Category: Excellence

The Excellence Dividend: Fundamentals 2018+

It's not that I'm trying to produce an orderly summary of my book The Excellence Dividend. What I am trying to do is present its substance to you—for your use!—in as many ways as I can think of. One way is the six presentations/papers attached to this Blog.

Here goes ...

#1 THE FIRST IS THE "BIG ONE"!!

I have been working on it pretty much non-stop for the last two months (or, you might say, the last 50 years). PowerPoint is my presentation-vehicle-of-choice. My PPT included here ("Fundamentals 2018") encompasses all the principal topics in the book, The Excellence Dividend, and then some—and runs to 819 slides. Of the 819, some 298 are annotations/commentaries; I'd guess they amount to about 20,000+ words. Which is in turn to say that "Fundamentals 2018" is a standalone document.

I obviously hope you like it—and to prove that you like it I hope you steal me blind. THAT IS THE POINT OF THIS EXERCISE!

(REPEAT: THIS IS THE BEST I CAN DO. EVERY OUNCE OF ENERGY WAS EXPENDED PUTTING THIS TOGETHER. ENJOY!!!! AND USE!!!!!!!!!)

#2 The second attached piece is called "The Excellence Dividend: The Eighteen 'Number Ones.'" [Ed.: Also in PowerPoint] THE OBJECT HERE IS TO GET EVERYTHING I'VE BEEN WORKING ON FOR THE LAST 50 YEARS ON ONE PAGE. Herewith the summary-of-the-summary:

THE EIGHTEEN "NUMBER ONES"

*Investment #1: TRAINING
*Asset #1: PORTFOLIO OF FIRST-LINE MANAGERS
*Core Value #1: LISTENING EXCELLENCE!!!
*Obsession #1: EXECUTION/"THE LAST 95%"
*Job #1: ESTABLISHING/MAINTAINING "60/60/24/7/365" A CULTURE OF EXCELLENCE-BY-PUTTING-PEOPLE-REALLY-FIRST
*Calling #1: LEADING IS A HUMAN-POTENTIAL-MAXIMIZATION ACTIVITY—THERE IS NO HIGHER CALLING.
*Value-Added Strategy #1: DESIGN EXCELLENCE/RADICAL HUMANIZATION
*Success Credo #1: "ARE YOU GOING TO COST CUT YOUR WAY TO PROSPERITY? OR ARE YOU GOING TO SPEND YOUR WAY TO PROSPERITY?" "OVER-INVEST IN OUR PEOPLE, OVER-INVEST IN OUR FACILITIES." "COST CUTTING IS A DEATH SPIRAL. OUR WHOLE STORY IS GROWING REVENUE."
*Organization Effectiveness/$$$$ Payoff #1: WOMEN BUY EVERYTHING (Consumer/ Commercial)/WOMEN HAVE ALL THE MONEY/WOMEN ARE BETTER LEADERS
*Missed Opportunity #1: OLDIES/RICH, MEGA-NUMEROUS, IGNORED—PLENTY OF TIME LEFT
*Economic Cornerstone #1: SMEs RULE (create all the jobs, are responsible for the lion's share of innovation)/Motto: "BE THE BEST, IT'S THE ONLY MARKET THAT'S NOT CROWDED"
*Innovation Strategy #1: WTTMSW/WHOEVER TRIES THE MOST STUFF WINS/Extended: WTTMS(ASTMSUTF)W/WHOEVER TRIES THE MOST STUFF (AND SCREWS THE MOST STUFF UP THE FASTEST) WINS
*Personal Habit #1: READ. READ. READ. READ. READ.
*Time Management Must #1: SLOW DOWN
*Making Things Happen Dictate #1: LUNCH!!!
*Daily Activity #1: MBWA/MANAGING BY WANDERING AROUND
*Commandment #1: EXCELLENCE IS THE NEXT FIVE MINUTES.
*Axiom #1: HARD (NUMBERS, PLANS, ORG CHARTS) IS SOFT. SOFT (RELATIONSHIPS, CULTURE, LISTENING, EXCELLENCE) IS HARD.

