hope you will dive in from time to time and cherry-pick an idea to be used "Monday morning." Or some such.
(FYI I: In deference to the intimidating length of the "book," we are also providing most of it in a chapter-length format—also attached hereto.)
(FYI II: This in a way is "Act TWO." On 01 January 2012, we posted "MOAP"—the Mother Of All Presentations—at our then-new website, excellencenow.com. That piece was titled "EXCELLENCE. NOW."—a 23-part, 4096-slide, fully annotated PowerPoint presentation of "everything I've learned." It was three years in the making.)
In Search of Excellence took off in part because, though only a 5K first printing of the book was planned, my coauthor Bob Waterman and I had given away about 5K copies of the massive, 600-page McKinsey presentation booklet on which the Harper & Row hardback version was based. Which is to say, I have been a vigorous advocate of the desirability and power of the "sharing economy" long before the idea recently became popularized. In the "book" attached hereto, item #12, on the sharing economy, begins with an 1868 quote from Louisa May Alcott: "Cast your bread upon the waters & it will come back buttered." Amen!
Well, here are a few loaves of ZERO-priced bread, and along with equally priced "MOAP" I hope you will find some nourishing bits!