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Tom Peters 60 TIBs
#1
Tom Peters is the man

who can change it.

Tom invented the modern business book. But in many ways, he also invented

modern business. His writing gave us the freedom to treat work as something

personal. He gave us permission to break the rules and to make work matter.

ChangeThis is thrilled that Tom let us share the attached—some of the best of

his most recent thinking. A lot comes from his new bestseller, Re-imagine!. If

you haven’t bought yourself a copy, you should (actually, you should buy ten, one

for everyone you work with).

This is Peters for beginners. Perfect to forward to everyone in your

organization. It’s also Peters for the experts, because it reminds you of what’s

important right now.

So, go ahead...post this on your blog, email it to your friends, print it out and

send it to the central copying department and get 500 copies made. Go make

something happen.

— Seth Godin, ChangeThis

TIP

Click on the under-
lined hyperlink for

more information

on Re-imagine!.

For tips like this,

visit (i ).

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FOREWORD

The architect Bill Caudill was a contrarian. He pioneered the idea of working intimately with

clients to create spaces that met their needs; this flew in the face of conventional wisdom,

which held that the architect was pure artist, barely deigning to make client contact. Caudillʼs

approach was wildly successful—so much so that today itʼs become conventional wisdom.

Over the years Bill jotted notes on this and that, and began to organize them for his children.

The title of his musings: This I Believe. After Caudillʼs death, his colleagues collected the

notes and published them. That is, The TIBs of Bill Caudill.

A sixtieth birthday is a monumental occasion, and I chose, among other things, to give my-
self a present to mark the/my date in November 2002. I sat on a hill overlooking my farm in

Vermont, and scribbled down 60 thoughts, one for each year, that seemed to capture my pro-
fessional and, to some extent, my personal journey. Those thoughts—“Tomʼs TIBs”—herewith.

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Technicolor rules!

Passion moves mountains!

Thatʼs been the theme of my lifeʼs work. When my company re-branded itself a couple of years

ago, we looked upon a red exclamation mark, Pantone PMS 032, as our logo. Smugly perhaps, I

believe that logo captures me (and our aspirations) almost perfectly.

I do not think business a dry, dreary, by-the-numbers affair. I think business (at its best) is

about adventures and quests and growth and gold medals and booby prizes and emotion and

service and care and character. All of those are Technicolor words.

Warren Bennis has the peculiar distinction of being the only person whoʼs close to both Peter

Drucker and me. Asked about the two of us by a reporter some time back, Warren replied,

“If Peter Drucker invented modern management, Tom Peters vivified it.” Iʼm not ready for my

tombstone yet, but when the time approaches I wouldnʼt mind imagining Warrenʼs Technicolor

encomium as my summa.

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2. Audacity matters!

All quests worth undertaking—a Girl Scout merit badge or a Nobel Prize—require audacity.

And willpower. (Of course.)

And persistence. (To be sure.)

But, frankly, a persistent misreading of the odds. The odds in 1940 of Charles de Gaulle at

the head of a parade liberating Paris in 1944? The odds of Martin Luther King, Jr., emerg-
ing from Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1954...then speaking to 400,000 gathered on the Mall

in Washington in 1963? The odds of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates humbling IBM, of Sam Walton

sneaking out of Bentonville, Arkansas, and throwing the fear of God into the worldʼs premier

retailers?

The odds in each case were 100 times greater than the longest shot in horse track history. Yet

each actor mentioned above had the sheer audacity to challenge conventional wisdom, accept

the lumps upon lumps associated therewith—and persist until victory.

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3. Revolution now!

Of course I know “revolution” is a frighteningly strong word. Yet I also know (yes, know) that

from warfare to commerce to education to health care, these are times of unprecedented

change. Perhaps change of the once-a-millennium flavor. Hence it follows logically that such

madcap times call for madcap initiatives—from the Pentagon to P.S. 9 in Oakland, CA, to the

finance or purchasing department at XYZ Widgets. If you choke on the word revolution, I am

fearful for your future. The future of your career. Your enterprise. Your children. Your nation.

Our world.

4. Question authority!

(And hire disrespectful people!)

No assumption should go unchallenged! No strange idea should be dismissed or ignored!

(And the stranger who presents it should be welcomed rather than scorned!) Our schools

breed conformity. (Conforming students.) Our white-collar prisons, those insipid high rises

that mark most big-city skylines, cherish conformity. (Conforming workers.) And yet historyʼs

progress—from the dawn of civilization until today—is measured and marked by the assaults

of non-conformists: from politics to science to enterprise. By definition, the history book is a

Deviantʼs Hall of Fame. (And indeed, upon occasion...Hall of Shame.) A Museum of Misfits. My

goal is to entrench the ethos of the history makers into our public and private institutions,

small and large, as we face decades upon decades of unprecedented uncertainty and turmoil.

Highest accolades should go to those who have the guts to hire the Deviants. And Gold Stars

for all who openly challenge the status quo—day after day after daunting day.

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5. Disorganization wins!

(Love the mess!)

The difference-makers thrive on chaos that would intimidate others. Jefferson and Adams.

Lewis and Clark. Lincoln and Grant. TR and FDR. Churchill and Thatcher and Giuliani. The best

companies, Iʼve discovered, are the most disorganized. (Take note that I didnʼt say undisci-
plined.) Their leaders assemble a bulging portfolio of mavericks...and launch those mavericks

on maverick initiatives. They know that what they know is small beer compared to what they

donʼt know—and only a passel of passionate and peculiar pioneers will successfully sort

through the mess. To be sure, most of those pioneers will fail...but the successful remnant,

alone, will vault the firm or public institution to its next performance plateau. Organization is

needed to execute our daily chores; yet all progress (All. Big Word.) depends on counterintui-
tive leaps into the unknown. Hence, it depends on those who cherish the mess.

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6. Think 3M: Markets Matter Most.

(Only extreme competition staves off staleness.)

Do markets have glaring inefficiencies and dreadful side effects? Of course! Yet (only) the

spur of a new rival (the kid who was drafted for the NFL team, and now aims to swipe

your roster slot) leads us back to the practice field for a final 15 minutes of wind sprints.

Cooperation is, of course, invaluable to the achievement of most any complex task, from the

football field to the FBI; yet even within a largely cooperative effort, it is the maverick who

questions yesterdayʼs rituals and commits 168.2 percent of her energy to demonstrating the

validity of a wildly different approach who lifts us to that next peak.