#3 There are significant similarities between this list and the prior list. Nonetheless, herewith, "THE EXCELLENCE DIVIDEND/"THE 25 RULES"

(1) The "all-important last 95 percent": EXECUTION!!!!! ("Execution is the job of the business leader."/"Amateurs talk about strategy. Professionals talk about logistics.")
(2) Giants (inevitably) implode. SMEs MATTER MOST. SMEs = #1 job creators! SMEs = #1 innovators! SME winners: "Be the BEST. It's the ONLY market that's NOT crowded."
(3) People (REALLY) First: Branson/"Business has to give people enriching, rewarding lives or it's not worth doing." ("Your customers will never be happier than your employees.")
(4) Herb Kelleher on Hiring/THE RIGHT STUFF: "We look for listening, caring, smiling, saying 'Thank you,' being warm." (Pharmaceuticals CEO: "We only hire nice people.")
(5) TRAINING = INVESTMENT #1 (Most bosses see training as an expense: STUPID!)
(6) Full cadre of 1st-Line bosses = ASSET #1. ("The sergeants run the Army!")
(7) WOMEN ARE THE BEST LEADERS!! ("Research [McKinsey] suggests that to succeed, start by promoting women." McKinsey: Balanced gender Boards: +56% operating profits.)
(8) Innovation = NUMBERS game/WTTMSW/Whoever Tries The Most Stuff Wins.
(9) FAILURE: "CELEBRATE"/Bezos. "Reward excellent failures. Punish mediocre successes." (WTTMSASTMSUTFW/Whoever Tries The Most Stuff And Screws The Most Stuff Up The Fastest Wins.)
(10) DIVERSITY (on any and every dimension!!) = 2018 Strategic Innovation Imperative!! (ESPECIALLY AT THE BOARD LEVEL—where it is typically [very] AWOL.)

THE (wildly successful) COMMERCE BANK/METRO BANK MANTRA

"Are you going to cost cut your way to prosperity? Or are you going to spend your way to prosperity?" "Over-invest in our people, over-invest in our facilities." "Cost cutting is a death spiral. Our whole story is growing revenue."

(11) Tech tsunami/MORAL Imperative #1: DEVELOP PEOPLE (ENABLE RADICAL PROFESSIONAL/PERSONAL GROWTH = Requirement. Lack thereof = Firing offense!)
(12) DESIGN: Value-added Attribute #1. Applies to one and all. Beyond beautiful/ functional: CREATES POWERFUL/LASTING EMOTIONAL CONNECTION.)
(13) It helps to be helpful—KEEP ADDING SERVICES!! (UPS becomes United Problem Solvers [service mark]. Package tossing to comprehensive client logistics-systems oversight.)
(14) Focus on "TGRs"/Things Gone RIGHT. LITTLE>>BIG. LITTLE TOUCHES LINGER IN THE MIND/HEART/MOST IMPORTANT DIFFERENTIATORS!!! ("Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart."/Henry Clay)
(15) EXTREME HUMANIZATION/RADICAL HUMANIZATION: The best way to avoid the grip of encroaching AI is to humanize!
(16) Go after the two GIANT and WILDLY UNDERSERVED markets: WOMEN/Women buy EVERYTHING. OLDIES. Oldies have ALL the money /NET WORTH 65+ 47X<35.
(17) SOCIAL BUSINESS = EVERYONE'S BUSINESS. (A wildly successful financial services CEO: "I'd rather trade tweets with one customer than buy a Super Bowl ad.")
(18) Ed Schein's Golden Rule: CULTURE EATS STRATEGY FOR BREAKFAST. (Culture Development & Maintenance is CEO Job #1. [60/60/24/7/365.])
(19) Tom's Golden Rule I: MBWA/Managing By Wandering Around. EVERYDAMNDAY.
(20) Tom's Golden Rule II/Circa/EVERYTHING ALWAYS DEPENDS ON THE QUALITY OF RELATIONSHIPS! Relationship development/nurturing takes time!!! ("HARD—NUMBERS, PLANS—IS SOFT. SOFT—RELATIONSHIPS, CULTURE—IS HARD.")
(21) Dov Frohman's Golden Rule: Leaders/50% UNSCHEDULED TIME.
(22) Doug Conant's Golden Rule: 10 years/30,000 handwritten "THANK YOU" notes. And you?
(23) ACKNOWLEDGEMENT! "The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated."/William James. Leader/Four most important words: "WHAT DO YOU THINK?"
(24) L-I-S-T-E-N-I-N-G ("Fierce listening"/"Aggressive listening") AS CORE VALUE #1. (Dean Rusk/"The best way to persuade someone is with your ears.")
(25) EXCELLENCE is not an "aspiration" or a "hill to climb." EXCELLENCE IS THE NEXT 5 MINUTES. (Or nothing at all.) (E.g. EXCELLENCE is the next email—believe it!)

