Category: Uncategorized

Waterman Memorial

On Sunday, May 1, in Burlingame CA, Tom spoke at the memorial service for his In Search of Excellence coauthor and great friend, Bob Waterman. Bob died on January 2, 2022. Here are Tom's remarks:

Bob’s resume goes on for pages pointing out the important contributions he has made to his community—and the world as a whole. My principal connection with Bob, however, was a single activity. And it was a defining activity.

In 1982, Bob and I coauthored a book for which the publisher signaled his measly expectations with what he deemed an optimistic first printing of 5,000. We did a bit better than that. The first year was marked by 44 printings, sales of 1,300,000, and was the #1 New York Times non-fiction bestseller virtually every week of the year—to the point that People Magazine, in its year-end issue, called In Search “The Phenomenon of 1983. Tom Peters and Bob Waterman searched for excellence and created a business bible.” As for the impact on Bob and me, it was, time and again “Oh, you’re the excellence guy!” Life was never to be the same!

Bob and I were, on the one hand, cut from the same cloth. We were both trained as engineers, both earned MBAs from Stanford, both labored at McKinsey’s San Francisco office. But we were also very different. I was noisy in person and in print, profane, opinionated to a fault, longwinded and verbose. Bob was calm, measured, thoughtful, succinct, and only opened his mouth when he had something of significance to say.

Blending those differences and I reflected deeply on this, is what in the end distinguished the book. After Bob had done a massive re-write—I might add, on his spanking new Apple II—of an early draft of mine which ran to 1,000+ pages [1,400, actually], I thought he’d cut the best material and damped the raging fire that was my trademark. But I subsequently concluded that the ceaseless back-and-forth, the blending of the noisy and the calm, in retrospect enabled the book to find a sweet spot and to viscerally connect with the living breathing business- or non-business reader and the woman or man on the street. In Search of Excellence challenged her and him directly and powerfully, but not by whacking them over the head with a splintery two by four.

(As to the woman or man on the street, we were deluged with letters—remember those? —not mainly from the big dudes, but from fire chiefs, Navy captains, sports coaches, school principals, and even senior church officials.)

Bob and I became truly good pals named bob-n-tom or tom-n-bob, and the Waterman family, starting with the incredible Judy, in effect became my second family during a personal rough patch which coincided with much of the book’s birthing.

Again, in some critical way the book reflected that familial interwovenness rather perfectly. After all, the guiding idea of the book was to get beyond the sterile spreadsheets and bloodless depiction of business and to get to the human heart of enterprise and its moral responsibility to the individual, the community, and the world. And I believe that Bob and Tom’s Excellent Adventure did just that.

One last anecdote. When the book became the talk of the town, we were invited to go to Manhattan to be interviewed on the "Today Show" by Bryant Gumbel. As we sat in the green room, Bob turned to me and said, “Well who gets to say it on national TV?” I looked puzzled. He said, “Who gets to say ‘MBWA’ to the world?” (MBWA, or Managing By Wandering Around, lifted from HP, became our symbol of humanized rather than abstract leadership practices.) We decided to flip a coin, and damned if Bob didn’t win. After 40 years of holding a grudge, I will on this occasion forgive Bob for winning that coin flip.

I miss him [my partner and twin] to an unimaginable degree. Rest in peace, brother. May you enjoy for eternity MBWA in the heavens above.

Seth Godin, Extreme Humanism Video

What does Extreme Humanism mean to you?

Seth Godin is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, and speaker. He has written 24 books about business and marketing—but that's not why we asked Seth this question. Seth and Tom have known each other for decades and not only respect the other's work, but are also good friends.

"[Tom is] the OG. The person who enabled me to do the work I've been doing for 30 years." -Seth

Tom’s Free Preview Course

Excellence: Now More Than Ever Free Preview Course

Six Essential Steps to Excellence is a preview into all six of the courses in our series: The Power of Excellence, People (Really) First, Innovation, Value-added Strategies, Leadership Excellence, and Leadership with Urgency. The course contains six of the most essential learning modules to infuse you with ideas and strategies you can use RIGHT NOW. We're living in very tumultuous times and finances are tight. If that’s the case for you, that’s why we created this free offering. If you’re able to invest in the paid courses, then you can use this to find out if it feels like the right tool for you and your organization. Either way, we hope that it leads you on a path to workplace Excellence!