Sins and flaws aside, Iʼve come to wholeheartedly believe that only Extreme Competition (and

the creation of an organizational context which encourages such extreme competition) leads

to sustained progress. (Note: the progress of those who do the best is seldom smooth. It

consists of plateaus, pitfalls, deep chasms. Followed by breakthroughs that ratchet the enter-
prise to a level higher than one could have dreamed existed.)

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7. Three hearty cheers for weirdos!

I love the fifth-grade student who leaps from his seat at the “wrong moment.” I love the

26-year-old who interrupts her boss. I love the heckler at a political event—even if itʼs my

candidate heʼs heckling.

Itʼs really quite simple: Hecklers alone (with incredible energy, persistence, and luck) change

the dimensions of the playing field. I had the privilege of living in Silicon Valley for 35 years.

Lucky me!

Ups? Many, many. Downs? Many, many. Accolades? Often. Derision? Constant. And yet the Jim

Clarks and Scott McNealys and Jerry Yangs and Andy Groves and Steve Jobses and George

Lucases actually changed the worldʼs rules—the way human affairs are conducted. I have an

abiding passion for the Weird Ones. I honor their Purple Hearts (what a collection they have) as

much as I admire their Medals of Honor. Not a one of them is close to normal. Not even close.

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8. Message 2003: Technology change

(info-science, bio-science)

is in its infancy. (Greatest understatement: We ainʼt seen nothinʼ yet!)

The Internet has already lived up to its hype—and will soon exceed it. Wildly. The bio-tech/

life-sciences revolution is but gathering way. The new technologies change everything (love,

war, commerce, what it means to be human); the turmoil will extend for decades and the

fallout for centuries. While there will be further bumps in the road, like the dot-com bust that

marked the first couple of years of the new millennium, there is no going back. This genie is

out of the bottle!

9. Everything is up for grabs!

Volatility is thy name!

(Forever. And ever.) Re-imagine...or perish.

I put this on the cover of my most recent book: “It is the foremost task—and responsibil-
ity—of this generation to re-imagine all of our institutions, private and public.” “My God,

sounds like a line from a presidential address,” one of my friends said. Well...yes. That is, it

could be. These are not times for the faint of heart. They call for the maximum from each

and every one of us. For the sake of ourselves, our communities, our children, our world. No

right answers or certain rules are on the horizon. We must make it up as we go along. As for

a Blessed Hiatus...forget about it. In short: We must all become...Re-imagineers.

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Big stinks. (Mostly.)

We go through repeated waves of entrepreneurship (when waves of new stuff rush in) followed

by consolidation (when the wave is past and the most absurd by-products of the irrational

exuberance are weeded out). To some extent, such waves and tides will continue to ebb and

flow. Yet the inherent volatility that surrounds us at the beginning of this new millennium sug-
gests nothing less than a...Long Wave of Entrepreneurial Energy. Upstarts will indeed become

Establishment...and will then be savagely attacked by the next round of Upstarts. Truth is, Big

Company performance has always been more problematic than imagined; and most adven-
tures in consolidation (Big Mergers) fail miserably. While the new technology seems to promise

the possibility of “agile giants” or “dancing elephants” (the latter suggested by former IBM boss

Lou Gerstner), my money lies with the next generation(s) of Gateses and Waltons and Venters.

Truth is, Big Company performance has always been

more problematic than imagined; and most adventures

in consolidation (BigMergers) fail miserably.

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11. “Permanence” is a snare and a delusion.

(Forget “built to last.” It’s yesterday’s idea,

if that.)

One serious study shows that but a single company on Forbesʼ first List of Giants (the 1917

Forbes 100) outperformed the market between 1917 and 2003. The sole survivor, GE, is

marked, not so incidentally, by a powerful, lingering spirit of independence and autonomy.

While I admire the instinct to pursue Eternal Glory, I believe the times are better suited for

the Ellisonsʼ and Gatesʼ...pursuit of Temporal Glory. (Which may or may not last...but which

changes the world permanently.) Put your all into surviving todayʼs tsunamis of change...and

let the day after tomorrow take care of itself. Dream big? Absolutely! Aim to change the world?

Absolutely! The idea is to set in train events that rattle every cage from here to kingdom

come. But as to whether you and yours will be the engineers in charge of that train, circa

2053...who cares?

Put your all into surviving today’s tsunamis of change...and let the day after tomorrow take care of itself.

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12. Kaizen (Continuous Improvement) is...

Very Dangerous Stuff.

Caught with our pants down by vigorous Japanese competitors, we Americans quickly copied

their essential competitive ideas, such as Total Quality Management and Kaizen. Fair enough!

Brilliant, in fact! Yet these important notions are in part cornerstones of an earlier, industrial

age...when winning products stayed on the shelves in showroom floors for years, even de-
cades. Now excellence has become transient (few teams win back-to-back championships

in sports, the competition and rate of improvement have become so intense); and the fact

is that the Pursuit of Perfection (at todayʼs “sport”) gets in the way of ferreting out the Next

Big Thing. My de facto mentors in all this are media guru Marshall McLuhan (“If it works, itʼs

obsolete”) and IT guru Nicholas Negroponte (“Incrementalism is innovationʼs worst enemy”).

Excellence has become transient...

the Pursuit of Perfection (at today’s “sport”)

gets in the way of ferreting out the Next Big Thing.

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13. Destruction rules!

A surprising number of attendees at an end-of-millennium retreat I hosted left saying that

their biggest “take-away”/“aha” could be captured by a single word. Namely: Cortez. That

is, the great explorer...Hernando Cortez. Upon landing in Vera Cruz, Mexico, in 1519, Cortez

headed inland to claim the nation for Spain. His soldiers faced a wily enemy and the ravages

of disease. Fearing mutiny, Cortez resorted to an extreme strategy: He sent a lieutenant back

to the sea...to burn the boats!

A little (or more) boat burning would do

many enterprises a world of good.

Our potent groupʼs conclusion: A little (or more) boat burning would do many enterprises

a world of good. The exemplar here is Nokia. In the 1980s, the proud but hodge-podge

Finnish conglomerate sold off all the crown jewels, starting with forest products (what else is

Finland?), and threw in its lot with wireless communications—an arena where the leadership

had virtually no expertise. Likewise, upon coming to grips with the awesome power of the

Internet, legendary GE CEO Jack Welch, though in his sixties and only having a few years left

at the helm, labeled the new GE: dyb.com. For...destroy your business dot.com. My advice:

Re-title the Big Cheese! Drop CEO. Pick up...CDO. Chief Destruction Officer. Cortez, anyone?

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14. Forget it! (Message: Learning = Easy.