#4 This essay is titled "The Speed Trap: When Taking Your Time (Really) Matters." The point is that the standard 2018 mantra—fast, faster, faster still—is largely stuff and nonsense. Yes, an unprecedented sense of urgency is required—but the bedrock of an organization that works and shines and sustains, yes, in 2018, is the likes of an effective culture—and there are no shortcuts to establishing and maintaining such a culture.

In summary: Here is a partial list of strategic activities—that underpin both personal and organizational success—which cannot be accomplished in a flash:

*BUILDING/MAINTAINING RELATIONSHIPS ... take time.
*RECRUITING ALLIES TO YOUR CAUSE ... takes time.
*LUNCH ... takes time.
*BUILDING/MAINTAINING A HIGH-PERFORMANCE CULTURE ... takes time.
*READING/STUDYING ... take time.
*WAITING (per se) ... takes time.
*FIERCE/AGGRESSIVE LISTENING ... takes (lots of!) time.
*PRACTICE & PREP FOR ANYTHING & EVERYTHING ... takes time.
*MBWA/MANAGING BY WANDERING AROUND ... takes time.
*SLACK IN YOUR SCHEDULE ... takes time.
*HIRING/EVALUATING/PROMOTING ... take time.
*THOUGHTFULNESS/INSTINCTIVE SMALL GESTURES (SMALL>>BIG) ... take time.
*EXTREME HUMANIZATION/RADICAL HUMANIZATION ... takes time.
*GAMECHANGING DESIGN (Steve Jobs spending "hours and hours discussing
corners") ... 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.

#5 This paper, titled "The Excellence Dividend: 28 Short Takes," was put together for social media posts when the book appeared in April 2018. Herewith a sample:

(1) Ask a general. Or an Admiral. Or a football coach. Or a police chief or symphony conductor. TRAINING IS INVESTMENT #1. Alas, the average business boss sees training as an expense rather than an investment. DUMB. ("Train 'em and they'll leave." DUMBER.)

(2) Navy captain Mike Abrashoff called it ... "AGGRESSIVE" LISTENING. A leading business coach called it "FIERCE" LISTENING. I insist that Listening Excellence should be an enterprise's Core Value #1. (And listening TRAINING requisite for one and all.)

(3) Sergeants run the Army. Chiefs run the Navy. FRONT-LINE LEADERS TAKEN AS A WHOLE ARE AN ORGANIZATION'S ASSET #1. They are the culture carriers—or not. They are the chief determinants of productivity, retention, quality, and customer service. (Act accordingly.)

(4) I call it "WTTMSW": Whoever Tries The Most Stuff Wins. WTTMSW is Key #1 to INNOVATION success. The longer version: WTTMS(ASTMSUTF)W. Got it? Whoever Tries The Most Stuff (And Screws The Most Stuff Up The Fastest) Wins. An ironclad guarantee goes with this idea!

(5) It's first on my leadership success traits list: MBWA. Managing By Wandering Around. Starbucks chief Howard Schultz visits 25 shops ... EACH WEEK. Being in touch with the work and the workers where the work is done is a must—and, alas, often goes by the wayside on busy day after busy day. My command: DOYOURMBWAEVERYDAMNDAY.

Etc. ...

#6 The Excellence Dividend: Nine Observations

Herewith/truncated:

(1) In Search of Excellence in Six Words:

My first book, In Search of Excellence, can be summarized in six words:
Hard is soft. Soft is hard.

My next fifteen books can be summarized in six words:
Hard is soft. Soft is hard.

My eighteenth book, just out, The Excellence Dividend, can be summarized in six words:
Hard is soft. Soft is hard.

The translation is simple, though the execution is apparently not so simple, or perhaps more people would have bought in:

"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, organization culture) is "hard." You get things done, for example, on the basis of your patiently developed network of relationships. You imbed 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—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 full time in the people business, it's all about "people (leaders) serving people (our folks) serving people (customers and communities)."

(2) SOFT IS HARD: GOOGLE GETS A (B-I-G) SURPRISE+

I can honestly say that this staggered me. It is, of course, what I have been saying/screaming for a long long (long) time. But to see it with the authority of a Google "Big Data" analysis behind it is, yes, staggering. To wit:

"Project Oxygen [data from founding in 1998 to 2013] shocked everyone by concluding that, among the eight most important qualities of Google's top employees, STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics] 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; possessing insights into others (including others' different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one's colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas. Those traits sound more like what one gains as an English or theater major than as a programmer. ..."

