Friday Rituals/Twitter

In keeping with this week's posts, I thought I'd offer some "Friday suggestions." Herewith:

Have you prepped for your 1st meeting with your team today with the same care you'd put into a presentation to your boss? THIS is MORE important!

Bosses: 1st ten minutes sets the tone for the day. PERIOD.

Bosses/Repeat: MBWA for 1st 15-30 minutes after arrival at the office.

Bosses: MBWA, for the last 15-30 minutes of the day/Friday. Thank a minimum of THREE people for something they did this week.

Bosses: Take someone new and different to lunch today.

Bosses: Re MBWA, saying thanks a couple of times, etc, how about a "daily rituals" list carried in your pocket to remind you of this stuff?

Bosses: How about a promise to yourself not to email/text/etc. any of your team this weekend?

Bosses: Like my old White House boss, set aside a half hour this afternoon to CALL 3-5 "outsider" folks who gave your team a hand this week.

(WH boss) was the busiest guy I ever met, yet he did (his late-in-the-day "Thank you" ritual) EVERY day. And most calls were "down" to someone who'd offered a helping hand.

Lot of (my WH boss's) calls (this was the old days) were to secretaries/PAs of those above him. His secretaries network was his secret weapon.

Bosses: FACT: projects succeed/fail because of cooperation from OTHER functions. Find 2-3 of those "other function" folk to thank today.

Bosses: Remember: Suck DOWN for success! (It's the network "below" you that makes you a hero or a goat.)

[REPEAT: IT'S THAT IMPORTANT] Bosses: Remember: Suck DOWN for success! (It's the network "below" you that makes you a hero or a goat.)

I wrote In Search of Excellence about ONE thing: MBWA. Being in touch, being human, emphasizing "soft" factors, which are in fact true "hard" factors.

So, it's 8:50AM EST, are you doin' your MBWA yet????????

Good Work/Twitter

I admit I've tired of Garrison Keillor, but I do like his tag line; it covers a lot of territory: "Be well. Do good work. Keep in touch."

Garrison Keillor: "Do good work." That is a powerful sentiment. How does today for you stack up on that "metric"?

Good work: Of service to our clients. Of service to our peers. Of service to our community. Committed to personal growth. Pushing the limits.

By definition "do good work" revolves around the phrase "of service."

Good work: Help others grow. Infectious enthusiasm. Always approachable. A ready smile. Keeping promises. Learning. Learning. Learning.

Good work: Most of our conscious life will be at work. Like it or not. Waste your work life and you have wasted your life.

Good work: The quality of the experience of producing the product is as important as the product itself.

Not sure why "do good work" struck me so hard. I guess I realize what a monumental challenge it is to live up to day in and day out.

5 Suggested Top-of-the-Morning Rituals

I launched the day (Tuesday) with a few quick starter-to-dos for bosses. They were vigorously re-tweeted, so I decided to post them here. FYI:


Take someone in another function to lunch. TODAY. DAMN IT.

Thank someone for bringing a SMILE to work today. Do it in the next ... 30 MINUTES.

Boss: Observe yourself closely over the next 60 MINUTES. Did you LISTEN more than you talked?

At the beginning of your next meeting THANK two people for SOMETHING.

THANK YOU for reading these tweets. Have a great day.

Best of the Cool Friends:
Paco Underhill

This first full week of retail's holiday season is a great time to revisit our chat with an expert on the subject of shopping, Paco Underhill. He's the president and founder of Envirosell, a New York consultancy that does research on shoppers' behavior, shopping environments, layout, and merchandising. We interviewed him back in 2001, a year after publication of his first book Why We Buy: the Science of Shopping, which has since been updated for "the Internet, the Global Consumer, and Beyond." His latest is What Women Want, and his company has done the research. If you're aiming at maximizing sales in this holiday season, you might want to take a look at the book (also an audiobook), or this video from the Envirosell website featuring Paco speaking on the forces guiding shoppers worldwide.