Forgetting = Nigh-on-impossible.)

Visa founder Dee Hock said it best: “The problem is never how to get new, innovative

thoughts into your mind, but how to get the old ones out.” Burn the boats redux, eh? My

take: Every enterprise (and every individual) needs a formal (written, for starters!)...Forgetting

Strategy. We must be as forceful and systematic about identifying and then dumping yester-
dayʼs baggage as we are about acquiring new baggage.

15. Innovation = Easy. (True.)

(Message: Hang out with Freaks!)

It came to me in a flash: Innovation is a lark! (“That flash must have fried your brain,” you

quickly respond.) Hereʼs my essential proposition:

1. Self-motivated change is virtually impossible, particularly if the individual or enterprise

is, shall we say, mature. (Or, worse yet, successful.)

2. Thence the “answer” (only?) to change is to throw yourself violently in harmʼs way. I.e.:

Put yourself in a position where you have no option but to change.

3. Such a self-imposed precarious position comes from managing (carefully! quantita-
tively!) the portfolio of those you hang out with.

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4. Acquire (hang out with) cool-weird-pioneering customers...and they will drag you into

the future. Acquire (hang out with) cool-weird-pioneering suppliers and they will drag

you into the future. Ditto: employees. Ditto: board members.

5. Consider: You are who you go to lunch with! Break bread with cool...and you will be-
come more cool. Conversely: break bread with dull...well, you can figure it out. Iʼm

aware that the above might come across as simplistic. And perhaps thatʼs so. But then

again, perhaps itʼs not. My experience and evidence say that most big firms, in par-
ticular, are victims of dull, predictable, behind-the-times customers and suppliers and

employees and board members. At least: Think about it. Okay?

(And who are you lunching with today?)

16. Boring begets boring.

(Cool begets cool.)

Energy begets energy. Enthusiasm begets enthusiasm. Hustle begets hustle. And so on. The

Big Idea here is an amplification of No. 15 above. Innovation = All. (In a wobbly world. Weʼre

in a wobbly world.)

One cannot expend too much ink on this topic. (See No. 17 below, while youʼre at it.) THE

BIG IDEA. If we force ourselves into constant contact with Cool...the odds are (sky) high that

“cool” will rub off. And...of course...vice versa.

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This is personal, as well as professional. When I go too long without stimulation...I can feel

my edge dulling. No bull. (And just like the business of keeping physically fit...the dullness

sets in pretty quickly.)

Itʼs those edgy times...when Iʼm debating someone I respect but disagree with...or speaking

to high school kids, who seldom let you escape with glibness...or declaiming to a group thatʼs

totally new to me...that I feel most alive. Fully human. This is so central to personal growth

(mine, at least) that I deliberately micro-manage my calendar to ensure sufficient contact

with...people and groups that...terrify...me.

17. Think “Portfolio.” We are all VCs.*

(*Venture Capitalists.)

I freely admit that Iʼm wildly, head-over-heels in love with the idea of portfolios, of bell-
shaped curves. (The fabled “normal distribution.”) Portfolios and bell-shaped curves suggest

diversity. Measurable diversity, at that. An NFL “roster” is a classic “portfolio,” which ranges

from the tried-and-true player to the super-long-shot, who will make the Hall of Fame...or

flame out. Likewise a Venture Capitalistʼs “portfolio” = Roster of bets (investments).

I unabashedly want everyone to think about (damn near) everything in terms of...portfolios.

Your departmentʼs “payroll” becomes a “roster”-“portfolio.” So...do you have an appropriate

share of those long shots, the wet-behind-the-ears, super-bright kids who will either alter

the world...or bomb? (We rarely do.) Portfolio-of-people = Roster. Young, old. Tried and

true sources of recruitment, new (to you) sources of recruitment. Conventional backgrounds,

(very) unconventional backgrounds. Journeymen, risky high-priced superstars (yes, in HR

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and Finance). The same applies to your...customer portfolio. Your...vendor portfolio. Your...

consultants portfolio. Your...marketing initiatives portfolio. (Etc.) (Etc.) (The great news: “It”

can be measured!) (Must be measured!) E.g.: Upon evaluating your 26-person departmental

“roster,” how many (precisely) score seven of ten or higher on the “weird”/“longshot”/“odd

background” scale?

Coaches-GMs (sports) “do”...rosters...portfolios. (Period.) VCs “do”...rosters...portfolios.

(Period.) And you?

Measure! Damn it! (Innovation...i.e. your life...depends on it!)

18. Perception is all there is.

(“Insiders”...always...overestimate the radicalism of what theyʼre up to.)

I just begged you to...Measure Weirdness by quantitatively evaluating your Portfolio/Roster of

damn near everything. Now Iʼm going to go back on my word. (Partially.) Measure? Yes! But

have an outsider do it, or at least have an outsider evaluate your evaluation.

My experience is all too clear. (And common.) I talk to a 25-year company veteran, at his firmʼs

executive level. He glows with excitement about, say, his new supply chain initiative. He barely

notices that Iʼve dozed off in the middle of his recitation. That is, his measuring rod was fash-
ioned by 25 years of internal experience. Mine was fashioned by 25 years of external experi-
ence. Iʼm not diminishing at all the degree to which heʼs stuck his neck out to champion this

idea. Itʼs just that to me itʼs quite timid by contrast with the most incredibly interesting stuff

Iʼve stumbled across in industries far, far distant from his. The idea-concern holds on every

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parameter. His idea (perception, sculpted by his 25 years in one bureaucracy) of a “risky”

candidate for a top job is my idea of a “ho-hum” candidate...who should be discarded in a

flash. And so on.

Think about it. (Are you really as “far out” as you think?)

19. Action...ALWAYS...takes precedence.

Talk about not changing with the times! This was Idea No. 1 from In Search of Excellence

in 1982. It remains in the Top Spot two decades later. Except that my plea is more strident

than it was 20 years ago.

The notion from Search: We put too much emphasis on analysis, too little emphasis on

“gettinʼ on with gettinʼ on.”

I could extend this section, just one of 60 in this relatively brief paper, for pages upon

pages. (Upon more pages.) Some people like to talk about stuff. Some (other) people like

to try stuff. Some people lick their wounds after a setback. (Or worse yet, initiate the blame

game.) Some (other) people “get back on the horse” (or find another horse) and go ridinʼ

again. (As for the blame game thing, the issue for me is selfish. My energy is far too pre-
cious to waste a single droplet on emotionally draining acts of recrimination.)