"Project Aristotle [2017] further supports the importance of soft skills even in high-tech environments. Project Aristotle analyzes data on inventive and productive teams. Google takes pride in its A-teams, assembled with top scientists, each with the most specialized knowledge and able to throw down one cutting-edge idea after another. Its data analysis revealed, however, that the company's most important and productive ideas come from B-teams comprised of employees that don't always have to be the smartest people in the room. Project Aristotle shows that that the best teams at Google exhibit a range of soft skills: equality, generosity, curiosity toward the ideas of your teammates, empathy and emotional intelligence. And topping the list: emotional safety. No bullying. ..."

(3) WHAT REALLY MATTERS:THE WISDOM OF THREE MASTERS

"Business has to give people enriching, rewarding lives ... or it's simply not worth doing."—Richard Branson (In 2016, I produced a 17-chapter, heavily annotated 4,096-slide compendium I called THE WORKS: 1966-2016. This Bransonism earned pride of place, #1 among those 4,096.)

"Business was originated to produce happiness, not pile up millions."—B.C. Forbes, September 1917, first issue of Forbes

"I worry that business leaders are more interested in material gain than they are in having the patience to build up a strong organization, and a strong organization starts with caring for their people."—John Wooden

(4) EXCELLENCE = SHORT-TERMISM!

EXCELLENCE is not

    a "long-term" "aspiration."

EXCELLENCE is the ultimate short-term strategy.
EXCELLENCE is ... THE NEXT 5 MINUTES.*
(*Or NOT.)

EXCELLENCE is your next conversation.
Or not.
EXCELLENCE is your next meeting.
Or not.
EXCELLENCE is shutting up and listening—really listening.
Or not.
EXCELLENCE is your next customer contact.
Or not.
EXCELLENCE is saying "Thank you" for something "small."
Or not.

EXCELLENCE is the next time you shoulder responsibility and apologize.
Or not.
EXCELLENCE is pulling out all the stops at warp speed to respond a screw-up.
Or not.
EXCELLENCE is the flowers you brought to work today.
Or not.
EXCELLENCE is lending a hand to an "outsider" who's fallen behind schedule.
Or not.
EXCELLENCE is bothering to learn the way folks in finance (or IS or HR) think.
Or not.
EXCELLENCE is waaay "over"-preparing for a 3-minute presentation.
Or not.
EXCELLENCE is turning "insignificant" tasks into models of … EXCELLENCE.
Or not.

Excellence is conventionally—in fact, almost without fail—seen as a long-term aspiration. I disagree. Vehemently disagree. Excellence is not a destination at which you arrive on a glorious sunny day after years of brutally hard work. .

Excellence is a way of life that sustains us and inspires us day in and day out. There is no "long term." There is only the way we act when we step out into the corridor after a meeting—or, yes, the quality of your next 4-line email.

(5) THE EXCELLENCE DIVIDEND: TWITTERIZED

The Excellence Dividend <280 characters: Best way to deal with the tech onslaught is tech as support tool (rather than supplant tool), Extreme Humanization of products/services, fanaticism about every employee's growth (& your own), and no less than Excellence, ever, especially in "small" acts ("the next five minutes).

(6) The Excellence Dividend: THE EIGHTEEN "NUMBER ONES" *Investment #1: TRAINING *Asset #1: PORTFOLIO OF FIRST-LINE MANAGERS *Core Value #1: LISTENING EXCELLENCE!!! *Obsession #1: EXECUTION/"THE LAST 95%" And, see #2 above, 14 more ...

(7) THE "SOFT STUFF: SMALL>>BIG

"Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart."—Henry Clay (epigraph to my 2010 book, The Little Big Things)

"Let's not forget that small emotions are the great captains of our lives."—Vincent Van Gogh

"Personal relationships are the fertile soil from which all advancement, all success, all achievement in real life grow."—Ben Stein

(8) Beyond AI: A Winning Strategy: Extreme Humanization/Radical Humanization

Epigraph/The Excellence Dividend

EXCELLENCE: THE TRIUMPH OF HUMANITY*

"Janet Dugan, a healthcare architect, took inspiration from her recent experience having an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Image) scan. While she was lying still and waiting, she noticed a small mirror that had been placed below the head support piece. It was angled so that she could see through the barrel to the radiology technician and make eye contact with him. 'What a small thing,' she told me. 'And yet what a difference it made. I felt less alone. I was connected to another person at the very moment I needed support. And even though I'm not claustrophobic, it calmed me some to be able to see out of the barrel ... I [saw] that the technician was friendly and that the nurse went out of her way to make me laugh. ... I firmly believe in the power of design to contribute to the healing process—that architecture can shape events and transform lives. But that day, in that experience, the thing that really gave me comfort was a tiny mirror about as big as a Band-Aid.'"—Tim Leberecht, The Business Romantic: Give Everything, Quantify Nothing, and Create Something Greater Than Yourself

(*I now—post publication of The Excellence Dividend—call the likes of the tiny mirror Extreme Humanization/Radical Humanization. I dearly wish those terms had come to mind a year ago! [I'm hunting for a way to use my two domain names: ExtremeHumanization.com, Radical Humanization.com. ) (Hypothesis: It will be a long time before AI can imagine the power of a tiny mirror! [I think?? And you??])