You'll learn to create a culture of Excellence in your workplace, to master actionable skills, and to improve the reputation of your organization. All you need is a desire to improve your workplace and to become a better leader/manager.

Start today!

More On Excellence: Now More Than Ever
This six-part training course, two years in the making, is based in part on Tom’s 2018 book, The Excellence Dividend. On top of the 99 videos, each emphasizing a Step to Excellence, there are actionable TTDNs (Things To Do Now) associated with each of the content pieces that you can customize to the needs of your organization. That's 99 Steps and more than 99 action items. Read more about all six courses here.

For information about Tom's Excellence Now Campaign check out our full campaign blog post here.

Announcing Tom’s Upcoming Online Course Series!

To our friends old and new: 

Tom is launching a series of online courses on Udemy very (very) soon!

In the age of Covid-19, we’re committed to finding new ways to connect with you. This course series is one of the many things we’re doing to give you access to Tom’s teachings in new ways. 

While it may be a while before we can meet in person, there’s no reason not to strengthen those relationships digitally. 

For those of you who may not be able to afford it right now, we’ll be uploading snippets of the courses on our website at no cost at all. 

Click this link to update your mailing preferences to include yourself in notifications about the new courses as they're released.

I
f you're new here or think a friend might be interested,  click here to Join the Fray!

To learn more about what Tom will be teaching, read his letter to you below.
TP Course 1 Guide - A Personal Note

Some Good Stuff

Like many of us in this age of home isolation and social distancing, Tom has also been cleaning out the cobwebs in his closets. While organizing his digital home, he came across a 2006 PowerPoint titled “some good stuff.”

From Tom: 

“I read it and it is indeed … SOME GOOD STUFF! Hence, I thought it was worth sharing with you!”

Tom has since reformated the PowerPoint into a document for you to read. And we agree, these quotes have aged like fine wine. Enjoy!

SOME GOOD STUFF.quotes.2006.0525.2020

12 Whirlwind Days in Japan

One essayist ungrammatically called Japan "uniquely unique." Ungrammatical or not, it is perhaps accurate. In addition to jet lag following a 13+ hour flight from Boston to Tokyo, the intrigue of Japanese culture per se gripped me instantly. My wife, Susan, is a tapestry weaver, textile designer, and avid gardener, and this was her first trip to Japan. Soon we were off on a whirl of garden and temple tours. As luck would have it, the leaves were rapidly turning and the scarlet blanket of astounding Japanese maple leaves took our breath away time and again. Among the many stops, perhaps my favorite was the dry garden (15 perfectly placed stones amidst carefully swept gravel) at the Ryoanji Zen temple in Kyoto. Among other things, the Ryoanji garden is said to have been a major inspiration to Steve Jobs who, in general, was greatly influenced by Zen and Japanese culture. Though not particularly aesthetically well-tuned, I can nonetheless readily understand the garden's allure—I was mesmerized.

Following a glorious—and exhausting—10 days of touring and cultural absorption, we headed to Tyoko (more accurately, Chiba) for two days of seminar-giving on my part. The first day's audience was about 1,500 pumped up Japanese SME execs. Giant companies everywhere are staggering under the weight of accelerating change—Japan is no exception. And the future, I fervently believe, is universally in the hands of small and medium-sized enterprise. While Japan has been gripped by stagflation for two decades, the attitude among the entrepreneurs I crossed paths with could not have been more upbeat.

In any event, a terrific two days—the 2nd, a dawn-to-dusk seance with 100 senior entrepreneurial-firm execs, ensued—personally as well as professionally. Many thanks to my newfound colleagues in Japan for your hospitality and attention. I'd add that my hosts at Learningedge, Japan's largest business seminar organizer, are all pros of the first order!

You will find here the PowerPoint presentations for each of the two events:
16 Nov, Japan, Re-imagine Excellence: Innovate or Perish
17 Nov, Japan, Re-imagine Excellence: Talent, Value Added, and More

Bahrain

Today, Tom spoke at the Gulf International Convention & Exhibition Center in Bahrain. His topic: The Search for Personal & Business Excellence.

He offers participants (and anyone else) three PowerPoint presentations:
Bahrain Final
Bahrain Long
34 BFOs (Blinding Flash of the Obvious)