Itʼs almost funny. (If the stakes werenʼt so damned high.) The Action Faction is completely

flummoxed by the Memo Maniacs. AFs (Action Factioneers) are unable to sit still, to stay off

the field, to delay the next step. (Sometimes their impatient rush to action causes prob-
lems. True. But...far fewer problems than the Ponder Partnersʼ generic failure to act at all.)

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Innovation guru Michael Schrage gives brilliant intellectual cover to my Action Factioneers in

his masterful book Serious Play. He claims (as I applaud) that all True Innovation comes as a

reaction to real action (a trial, prototype, experiment). My mantra (personal, professional):

Do...NOW. Think...later. At the very least, youʼll have something to think about since youʼve

just done...something.

He who makes the quickest,

coolest prototypes reigns!

(Think: Demos. Stories. Heroes.)

TEST! (QUICK.) PROTOTYPE! (QUICK.) DEMO TIME! (QUICK.) COOL STORY! (QUICK.)

NEW HERO! (QUICK.)

MESSAGE: Plans do not make the world go ʼround. What does? Demos! Heroes! Stories! Tests!

Palpable examples! Experiments! Prototypes!

Okay. You caught me out. Itʼs action redux. So what? (It surely bears repeating. And then

repeating again.)

Stories-Heroes-Demos...not Plans...make the world go ʼround. Think Bob Stone. Bob actually

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re-invented a fair share of the federal governmentʼs practice. He had a simple (profound!)

management mantra: “Some people look for things that went wrong and try to fix them. I

look for things that went right and try to build off them.”

Amen. (As in: AMEN!)

Fact is, 90 percent of us “reason-by-vignette.” Weʼre all honorary “show me” Missourians. We

need to see-it-to-believe-it. Or, early on, see-it-to-become-inflamed-by-the-potential-of-
it. We donʼt need a lecture on TQM. We need the palpable, compelling story-of-42-year-old-
born-again-Charlie-the-distributioncenter-boss-who-reluctantly-but-wholeheartedly-em-
braced-the-“quality-thing”-and-made-a-miracle-in-Padooka. To only partially coin a phrase,

one snapshot of Reluctant Charlie-turned-Demo-Hero is worth a thousand CEO exhortations

on videotape and a thousand pages of plans and policies.

MESSAGE: We (you, me) live by Demos-Heroes-Stories-Quick Prototypes-Experiments-Tests-
Concrete “Stuff.” So: Get concrete! Fast! Gimme...a Demo. Gimme a...Hero. Gimme a...Story.

(PLEASE.) (NOW.)

Fact is, 90 percent of us “reason-by-vignette.”

We’re all honorary “show me” Missourians.

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21. Haste makes waste.

(So...go waste!)

Failure is the mother (father, and uncle) of success. (Period.) A few years back, the Economist

revealed Silicon Valleyʼs “success secrets.” At the top of the list: Embrace failure. The maga-
zine used as illustration a typical venture capitalistʼs portfolio. Of 20 “bets” (investments),

the following outcome set typically ensues: Six go bust. Nine hang in. Four do well. One goes

(positively) berserk.

There are several significant messages here. Topping the list: Brilliant success = 1 in 20 bat-
ting average! Failures and ho-hums far outnumber successes. The first (MBAsʼ? Plannersʼ?)

reaction is to dismiss all this as a “failure of analysis” on the part of those VCs. Baloney! The

top VCs (in my extensive experience) are smarter than you and me...and they still hit 1 in

20...and live in the house at the Top of the Hill. Fact: No “house at the top of the hill” unless

you back a host of subsequent losers in pursuit of the winning lottery ticket for the...Next Big

Thing.

You could also try labeling all those “losses” as...“waste.” But youʼd be wrong. We needed a

kajillion auto company start-ups in the first two decades of the 1900s...to produce a (one!)

Ford, a (one!) GM, a (one!) (more-or-less) Chrysler. Likewise, we actually (truly!) “needed”

WorldCom-like fiascos to push the astounding telecoms advances weʼve all benefited from in

the last 20 years. Of course, I decry the fraudulent actions at WorldCom, and (literally) weep

for the faithful employees who lost out in the process. But progress always claims victims.

And fast progress, alas, claims numerous victims. While I pine for the evaporated WorldCom

pensions (and hope that some form of restitution is possible), I hardly want to go back to the

Telecom Cocoon called Ma Bell, circa 1980. I.e.: Three cheers for “waste.”

(And three-plus cheers for “Hasty Waste.”)

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22. Screw-ups are...THE...Mark of Excellence.

(Corollary: “Do it right the first time” is an...

Obscenity.)

Richard Farson is a bum! He wrote the book I wanted to write! And got there first! With Ralph

Keyes, he penned Whoever Makes the Most Mistakes Wins: The Paradox of Innovation. Also

consider:

1. From premier product developer David Kelley: “Fail Faster. Succeed sooner.”

2. From a Philadelphia area high-tech executive: “Fail. Forward. Fast.”

3. From successful Aussie businessman Phil Daniels: “Reward excellent failures. Punish

mediocre successes.” Take your pick. Iʼll take ʼem all.

My resolve on this issue of the paramount importance of failure was locked into granite a

dozen years ago, when I had a chance to introduce Wal*Mart founder Sam Walton at a presti-
gious awards banquet.

I sought out Samʼs long-time pal and successor as Wal*Mart CEO, David Glass, and asked

him what single trait of Samʼs stood out above the rest. He quickly replied, “Samʼs not afraid

to fail. Itʼs not,” he continued, “that Sam tolerates less than a Herculean effort, or anything

like that. To the contrary. Itʼs just that his attitude is, ʻGot that dumb one behind us. Letʼs try

something else. Right now.ʼ” Alas, such an attitude is ever so rare, in sizeable enterprises in

particular—which seem to spend more time on backward-looking witch hunts than forward

motion...that all-important “next-quick-try.”

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23. Play hard! Right now!

Cherish play!

Michael Schrageʼs Serious Play, mentioned before, is my pick as best book on innovation.

Well researched, its strategic message is captured in this opening statement: “You canʼt be a

serious innovator unless you are willing and able to play. ʻSerious playʼ is not an oxymoron;

itʼs the essence of innovation.” Schrage essentially devotes 300 pages to the apparently sec-
ond-order topic of quick prototyping, from tangible model building to processing thousands

of iterations of a spreadsheet in a matter of hours.

“Play” is businessʼs Voldemort...one-of-those-words-that-dare-not-be-uttered-between-
nine-and-five.