Get started reading with Paco Underhill's Cool Friends interview. And ... Happy Holidays!

"Management" and the Affordable Healthcare Act

The implementation of ACA/Obamacare is a fiasco. PERIOD. It is so silly-bad that I've shied away from commenting on it—even though I'm supposed to know a bit about management. Well, I decided to "sorta" break my silence via Twitter. What follows is completely incomplete. It is not a theory or overall statement. It is merely a few thoughts on the topic of implementing the ACA. The original tweet is followed by a brief commentary in brackets [ ].


Because of tangles in legislation/existing regulation, not clear God could have implemented Obamacare. [Could it be impossible to implement? Maybe not a silly question. The law is the start—a unique hyper-complex hodgepodge, even by low legislation standards, in part because of the number of compromises made to get the votes needed for passage. Add to that the existing jungle of regs from hither, thither, AND yon that must be made to dovetail with the new legislation—this ain't no
Social Security or Medicare/Medicaid implementation; those were largely greenfield efforts, this is maxi-muddyfield implementation.]

Obamacare implementation should have been out of OMB, not HHS. ["All" agree that this administration has singularly failed to get excited about management issues—especially reflected by appointments. Nonetheless, taking this out of HHS and putting implementation on the back of the "management" agency would have been a help. Obamacare is NOT an HHS issue—it is a national issue of the highest strategic order.]

Only human being I can think of who could have implemented Obamacare on time: Lou Gerstner. [The former IBM turnaround boss is a management genius, tough as nails, "accountability" is his first/last/middle name, insanely smart, tech-savvy, used to minefields, experienced at managing hundreds of thousands of people, not afraid to speak truth to power, a mechanic who gleefully dives in four levels down as much as a strategic thinker. Among other things.]

Day full-bore implementation of Obamacare should have begun: Morning after bill signing. [The magnitude of the management challenge should have been immediately acknowledged and addressed. Frankly, we're still not there!]

Principal piece of "software" to guide implementation of Obamacare: Paper and pencil. [Of course a jillion lines of code are required, etc., etc., but the discipline of paper and pencil is to keep the top of the project management pyramid understandable.]

No acronyms at any level. [Talk English, not Bureaucratese. 100% of the time.]

Deadlines galore, at a micro- as well as macro-level. [Define/measure or bust.]

Obamacare project mgt should be: "Insane" on topic of rapid partial prototyping. Several demos demoed each week with top boss; repeat at every level of organization. [Keep it real. Keep it bite-size. Can be done, regardless of size/complexity of overall project. The bigger the project, the smaller the demoed bites.]

Implementing Obamacare: Any project's master plan and goals and deadlines can be reduced to two pages. [I fervently believe this.]

Hierarchy rules! [Yes, I'm an avowed fan of far less hierarchy than has been the norm—major reduction thereof is not optional given the speed of marketplace change. Nonetheless, in this project "clarity" and "accountability" are the watchwords. We need to know who's on first. Hence an org chart, no matter how frighteningly complex, is a necessity.]

Prime contractor should perhaps have had less rather than more government experience. Subcontractors should be minimized. [Subs on top of subs decrease implementation likelihood exponentially. I have the sense that the current contractor knows the Beltway too well. Frankly, I would have liked to have seen perhaps IBM as prime contractor.]

Daily Obamacare senior implementation review: No PowerPoint. No paper. Learn to reduce the hyper-complex to simple, Hemmingwayesque sentences.

Deadlines clear as a bell and readily definable/measurable and big consequences for missing them. [Penalty for inflating what's been done: firing after one warning of those involved, and major contractor penalties.]

Implementing Obamacare: Lou Gerstner in charge. Office in West Wing. Weekly report to President modeled after President's morning intel brief.

Project team main office on virgin turf. [Make this business-as-unusual. And keep it physically away from extant bureaucracies.]