(9) THE EXCELLENCE DIVIDEND/ONE PAGE/THE 25 RULES

Recall:

#1 The "all-important last 95 percent": EXECUTION!!!!! ("Execution is the job of the business leader."/"Amateurs talk about strategy. Professionals talk about logistics.")
#2 Giants (inevitably) implode. SMEs MATTER MOST. SMEs = #1 job creators! SMEs = #1 innovators! SME winners: "Be the BEST. It's the ONLY market that's NOT crowded."
#3 People (REALLY) First: Branson/"Business has to give people enriching, rewarding lives or it's not worth doing."("Your customers will never be happier than your employees.")
Previously covered.

And 22 others.

THE EIGHTEEN “NUMBER ONES”
52 YEARS. ONE PAGE/ONE SLIDE.

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
*Asset #1: PORTFOLIO OF FIRST-LINE MANAGERS
*Core Value #1: LISTENING EXCELLENCE!!!

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

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 FOURTEEN NUMBER ONES

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 ELEVEN "NUMBER ONES"
NINE OBSERVATIONS
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 tompeters.com 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:

*BUILDING/MAINTAINING RELATIONSHIPS ... takes time.
*RECRUITING ALLIES TO YOUR CAUSE ... takes time.
*LUNCH ... takes time.
*BUILDING/MAINTAINING A HIGH-PERFORMANCE CULTURE ... takes time.
*READING/STUDYING ... takes time.
*WAITING (per se) ... takes time.
*FIERCE/AGGRESSIVE LISTENING ... takes time.
*PRACTICE & PREP FOR ANYTHING & EVERYTHING ... take time.
*MBWA/MANAGING BY WANDERING AROUND ... takes time.
*SLACK IN YOUR SCHEDULE ... takes time.
*HIRING/EVALUATING/PROMOTING ... take time.
*THOUGHTFULNESS & INSTINCTIVE SMALL GESTURES (SMALL>>BIG) ... take time.
*EXTREME HUMANIZATION/RADICAL HUMANIZATION ... 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.]

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 strategy+business.com: The Enthusiasms of Tom Peters.

The Excellence Dividend: The Nub

The Excellence Dividend is about three things. (1) How to survive/thrive in the Age of AI: emphasize humanity of what you do, sharpen your curiosity & playfulness, commit to radical growth for yourself & anyone you supervise. (2) Summary of 51 years' learnings. (3) Tribute to supercool SMEs.

LEADERSHIP/MANAGEMENT/”PEOPLE FIRST” BOOK LIST

My niece, who is at the Tuck business school, asked me for a list of best leadership and management books. I put the list below together in haste. Despite the hastiness, I thought you might be interested.

Herewith:

LEADERSHIP

Jeff Pfeffer, Leadership BS
Robert Sutton, Good Boss, Bad Boss
Robert Sutton, The No Asshole Rule
Dov Frohman, Leadership the Hard Way
Richard Branson, The Virgin Way
Robert Cialdini, Influence
Adam Grant, Give and Take
Edgar Schein, Helping
Laura Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval, The Power of Small
Laura Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval, The Power of Nice
Laura Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval, Grit to Great
John Kotter, Leading Change
Thomas Gilovich and Lee Ross, The Wisest One in the Room
Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow
Sally Helgesen, The Female Advantage
Warren Bennis, Leaders
Warren Bennis, On Becoming a Leader
Susan Scott, Fierce Leadership
Betsy Myers, Take the Lead
George Kohlrieser, Hostage at the Table
Max Bazerman, The Power of Noticing: What the Best Leaders See

MANAGEMENT

Rich Karlgaard, The Soft Edge
Henry Mintzberg, Mintzberg on Management
Henry Mintzberg, Managers Not MBAs
David Marquet, Turn the Ship Around!
Mike Abrashoff, It's Your Ship
Leonard Berry and Kent Seltman, Management Lessons From Mayo Clinic
Dan Pink, To Sell Is Human
Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan, Execution
Susan Cain, Quiet
Frank Partnoy, Wait
John Mackey and Raj Sisodia, Conscious Capitalism
Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, First, Break All the Rules

PROFIT THROUGH PUTTING PEOPLE (REALLY) FIRST BUSINESS BOOK CLUB

The following related list comes from a draft of my new book [Ed.: work in progress], The Excellence Dividend:

Business by and large has a lousy rep, and management books by and large focus on things that are broken and how to fix them. Yet there is also a robust body of "good news by putting people (REALLY) first" books—e.g., the informal list below. How about a year-long ... "Profit Through Putting People First Business Book Club" for you and/or your leadership team?