And yet each day we confront hopelessly complex circumstances in the marketplace or in the

design of a new piece of software. Winners—I contend—have but one (yes, one!) consistent

strategy: Try. Something. Fast. See. What. Happens. Fast.

Four decades of observation (mine and Schrageʼs) say it is that clear-cut: “Play” rules innova-
tionʼs roost!

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24. Talent Time! (He/She who has the...

Best Roster...rules.)

Oh how I love...LOVE...those two words. TALENT. ROSTER. Say “talent,” say “roster”...and the

Yankees...the Metropolitan Opera...or a space shuttle crew...or Microsoftʼs latest bet-the-
company design team comes to mind. Alas, say “Finance Department,” “HR Department,”

“Personnel,” “Human Resources”...and neither the Yankees nor Talent necessarily comes to

mind.

It is a New Economy. It is an Age of Intellectual Capital...or “creation intensification,” as one

Japanese researcher in the financial industry put it. If itʼs new economy/intellectual capital/

creation intensification time...then “it” is all about...He/She Who Has the Best Talent/Roster

Wins.

I simply contend that when you say/think Talent/Roster, your mind is transformed from the

more pedestrian imagery that matches up with “employee,” “worker,” “human resource,” or

“department.”

Talent is cool!

Talent gravitates to cool!

Talent attracts more Talent!

And: In Real Talent World (again, think Yankees, Metropolitan Opera)...Boss Job One (and 2

through 2,002) is the...Attraction & Development & Retention of Talent. For NFL GMs, a few of

whom Iʼve known, Talent per se is a 25/8/53 Obsession (and donʼt forget to capitalize the “O”

in “Obsession.”)

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McKinsey & Co.ʼs former Talent Guru, Ed Michaels, places GE, virtually alone, in the Yankeesʼ

league. The process of TA&D (Talent Acquisition and Development) at GE is intense, relent-
less, uncompromising, and played for keeps. Incidentally, Iʼm not talking about the “top fifty,”

or any such thin, stratospheric layer. Iʼm talking about the active/obsessed engagement with

the top several thousand “roster” members. In short: If talent rules...then Talent Rules. (In

every nook and every cranny of the enterprise, 25/8/53.)

25. Re-do education. Totally.

(Foster creativity...not uniformity.) (The noisiest classroom wins the gold.)

Read it and weep, from Jordan Ayanʼs book Aha!: “My wife and I went to a [kindergarten] par-
ent-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 ʻcolor within the lines,ʼ which is a state requirement for demonstrating

ʻgrade-level motor skills.ʼ”

The school system was crafted to deliver factory slaves to Henry Ford, and cubicle slaves to

XYZ Insurers.

It is a New Economy. It is an Age of Intellectual

Capital...or “creation intensification.”

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Former Hallmark creative exec Gordon MacKenzie, who devoted his retirement to working

with the school system, went so far as to say, “Every school Iʼve visited was participating in

the systematic suppression of creative genius.” Maybe that was okay in the Age of Ford. But

it is definitely not okay in the Age of the Smart Microprocessor and the Age of Wholesale

Outsourcing of Brain-Creative Jobs. To say the schools are not responding, let alone leading,

the global economic transition process is a grotesque understatement.

Tomorrowʼs “Requirement No. 1”: Kids who color outside the lines! I, for one, am counting on

Christopher Ayan as Secretary of Education by 2025! In the meantime ...

To say the schools are notresponding,

let alone leading, the global economic transition

process is a grotesque understatement.

26. Diversity’s hour is now!

Iʼm a diversity fanatic. Political correctness has no place in my credo. Pursuit of rapid eco-
nomic growth does. Hence I find myself applauding madly the words of Greg Zachary in The

Global Me: “Diversity defines the health and wealth of nations in a new century. Mighty is

the mongrel...The hybrid is hip...The impure, the mélange, the adulterated, the blemished,

the rough, the black-and-blue, the mix-and-match —these people are inheriting the earth.

Mixing is the new norm... Mixing trumps isolation. It spawns creativity, nourishes the human

spirit, spurs economic growth, and empowers nations.”

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Strong words! And accurate ones, as I see it. Carnegie Mellon professor Richard Florida claims

that in America a “creative class,” already 38 million strong, is leading the way on just about

any dimension you can name. He and Zachary sing from the same page of the same hymnal.

“You cannot get a technologically innovative place,” Florida insists, “unless itʼs open to weird-
ness, eccentricity and difference.”

Message: Creative age = Creative rules = Mix and match = Diversityʼs hour. Q.E.D.

“Diversity defines the health

and wealth of nations in a new century.

Mighty is the mongrel...The hybrid is hip.”

27. S-H-E is the best leader.

Women will rule. (Period.) And itʼs a great-necessary thing! Logic: Women bring to the work-
place the perfect (big word!) skill set for the emergent new economy. Judy Rosener lays it out

brilliantly in Americaʼs Competitive Secret: Women Managers. Women, she enumerates, tend to:

link rather than rank workers...favor an interactive/collaborative leadership style, believe that

empowerment beats top-down decision making...sustain fruitful collaborations...are comfort-
able sharing information...see re-distribution of power as victory, not surrender...favor mul-
tidimensional feedback...value technical and interpersonal skills equally; individual and group

contributions equally...readily accept ambiguity...honor intuition as well as pure rationality...are

inherently flexible...and appreciate cultural diversity.

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What a list! Of course not all men are hopeless on all these dimensions. Yet there is a clear

“central tendency” which differs among men and women—and which will increasingly, espe-
cially in the mid-to-long term, result in womenʼs accession to the top ranks of leadership.

(Far beyond the pathetic statistic, circa 2003, that women occupy only 8 of 500 CEO jobs

among the Fortune 500.) Given the above, I have no trouble with the conclusion of a 2000

BusinessWeek Special Report: “As leaders, women rule: New studies find that female manag-
ers outshine their male counterparts in almost every measure.” More humbly, I simply suggest

that women are the most underrated, under-attended answer to the always pressing question

of “Where do we find more/better leaders?”

28. Marketing mantra: Pocket Trillion$$$.

Embrace the Big Two: (1) She is the customer!

(2) Boomers & Geezers have all the loot!

Iʼd be thrilled if the last quarter of my career led to the following label: “The guy who dis-
covered women and geezers.” Marketers get so caught up in micro-segmentation that they

often miss the...Main Game. In this case, two games...yes...YES!...Two Trends Worth Trillions,

as in Trillion$$$. Namely: (1) Women buy All the Stuff! (2) Weʼre getting older! Iʼve written

extensively on both topics, and wonʼt repeat myself here. (Though Iʼm sorely tempted.) A raft

of indisputable statistics make it clear that women, as purchasers of retail and professional

goods and services, dominate virtually every market category you can name. And are blithely

ignored by 99 percent of companies. Sure, most firms nod to the woman consumer. But only

the rarest of Big Players (such as a Loweʼs in DIY world) realign the enterprise strategically...

around the woman as consumer.