The text here is also available in PDF format.

Change/Change Agents

Not sure what triggered it, but went on a Twitter rampage this morning (Thursday, 11/21) on the topic of change.

Herewith, FYI:

Change agentry: Forget the word "enemies." Focus on/obsess on ... ALLIES.

Big change is not about fighting the bad guys. It's about surrounding them with your continuously recruited allies.

Success at change: Building a stable of allies. Failure: Pissing and moaning and picking fights.

Change agent time distribution: 50% recruiting Allies. 40% tending Allies. 10% other. 0% fighting enemies.

Change: Allies do not automatically remain allies. Tend them and do NOT NOT NOT neglect them—the latter is a common sin.

Change the 4F Way: Find a Fellow Freak Faraway. (Change agents need playmates and distant playpens.)

Change you want: It's already happening somewhere. Find it!

Change is about end runs—not smash-mouth plunge down the middle.

Allies: Recruit the quiet ones as much or more than the noisy ones.

Change: Making loud noises is usually a loser's strategy.

Change: Recruit allies 2 or 3 levels "down" ... where the real work is done and from which the system can be indirectly manipulated.

Change: "Suck down" for success.


Change agents: Commit no minor sins. Don't let the bad guys find a narrow opening and bring you down for trivial reasons.

Change agents: Keep a civil tongue at all costs.

Change agents: Speak not ill of thine enemies. Even to pals in private. All the walls have ears.

Change agents: No: Charts and graphs. Instead: Demos. Demos. Then more demos.

Change: Success is more about momentum around small wins than it is about big wins.
Change: Engage your allies in the design process—even if it introduces impurities. They must FEEL true ownership.

100% of change-that-works is NON-linear.

Change: Joyfully let/encourage your allies to take 100% credit for the small wins they're involved in.

Serious change includes bad days, bad weeks, bad months, perhaps bad years.

Change agents: Re-read all emails 3 times before sending.

Social Media is a marvel. Do NOT shortchange face-to-face with Allies.

Change agents: Successful small wins with outsiders provide enormous street cred.

Change agents: Preaching to the choir is just fine. If the members of the choir preach to their choirs it becomes a ... MOVEMENT!

[Ed. Tom has produced a PPT titled "Getting Things Done," which includes the above, updated 20 Oct 2014.]

Tom's Training/Development Obsession

Tom is on a tear, more determined than ever that CEOs (and other bosses at all levels) finally "Put People First"—as their mission statements say, but which is contradicted by their actions. As tech change accelerates, this becomes more important with each passing day.

In his Milan event, Tom passed out one item to the several thousand attendees. Something that he called his "#1 Belief." To wit:

Your principal moral obligation as a leader is to develop the skillset, "soft" and "hard," of every one of the people in your charge (temporary as well as semi-permanent) to the maximum extent of your abilities. The good news: This is also the #1 mid- to long-term ... profit maximization strategy!

Related to the statement-of-principle above, on Sunday he fired off a series of tweets on training. Herewith:

Is your CTO/Chief Training Officer your top paid "C-level" job (other than CEO/COO)? If not, why not?

Are your top trainers paid as much as your top marketers? If not, why not?

Are your training courses all so good they make you giggle? If not, why not?

Randomly stop an employee in the hall: Can she/he describe their development plan for the next 12 months? If not, why not?

Sunday/NFL game day: "Players are our most important asset." "No shit, Sherlock." Football is a competitive BUSINESS. (If them, why not you?)

Study/inhale Matthew Kelly's book The Dream Manager. It's fictional. But it's not. Down to the penny about a real company—I met the CEO.

Check out a Marine E-6 (senior sergeant): Ask him/her about training and development objectives, and intensity of approach thereto ...

You want to understand training in a super high-tech business? Talk to the commanding officer (effectively CTO) of a "boomer"/U.S. Navy nuclear submarine patrolling the sea with nuclear-armed missiles on board.