Nice Companies Finish First: Why Cutthroat Management Is Over—and Collaboration Is In, by Peter Shankman with Karen Kelly
Uncontainable: How Passion, Commitment, and Conscious Capitalism Built a Business Where Everyone Thrives, by Kip Tindell, CEO Container Store (Container Store is the #1 U.S. company to work for/Fortune)
Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business, by John Mackey, CEO Whole Foods, and Raj Sisodia
Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose, by Raj Sisodia, Jag Sheth, and David Wolfe
The Good Jobs Strategy: How the Smartest Companies Invest in Employees to Lower Costs and Boost Profits, by Zeynep Ton
Joy, Inc.: How We Built a Workplace People Love, by Richard Sheridan, CEO Menlo Innovations
Joy at Work: A Revolutionary Approach to Fun on the Job, by Dennis Bakke, former CEO, AES
Employees First, Customers Second: Turning Conventional Management Upside Down, by Vineet Nayar, CEO, HCL Technologies
The Customer Comes Second: Put Your People First and Watch 'Em Kick Butt, by Hal Rosenbluth, former CEO, Rosenbluth International
Patients Come Second: Leading Change By Changing the Way You Lead, by Paul Spiegelman & Britt Berrett
It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy, by Mike Abrashoff, former commander, USS Benfold
Turn the Ship Around! How to Create Leadership at Every Level, by L. David Marquet
Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big, by Bo Burlingham
Hidden Champions: Success Strategies of Unknown World Market Leaders, by Hermann Simon (#1 "management guru"/Germany)
Retail Superstars: Inside the 25 Best Independent Stores in America, by George Whalin
The Soft Edge: Where Great Companies Find Lasting Success, by Rich Karlgaard, publisher, Forbes
Everybody Wins: The Story and Lessons Behind RE/MAX, by Phil Harkins & Keith Hollihan
The Dream Manager, by Matthew Kelly
Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, by Tony Hsieh, Zappos
Camellia: A Very Different Company
Fans, Not Customers: How to Create Growth Companies in a No Growth World, by Vernon Hill
Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won't Teach You at Business School, by Richard Branson
Good Business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning, by Mihaly Csikszentmihali
Enough. The Measures of Money, Business, and Life, by John Bogle
An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization, by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey

Humanity: Quotes Collected by Tom

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"—Mary Oliver

"If you ask me what I have come to do in this world, I who am an artist, I will reply: I am here to live my life out loud."—Émile Zola

(Get the PDF)

"[The novel] traced the very ordinary life of a very ordinary woman—a life with few moments of high drama, but which was also remarkable. The extraordinary in the ordinary. It was a theme I often discussed with my students—how we can never consider anybody's life 'ordinary,' how every human existence is a novel with its own compelling narrative. Even if, on the surface, it seems prosaic, the fact remains that each individual life is charged with contradictions and complexities. And no matter much we wish to keep things simple and uneventful, we cannot help but collide with mess. It is our destiny—because mess, the drama we create for ourselves, is an intrinsic part of being alive."
—Hannah, from State of the Union by Douglas Kennedy

"Make each day a Masterpiece!"—John Wooden

"Make your life itself a creative work of art."—Mike Ray, The Highest Goal

"Nobody can prevent you from choosing to be exceptional."—Mark Sanborn, The Fred Factor

"The only thing you have power over is to get good at what you do. That’s all there is; there ain’t no more!"
—Sally Field

"Self-reliance never comes 'naturally' to adults because they have been so conditioned to think non-authentically that it feels wrenching to do otherwise. ... Self Reliance is a last resort to which a person is driven in desperation only when he or she realizes 'that imitation is suicide, that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion.'"
—Lawrence Buell, Emerson

"For Marx, the path to social betterment was through collective resistance of the proletariat to the economic injustices of the capitalist system that produced such misshapenness and fragmentation. For Emerson, the key was to jolt individuals into realizing the untapped power of energy, knowledge and creativity of which all people, at least in principle, are capable. He too hated all systems of human oppression; but his central project, and the basis of his legacy, was to unchain individual minds."
—Lawrence Buell, Emerson

