World Business Forum, Madrid

Tom spoke this morning in Madrid at the World Business Forum, presented by WOBI (formerly HSM). There was a great group of speakers, and Tom was happy to be part of it. If you'd like his slides from the event, you can find them here, and in the green box below:

World Business Forum, WOBI, Madrid
World Business Forum, WOBI, Madrid, Long Version


My "management career" stretches from 1966 ... a staggering 52 years as of 2018. There are 2,500 speeches and 18 books to look back on. But I am big on summaries. And so I decided to try to reduce my latest book, The Excellence Dividend, and in effect those 52 years, to a single page.

Well, for better or for worse, I did it. The single page is titled: THE EIGHTEEN “NUMBER ONES.” That is, 18 things of surpassing importance to invest in or do. Also, eighteen ideas that have stood the test of time. They are more or less timeless, but they also (see the book) are a winning formula in the Age of Ubiquitous AI.

Consider my "BIG THREE":

*Investment #1: TRAINING

The one-pager comes in two formats—standard text and (hey, it's me) PowerPoint. The type face on the single PP slide was wee, so I cheated, and you also get the 5-slide version.

At any rate, all yours ...

The Eighteen Number Ones - PDF
The Eighteen Number Ones - PPT

The Excellence Dividend Book List

Our thanks to a reader who took it on himself to collect the long list of books mentioned by Tom in The Excellence Dividend and send it to us! Throughout his book, Tom quotes from books he's read, makes recommendations of books for you to read, and lists books as sources on his favorite topics. He has read most of the books he mentions, though certainly not every one! Here's the list, which we put into alpha order by chapter with complete titles, subtitles, and authors' names. We hope you can use it as a resource and maybe compile your own reading list from among its many titles.

The Excellence Dividend Book List

Google Surprise

"Hard (plans, numbers, org charts) is soft. Soft (people, relationships, culture) is hard." Those two sentences-ideas have been the core of my work for decades.

So how about this, from a 12/20/17 Washington Post article:

"Project Oxygen [data from 1998-2013] shocked everyone [at Google] by concluding that among the eight most important qualities of Google's top employees, STEM expertise comes in dead last. The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills—being a good coach, communicating and listening well, having empathy toward and being supportive of one's colleagues ..."

The paper attached here—"Hard is Soft. Soft is Hard. Google Gets a (Big) (Soft) Surprise"—starts with the Google case and moves into other arenas to discuss "Hard is soft. Soft is hard." It is very short and intended to be a thought starter. It's also, frankly, an excuse to get the Google finding in front of more people: If the Google tale doesn't make you stop in your tracks, I honestly don't know what would!!!!!!!!!! (The excerpt included from Rich Karlgaard's book The Soft Edge is also a "showstopper"—giving conventional wisdom a well deserved good, swift, kick in the butt.)

Over to you ...

Google Surprise Plus

14 Number Ones

First there were 3 Number Ones. (Investment #1: Training. Asset #1: Full complement of 1st-line managers. Core Value #1: Aggressive/Fierce Listening.) Then there were 9 Number Ones. Then 11 Number Ones. And now, and in conclusion, 14 Number Ones.

Arrogant as it is to admit it, I am rather pleased with this list. It is the succinct best of and heart of The Excellence Dividend. Hey, we might make a poster out of it. Or you might.

At any rate, here it is ...


The Excellence Dividend Postscripts

I had a busy weekend.

I did a new one-pager: "The Excellence Dividend: The ELEVEN 'NUMBER ONES.'" E.g., "Investment #1," "Asset #1," etc.
I added an observation to last week's paper; it's now "The Excellence Dividend: NINE OBSERVATIONS."
And I updated "The Speed Trap: When Taking Your Time (Really) Matters."

All yours ...

The Speed Trap

The Excellence Dividend
Eight Observations

The short paper attached is just what it says: eight observations about various critical topics in The Excellence Dividend.

All yours! It's here to inspire or circulate or appropriate as you wish.

[Ed. NOTE: EIGHT OBSERVATIONS, updated 08.10.18.]

The Speed Trap: When Taking Your Time (Really) Matters

I'm not sure I've ever said this before, but here goes. You will find here at a new paper I wrote. Fact is, and this is what I've never said, I think the paper is important. In fact, very important.

The bottom line re "Speed Trap" is that I think in this age of "speed, speed, more speed," it is in fact the case that the most important things associated with enterprise effectiveness and, yes, excellence take time. In fact, lots of time.

My summary of my last 37 years' work can be stated in six words:

Hard is soft.
Soft is Hard.

To wit:

"Hard" (the plans, the numbers, the org charts) is "soft." Plans are more often than not fantasies, numbers are readily manipulated—case in point, super-"quants," ratings-agency geniuses, and others of their ilk cleverly packaged and gave high safety scores to "derivatives" (and derivatives of derivatives and ...) consisting of valueless mortgages—thus spurring the multi-trillion-dollar financial crash of 2007–2008++. And org charts: in practice, they have little to do with how things actually get done.

"Soft" (people, relationships, organizational culture) is "hard." You get things done, for example, on the basis of your patiently developed network of relationships. You embed a captivating and effective culture by living and reinforcing "the way we do things around here" day after day after day, in fact hour after hour after hour&mdsh;forever. And the focus on people? Here's the thing, an organization is nothing more and nothing less than "people (our folks) serving people (our customers and communities)." And for the leader, who is fulltime in the people business, it's all about people (leaders) serving people (our folks) serving people (customers and communities).

The heart of the paper is an examination of 17 important things that ... TAKE TIME:

*LUNCH ... takes time.
*READING/STUDYING ... takes time.
*WAITING (per se) ... takes time.
*SLACK IN YOUR SCHEDULE ... takes time.
*GAMECHANGING DESIGN ... takes time.
*YOUR NEXT EMAIL ... takes time.
*"THE LAST 1%" OF ANY TASK OR PROJECT ... takes time.
*E-X-C-E-L-L-E-N-C-E ... takes time.

At the end of the day (and the list), you can say with certainty: ALL OF THE SO-CALLED "SOFT STUFF" THAT IS THE REAL "HARD STUFF") ... takes time.

So here's the deal: I am desperate for you to read this paper, nod your head vigorously, take action ... AND SHARE THE PAPER WITH AS MANY PEOPLE AS YOU CAN!!!!!!!

I'll do what I can, but I'm counting on you!!

[Ed. NOTE: The paper is updated as of 08.11.18.]

Financial Times Summer Book List

Tom's happy to have The Excellence Dividend included in a very short list—three titles—of books recommended by the Financial Times for summer. If you have a subscription, you can read their review here: "FT Business Books of the Month."

It's also possible to sign up for a month's trial subscription to FT for $1.00. And on Twitter, via the FT tweetstream, you can get a hint to their review and see the other two book titles, here. Thanks to the Financial Times for their recommendation of Tom's latest book!

Ted Kinni Review

The Excellence Dividend was praised in a review by Ted Kinni, contributing editor at strategy+business and the MIT Sloan Management Review. Kinni had taken lots of notes while reading the book, and he described it as a "boldbardment of ideas, facts, figures, memes, and manifestos." He went on to quote Tom's best points, bold capitalization and all!

Tom is honored by the rave review from Ted Kinni, a prolific business writer himself. Ted is enrolled at Medium, where you can find links to his many contributions to the discussion of excellence in business. He's also on Twitter @tedkinni.

Read Kinni's review of The Excellence Dividend on The Enthusiasms of Tom Peters.


Puzzled at work? Discover ways to put Tom’s ideas into Action.