An Addition to the Master Collection

Tom's newest effort on his master PPT yielded another subset of the whole. Here, now, is the Mini-Master, a selection of 247 slides Tom sees as his core message: Mini-MASTER, 6 November 2013

The new master got an update, too: Master, 1097 slides, 21 November 2013

World Business Forum


Over 25 years ago I met Jose Salibi Neto. He had co-founded with two others the HSM group in Brazil (the "S" is Salibi), and asked me to speak at one of his conferences. (Jose graduated from the University of South Carolina, which he attended, in part, on a tennis scholarship.) From Day 1, Jose and his partners set out to achieve eye-popping Excellence in all their work. And they did. In a few years, HSM started producing events in the likes of Argentina and Mexico and Spain. Then, in a nervy move, they came to the USA. Not just "to the USA," but to Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan . (I took part in a couple of the stunning Manhattan forums—and speaking from the Radio City stage to an audience of several thousand is surely near the start of my highlights tape.) HSM's speaker lineups were stellar, featuring CEOs, heads of state, Nobel laureates, and some hangers-on like myself.

The organization has gone through various transitions, with the quality and imaginative features always off the charts. The events are incredibly well thought out, making them a joy for speakers and attendees alike—ah, those "Little BIG Things." (FYI, the group is now called WOBI, World Of Business Ideas.)

At any rate, here I am in glorious Milano for the World Business Forum. Moreover, I'm surrounded on stage by great pals, old and new. It just doesn't get any better than my longtime colleagues Kevin Roberts and Dan Pink—what a duo. I'll also meet one of my newest heroes, Susan Cain, author of the "gamechanger" (term merited in this instance) book Quiet; and I've also made the acquaintance of Luke Williams, Stern B-School stalwart and champion of disruptive business practices.

All in all, as good as it gets. Oh yes, this wraps up my year of speaking, and as usual I have been supported by a cast of Hall of Famers. The Washington Speakers Bureau and I have been married forever, almost literally. They re-invented their industry and have established an invariant standard of Excellence-squared. So many have helped me there, but I'll single out just one. Speakers are paired up with "ECs," Event Co-coordinators—a WSB invention. Mike Sauer has gone so many extra miles so many times that 1,000 words of praise would only scratch the surface. The "home team" of Shelley Dolley, Charlie Macomber, Nancy Paul, and Cathy Mosca have also gone an uncountable number of extra miles—just when we think we've seen it all, another curve ball shoots plateward.

Thanks to all of you—and thanks to, of course, the real customers, the audiences that have given me an opportunity to bend their ears.

HSM World Business Forum, Milano
HSM World Business Forum Long Version

[Photo above: "Life on the Road"]

MOAP Jr. Circa 2013
(Mother Of All Presentations)

When I prepare for a presentation, I gather material from here and there, old and new, and start to play with it. Over the last 18 months, my thinking, underpinned by a killer reading list in particular, has undergone pretty dramatic changes—and, frankly, I needed to pull together my material (in PPT format) in order to figure out what I am thinking at the moment. (I'm stealing here from the great psychologist Jerome Bruner: "How do I know what I think until I see what I say?") At any rate, about four or five months ago I started pasting up some sort of new-ish "master presentation" which would essentially be my more or less encyclopedia from which I'd cherrypick appropriate material for a given event/seminar. What emerged after 100s (1000s, actually, or 1000s of 1000s) of iterations is hereby offered, all roughly 900+ slides worth, for you to use as you wish or if you wish. Unlike the 4,096-slide PowerPoint monster presentation (we call it "MOAP," the Mother Of All Presentations), this one is not, at least at the moment, annotated. Sorry. In any event, I hope you find our newest hatched egg of some value. Putting it together was certainly a valuable exercise for me—and fun, too. (It's a very very cool time to be thinking about "all this." Boredom is not on my top 10,000 problems list.)

Master, 5 November 2013: 988 Slides


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