"All human beings are entrepreneurs. When we were in the caves we were all self-employed ... finding our food, feeding ourselves. That's where human history began. ... As civilization came we suppressed it. We became labor because they stamped us, 'You are labor.' We forgot that we are entrepreneurs."
—Muhammad Yunus

"We make our own traps.
"We construct our own cage.
"We build our own roadblocks."
—Douglas Kennedy, State of the Union

"... the delight of being totally within one's own element—of identifying fully with one's work and seeing it as an expression of one's character ... this affection must be so strong that it persists during leisure hours and even makes its way into dreams ... the mind knows no deadlines or constraints and is open to its inner energies ..."
—Robert Grudin, The Grace of Great Things: Creativity and Innovation

"To have a firm persuasion in our work—to feel that what we do is right for ourselves and good for the world at exactly the same time—is one of the great triumphs of human existence."
—David Whyte, Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity

"This is the true joy of Life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one ... the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy."
—G.B. Shaw, Man and Superman

"All of our artistic and religious traditions take equally great pains to inform us that we must never mistake a good career for good work. Life is a creative, intimate, unpredictable conversation if it is nothing else—and our life and our work are both the result of the way we hold that passionate conversation."
—David Whyte, Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity

"If I can reduce my work to just a job I have to do, then I keep myself safely away from the losses to be endured in putting my heart’s desires at stake."
—David Whyte, Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity

"When was the last time you asked, 'What do I want to be?'"
—Sara Ann Friedman, Work Matters

"Strive for Excellence. Ignore success."—Bill Young, race car driver

"Do one thing every day that scares you."—Eleanor Roosevelt

"HAPPINESS" & "LEISURE" PER ARISTOTLE:

HAPPINESS: Eudaimonia ... well-doing, living flourishingly. Megalopsychos ... "great-souled," "magnanimous." More: respect and concern for others; duty to improve oneself; using one's gifts to the fullest extent possible; fully aware; making one's own choices.

LEISURE: pursue excellence; reflect; deepen understanding; opportunity to work for higher ends. ["Rest" vs. "leisure."]

Source: A.C. Grayling, The Meaning of Things: Applying Philosophy to Life

"The antidote to exhaustion is not rest, it is wholeheartedness."
—David Whyte, Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity

"It's no longer enough to be a 'change agent.' You must be a change insurgent—provoking, prodding, warning everyone in sight that complacency is death."
—Bob Reich

"Distinct ... or ... Extinct"—Tom Peters

"Nobody gives you power. You just take it."—Roseanne

"Well-behaved women rarely make history."—Anita Borg, Institute for Women and Technology

"To Hell With Well Behaved ... Recently a young mother asked for advice. What, she wanted to know, was she to do with a 7-year-old who was obstreperous, outspoken, and inconveniently willful? 'Keep her,' I replied. ... The suffragettes refused to be polite in demanding what they wanted or grateful for getting what they deserved. Works for me."
—Anna Quindlen

"You are the storyteller of your own life, and you can create your own legend or not."
—Isabel Allende

"It's always showtime."—David D'Alessandro, Career Warfare

"Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart."
—Henry Clay

"Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones."
—Churchill

"We do no great things, only small things with great love."
—Mother Teresa

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble."
—Helen Keller

"Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness."
—Lucius Annaeus Seneca

"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind."
—Henry James

PROFITABLE BUSINESS

K = R = P
Kindness = Repeat Business = Profit

K = R = P
Kindness = Employee Retention = Profit

—Tom Peters

"One of the secrets of a long and fruitful life is to forgive everybody of everything every night right before going to bed."
—Bernard Baruch

"The deepest human need is the need to be appreciated."
—William James

"Appreciative words are the most powerful force for good on earth."
—George W. Crane

"The two most powerful things in existence: a kind word and a thoughtful gesture."
—Ken Langone

"One kind word can warm three winter months."—Japanese Proverb

"Employees who don't feel significant rarely make significant contributions."
—Mark Sanborn

"Every child is born an artist. The trick is to remain an artist."—Picasso

 

"My wife and I went to a [kindergarten] parent-teacher conference and were informed that our budding refrigerator artist, Christopher, would be receiving a grade of Unsatisfactory in art. We were shocked. How could any child—let alone our child—receive a poor grade in art at such a young age? His teacher informed us that he had refused to color within the lines, which was a state requirement for demonstrating 'grade-level motor skills.'"
—Jordan Ayan, AHA!