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Likewise, 99 percent of firms blithely (that word again) ignore the Boomer-Geezer tsunami.

And...the Entirely New Brand of Oldster who is arriving on the scene...wallet bulging...aiming

to...live a lot longer...and...spend, spend, spend.

Let me briefly add, after seven years of intense study, that I am convinced that as personal

and professional consumers, men and women, geezers and non-geezers, have damn little

in common. Hence to “take advantage” of these two trends requires...Wholesale Enterprise

Realignment. (Not some la-de-dah “initiative.”)

29. Re-boot health care.

Arguably, education and health care are our two most significant “industries.” Both are almost

hopelessly out of tune with tomorrowʼs times. I touched on educationʼs need for a monumen-
tal re-alignment in item No. 25 above. Now itʼs time for health careʼs shellacking.

To begin with...everybody is pissed off! Everybody is at fault! Consider:

1. We must get quality-conscious. Fact: As a result of physician arrogance and outdated

procedures, our out-of-control health care system unnecessarily (!) kills and maims mil-
lions per year. (No exaggeration.)

2. Spoiled patients “expect it all”—and take little responsibility for the rationing of health

care.

3. The entire system is skewed (somebody help me find a stronger word!) toward fixing

things (!) after theyʼre broken, rather than toward wellness and prevention.

4. Narrowing the focus to America, I believe itʼs a criminal shame that a third of us are

uninsured—in earthʼs wealthiest (by far!) nation.

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Bottom line: There is an enormous opportunity to “get the health/health care quality/well-
ness/universal access/rationing ʻthingʼ right.” One hopes it will streak to the top of the na-
tional agenda—especially as our 80 million cantankerous Boomers (see No. 28 above) experi-
ence the acceleration of aches and pains.

30. Q: What are we selling?

A: “Experiences” and “solutions,” far more

than “top quality” and “satisfaction.”

Message: the Traditional value-added equation is being set on its ear.

The “M” in IBM, obviously, stands for “Machines.” But IBM makes damn few machines today.

It mostly “makes”...“experiences” and “solutions.” Under the guidance of CEOs Lou Gerstner

and Sam Palmisano, a single IBM division, IBM Global Services, rapidly grew from a pittance

to about $40 billion. IBM today is a software-services-consulting-solutions company. It

has more in common with Cirque du Soleil than Caterpillar Tractor. (Whoops, CAT now sells

services and solutions...not to mention its licensed shoes and shirts and jackets!) In short,

the “bedrock” of “national economic excellence” (Japanese-style, German-style) has been

crushed. Comfortable or not, welcome to (New) IBM World...where “solutions” and “experi-
ences” dominate.

See too: Nike. Harley-Davidson. UPS (“What can brown do for you?”). Ford (“A ʻbrand experi-
ence provider,ʼ not a ʻcar maker,ʼ” per one wag.) Home Depot (which wants to “own” the home

services market). Etc. (Etc.) (Etc.) (Etc.)

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The Big Deal: This...is...a...BIG DEAL. As one marketing expert put it, tomorrowʼs Skill/

Requirement No. 1 is “metaphysical management”...finding fundamental economic value in

places long ignored, or dismissed out of hand. (Not so incidentally: One more b-i-g reason

to champion a wholesale re-do of education and to welcome women in unprecedented

numbers into the top ranks of leadership.)

Design = New “Seat of the Soul.”

If thereʼs a spanking new “value proposition” (I think there is—see immediately above)...

then thereʼs a spanking new “seat of the soul.” Itʼs not balance-sheet machinations. Itʼs not

more (or even better) microsegmentation analysis. It is...design.

Design...meaning stuff that “looks cool.” Sure. But a lot more. Sometimes I call it “design

mindfulness”...but Iʼve really not concocted the right term. The right idea: an enterprise

with a “total way of being” that is informed by design considerations. Where the aesthetic

and emotional sensibilities of Body Shop and Nike and Nokia and Harley-Davidson and

Starbucks and Apple and BMW and Southwest and, yes, the consultants McKinsey & Co.

and (the old, at least) EDS and (the new) UPS drive the business. Drive it from HR (the

pursuit and nurturing of top talent) to creating “aesthetically pleasing” business process-
es...that offer zip and zing across the entire customer interface/experience.

Design, then, is the calculated construction of...the total-persona-that-the-enterprise-
presents (and present it does, every microsecond) to all of its stakeholders and constitu-
ents, internal and external, virtual and real.

Okay?

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32. Branding is for...EVERYONE.

Whoever has...THE BEST STORY...takes home the most marbles. “Branding?” “Branding is a

character issue. Next question?” It is almost that simple. And, thus, that hard.

Iʼm a branding fanatic. But not a branding “expert.” I acknowledge the power of a great

logo. Brilliant ad campaign. Coherent marketing material. A razor-sharp message. And so

on. And on. Yet all the above misses the mark. “Brand” to me (personally) means: What

Tom...stands for. Tomʼs character...behind his promise. Why I would want to...hang out

with Tom. Why what Tom does...matters in the larger scheme of things. Tomʼs ability

to...make a difference.

Branding, then, at its best, is about the...Big Questions. (Very Big Questions.) Call it/them:

identity ...character...raison dʼetre. Or (personally again): Tomʼs...Big & Compelling Story.

Consider:

“We are in the twilight of a society based on data. As information and intelligence

become the domain of computers, society will place new value on the one human abil-
ity that canʼt be automated: emotion. Imagination, myth, ritual—the language of emo-
tion—will affect everything from our purchasing decisions to how well we work with

others...Companies will thrive on the basis of their stories and myths. Companies will

need to understand that their products are less important than their stories.”

— Rolf Jensen, Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies

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Howard Gardner, the renowned Harvard professor, insists that the primary key to leadership

is storytelling skills, the ability to encase a mere “message” in a saga that moves dozens, or

millions, to commitment and action. Thatʼs what a Brand is, too: a great story, a saga, a case

for character...that makes me reach for Morton salt and the image of the little girl with the

umbrella, rather than the store brand. Branding—the individual, the one-person consultancy,

or the corporate megalith—is the pinnacle of enterprise accomplishment. Brand = What

Matters About Me/We.

33. “Dramatic Difference” =

Only Difference worthy of the name.

Hanging in tough against the forces of conformity, from kindergarten to the grave, is the

ultimate litmus test for the individual—and the obvious point of difference for everyone who

makes it into the local or global, military or mercantile history books. In the business world,

marketing and new products guru Doug Hall has put the calipers around this idea, which he

labels “dramatic difference.”

Hallʼs book Jump Start Your Business Brain pivots around three “Laws of Marketing Physics,”

the last of which is the Law of Dramatic Difference. When a firm is evaluating a potential

product, it often asks panels of prospective purchasers two key questions:

1. “Would you buy this?”

2. “How ʻdifferentʼ/ʻuniqueʼ is it?”

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Hall notes that business decision makers, evaluating the results of such a survey, invariably

pay far (FAR!) more attention to the pragmatic “Would you buy?” than to the more ephemeral

“degree of difference.” Alas, our execs get it all wrong. The response to the “degree of differ-
ence” query is a far better predictor of subsequent marketplace success than the “Would you

buy?” question.

Dramatic Difference in sports (think Joe Montana, Barry Bonds) leads to Canton and

Cooperstown. And in the world of enterprise...directly to the bank. Painful? To be sure. But

why else get out of the bed in the morning?

34. Words matter. (A lot!)

Churchill famously said, “We shape our buildings. Thereafter they shape us.” So, too, words.

Most business language is: dry...unemotional...stilted...formal. And yet...business...at its

best...is the opposite of all these things.

Consider customer service. “Exceeds expectations” is hardly an un-noteworthy goal. And yet

it hardly vaults one to the heavens, either.

Go to a great ballgame or theatrical performance or restaurant, and upon departing youʼre

hardly likely to say to your mate, “My, that dining experience certainly exceeded expecta-
tions.” Try: “Holy smoke! What a meal!” Or: “Could you believe that moussaka?” (Etc.)

I wrote a whole book on what I call “Wow Projects.” I think the word “Wow” per se is impor-
tant. Ask, “Is this business process overhaul a true ʻWowʼ?” and youʼll launch a completely

different discussion than if you talk about “providing useful deliverables.” Again, I hardly

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denigrate “useful deliverables.” (Just like my support of “exceeds expectations.”) Itʼs just that

thereʼs just so much more to life—especially in wild and wacky times.

Management guru Jim Collins coined the phrase BHAG, or...Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

(Hurray.) Steve Jobsʼ mantra is...Insanely Great. (Hurray again.) I began this treatise (point

No. 1!) extolling...Technicolor. Very near the heart of the Technicolor spirit is...Technicolor

Language. Its conscious use makes an enormous difference in how we live and how we work.

35. What matters is...Stuff That Matters.

I was writing a long article on leadership some time back, and I felt some nagging discom-
fort. I had offered a decent enough list of leadership “tools” and “strategies.” And yet I felt as

if something was missing. Finally, I had a...Big Whoops Moment. “Everything” was there but

“It.” It = Why the Hell Are We Doing “It” in the First Place?

Virgin Group boss Richard Branson sums “It” up brilliantly: “I never, ever thought of myself as

a businessman. I was interested in creating things I would be proud of.” Former Herman Miller

chief Max De Pree puts it this way: “Management has a lot to do with answers. Leadership is a

function of questions. And the first question for a leader always is ʻWho do we intend to be?ʼ”

Strategy guru Gary Hamel turns all this into a commandment for future enterprise success in

todayʼs confusing and uncomfortable world. He argues that new success means “creating a

ʻcause,ʼ not a ʻbusiness.ʼ”

Consider: “proud of”...“intend to be”...“cause.” ( = Nice. Nice. Nice.)

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One evening, after a desultory session with some very senior executives whom I found most

uninspiring, I went on to a meeting with high school and university students who had been

picked to attend the affair on the basis of their leadership potential. What a time I had! Again

and again they put me on the spot, asking irritating questions such as, “Whatʼs your evidence

that youʼve made the world a better place in the 20 years since In Search of Excellence?” Wow!

Alas, it struck me (after being dumbstruck) that it is so rare for someone over, say, 25 or 35

to ask fundamental questions like that.

We either lose our nerve, or politely sweep the True Basics under the carpet.

Perhaps every board needs 20-year-olds who ask embarrassing-but-fundamental questions.

In any event, all of us need to constantly keep the “only stuff that matters” issue front and

center.

36. eALL. (IS/IT: Half-way = No-way.)

Iʼm no lad, not by a long shot. But I have a ladʼs love. For the new technologies. They “change

everything.” For the better? Not always, of course. Nothing with so monumental an impact

comes without monumental baggage as well.

Most businesslanguage is: dry...unemotional... stilted...formal. And yet...business...at its best...

is the opposite of all these things.

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The IS/IT revolution was noisy in the ʼ90s. Itʼs mostly quiet in the ʼ00s. But this new-fangled...

Double-Os Stealth Revolution...is of an enormity not easily described. While thereʼs more to

the story, the potency of the Wal*Marts and eBays and Schwabs and Ciscos and Amazons...

and, yes, WTO-IMF protesters, and perhaps al Qaeda...is a direct byproduct of the IS/IT Web

(barely) unleashed. And what about the wee tots humbling the recording and video industries

as I write?

Perhaps every board needs 20-year-olds who

ask embarrassing-but-fundamental questions.

And...

The IS/IT/Web Revolution...again: in its infancy...changes...POSITIVELY EVERYTHING.

Some will embrace it. With a loverʼs passion. Some will deny it. With a Ludditeʼs scorn. But

none can avoid it or undo it or derail it.

The subtext of this item: Half-way = No-way. One either gets on this bus...with full-bore

vigor...or misses the game. Thatʼs the way I see it.

So...

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37. DREAM! Dream...BIG!

Dream...ENORMOUS! Dream

GARGANTUAN! (This is an XXXXL Time!)

I came across a wonderful quote from Lewis Carroll: “ʻThereʼs no use trying,ʼ said Alice. ʻOne

canʼt believe impossible things.ʼ ʻI daresay you havenʼt had much practice,ʼ said the Queen.

ʻWhen I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes Iʼve believed as

many as six impossible things before breakfast.ʼ”

While I want Bill Gates to live a long life, I think that would be a heck-of-a-Gatesian epitaph.

I suspect Billʼs garden-variety day amounts to at least six Impossible Dreams...before Sunday

brunch...most of which are “executed” on or before the next Sundayʼs fare is laid out.