 

"How many artists are there in the room? Would you please raise your hands. FIRST GRADE: En mass the children leapt from their seats, arms waving. Every child was an artist. SECOND GRADE: About half the kids raised their hands, shoulder high, no higher. The hands were still. THIRD GRADE: At best, 10 kids out of 30 would raise a hand, tentatively, self-consciously. By the time I reached SIXTH GRADE, no more than one or two kids raised their hands, and then ever so slightly, betraying a fear of being identified by the group as a 'closet artist.' The point is: Every school I visited was participating in the systematic suppression of creative genius."
—Gordon MacKenzie, Orbiting the Giant Hairball

"The key question isn't 'What fosters creativity?' But it is why in God's name isn't everyone creative? Where was the human potential lost? How was it crippled? I think therefore a good question might be not why do people create? But why do people not create or innovate? We have got to abandon that sense of amazement in the face of creativity, as if it were a miracle if anybody created anything."
—Abe Maslow

"The purpose of professional schools is to educate competent mediocrities."
—Peter Drucker

 

EXUBERANCE: THE PASSION FOR LIFE, BY KAY REDFIELD JAMISON

"The Greeks bequeathed to us one of the most beautiful words in our language—the word enthusiasm'—en theos—a god within. The grandeur of human actions is measured by the inspiration from which they spring. Happy is he who bears a god within, and who obeys it."
—Louis Pasteur

KRJ: "Exuberance is, at its quick, contagious. As it spreads pell-mell through a group, exuberance excites, it delights, and it dispels tension. It alerts the group to change and possibility."

"A leader is someone who creates infectious enthusiasm."
—Ted Turner

KRJ: "'Glorious' was a term [John] Muir would invoke time and again ... despite his conscious attempts to eradicate it from his writing. 'Glorious' and 'joy' and 'exhilaration': no matter how often he scratched out these words once he had written them, they sprang up time and again ..."

KRJ: "To meet Roosevelt, said Churchill, 'with all his buoyant sparkle, his iridescence,' was like 'opening a bottle of champagne.' Churchill, who knew both champagne and human nature, recognized ebullient leadership when he saw it."

"At a time of weakness and mounting despair in the democratic world, Roosevelt stood out by his astonishing appetite for life and by his apparently complete freedom from fear of the future; as a man who welcomed the future eagerly as such, and conveyed the feeling that whatever the times might bring, all would be grist to his mill, nothing would be too formidable or crushing to be subdued. He had unheard of energy and gusto ... and was a spontaneous, optimistic, pleasure-loving ruler with unparalleled capacity for creating confidence."
—Isaiah Berlin on FDR

"Churchill had a very powerful mind, but a romantic and unquantitative one. If he thought about a course of action long enough, if he achieved it alone in his own inner consciousness and desired it passionately, he convinced himself it must be possible. Then, with incomparable invention, eloquence and high spirits, he set out to convince everyone else that it was not only possible, but the only course of action open to man."
—C.P. Snow

"We are all worms. But I do believe that I am a glow-worm."
—Churchill on Churchill

"Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. To convince them, you must yourself believe."
—Winston Churchill

"The multitudes were swept forward till their pace was the same as his."
—Churchill on T.E. Lawrence

"He brought back a real joy to music."—Wynton Marsalis on Louis Armstrong

"If you want to build a ship, don't gather people together to collect wood, and don't assign them tasks and work, but instead teach them to long for the sea."
—Antoine de Saint-Exupery (The Little Prince)

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece, but to skid across the line broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, leaking oil, shouting 'GERONIMO!'"
—Bill McKenna, professional motorcycle racer

"The object of life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, 'Holy Shit, What a Ride!!!'"
—Mavis Leyrer (feisty octogenarian, living in Seattle)

HTSH/HANDS THAT SHAPE HUMANITY: ENGAGE!

"Commit! Engage! Try! Fail! Get up! Try again! Fail again! Try again! But never, ever stop moving on! Progress for humanity is engendered by those in any station who join and savor the fray by giving one hundred percent of themselves to their modest or immodest dreams! Not by those fearful souls who remain glued to the sidelines, stifled by tradition, awash in cynicism and petrified of losing face or giving offense to the reigning authorities.

"Key words: Commit! Engage! Try! Fail! Persist!"

Source: HTSH/Hands That Shape Humanity, Tom Peters’ contribution of "most important advice"—for display at a Bishop Tutu exhibit in South Africa

"In Tom’s world, it's always better to try a swan dive and deliver a colossal belly flop than to step timidly off the board while holding your nose."Fast Company, review of Re-Imagine!