To deal with the metabolism of the times calls for 25-hour days. It also, at least as impor-
tantly, calls for daydreamers, for the ability to routinely imagine the unimaginable. Welcome

to...Gates World.

Or: Jobs World. Or: Ellison World.

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38. Thanks Mike!

Okay, Michelangelo, to you, not...Mike. Iʼve seen it on postcards. And seen it on T-shirts. And

yet somehow itʼs never hackneyed to me. Namely:

The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it,

but that it is too low and we reach it.

Hackneyed or new to you, if that doesnʼt make one stop dead in oneʼs tracks...and ponder the

meaning of life...then nothing else will.

39. There is (Perhaps?!) only...

One Big Issue.

Crappy X-Functional Communications.

How silly, eh? But “one”...Big Issue? One? Number 1?

I THINK IʼM RIGHT. (Partial proof: This apparently secondary idea rates a full stand-alone

chapter in my latest book.)

Consider this, from Frank Lekanne Deprez and René Tissen in Zero Space: Moving Beyond

Organizational Limits: “The organizations we created have become tyrants. They have taken

control, holding us fettered, creating barriers that hinder rather than help our businesses. The

lines that we drew on our neat organizational diagrams have turned into walls that no one can

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scale or penetrate or even peer over.” Have you ever read a better description of our faulty

response to terrorism (for instance), pre-9/11? Or Searsʼ resistance to the reality of Wal*Mart?

Or IBMʼs inability to see the Gates Train coming?

Or...

Many decades ago, to deal with growing enterprise complexity, we invented (see the era of

the First Transcontinental Railroad) “middle management.” “It” was invaluable. (There was

nothing else...really nothing else...able to deal with the unimaginably complex, integrative

tasks of the time.)

And then...“it”...strangled us. And then...circa 1980, or ʼ85, or ʼ90...the New Technology...al-
lowed a few upstarts (e.g. CNN) to flummox the Tired Old Ways of Doing Things. The horse

was let out of the barn...the genie escaped the bottle.

(Oh my.)

Itʼs early. (VERY EARLY.) The Philosopher-King of New Org World has yet to appear. (Fact:

We are still in a...State of Flux.) Yet the...idea...of pursuing...“frictionless” organizations and

frictionless families of organizations (e.g., the way life works at Wal*Mart or Dell) has taken

firm root.

I suspect it will take the arrival of todayʼs...Texting Youth...into “enterprise” to bring this all

to fruition. But make no mistake. (MAKE NO MISTAKE.) The New Age has (ALREADY) arrived

among the...seven-to-thirteen-year-olds. And itʼs coming soon to your neighborhood mega-
corp!

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Stop doing dumb stuff.

(Systematize the process of un-dumbing.)

Systems are dumb! Dumb! Necessary? Necessary! But dumb! Systems effectively provide

coarse rules for processing information and channeling it appropriately.

Such coarse rules, over time, are refined...and refined then again. And thatʼs where dumb

systems turn into...Truly Stupid Encumbrances. Well, I have an answer. First...do it right the

first time. That is: Create...elegant...systems. (See No. 41.) (Elegant = Great Word. As I said...

more below.) But thatʼs not enough...

I have a dream...

And in my dream...there are two executive offices...on opposite sides of a corridor. A sign

on the door of Office No. 1: “Chief Systems Engineer.” (Grade 25, out of 30.) On Office No. 2:

“Chief Systems Destroyer.” (Grade 26, out of 30.)

Systems: Must have them!

Systems: Must hate them!

Systems: Must design them!

Systems: Must un-design them!

One growth company rightly turned toward developing systems appropriate to its New Scale.

But execs subsequently (rather quickly) observed these very same (necessary) systems began

to sap the...Spirit of the Enterprise. The solution: Create, if you will, the anti-system system.

In their case, an EVP/SOUB...an Executive Vice-President/Stomping Out Unnecessary Bullshit.

Love it!

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41. Beautiful systems...are

...b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l!

A big part of “the Problem” cited in the last few items is, alas, the character of most systems

designers...and systems departments. Doubtless, the occupants thereof are:

1. smart,

2. organized, and

3. well-intentioned.

But the mentality is, overall, what I call the...Re-engineering Mentality. Absolutely necessary.

Severely limiting.

FedEx. Southwest Airlines. eBay. Dell. Each the product of an...Ingenious System. But...as I

see it...from the start so much more than “good wiring.” Try...“Inspirational Wiring.” Or better

yet, how about: “Beautiful Systems”? You see, I think “systems” that “sing” are...Beautiful...

Aesthetic Triumphs...Gorgeous...Breathtaking...Graceful...even Divine.

Thatʼs my gauntlet thrown down: Every-System-an-Aesthetic-Triumph...or...off with the

Heads of the Systemsʼ Designers!

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42. The...WHITE-COLLAR REVOLUTION...will...

Devour...Everything...in Its Path.

Think red tide. As in...red tide of White-Collar Professional Blood. Current status:

THE DAWN HAS BARELY BROKEN. THE CUP HATH NOT YET RUN OVER.

An unprecedented jobless recovery, circa 2002-2003. Productivity: Up (dramatically). Wages:

Steady or up. Economy: Growing. New jobs: Down. Manufacturing jobs: Way down. (But that

manufacturing game has long been over.) Service jobs: Problems. High-pay service jobs:

Emerging problems. Managerial jobs: Emerging problems.

The microprocessor-software-ERP-Internet-etc. revolution replaces jobs in two distinct

ways: (1) The new, smart software-chips directly displace workers. And (2) The new, smart

networks make it easy to shift white-collar jobs offshore. Clerical jobs? (Of course.) Highly

technical jobs? (Whoops.) (But itʼs happening.) Managerial jobs? (One study pegs U.S. mana-
gerial job losses to offshore competitors at over 300,000 by 2010.) Jobs of every variety...go-
ing...going...(perhaps) gone.

Weʼve done it. Before. On (off!) the Farm. Into the Factory. Out of the factory. Into the Tower.

And now weʼre doing it. Again. Exiting the white-collar towers. It is an epic transformation.

The scramble is on.

The pace of technological change accelerates. There is no turning back.

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43. Take charge of your destiny. (No option.)

It is a Brand New, Brand You World.

(Distinct or...Extinct.)

Some get it. And thatʼs an understatement. Dan Pink, in his path-breaking Free Agent Nation,

contends that already 30 million to 50 million of us Americans work in unconventional jobs.

Unconventional, meaning not toiling in the Tall Towers of Fortune 500 or Fortune 1000 com-
panies. E.g.: Some 20 million of us are freelancers in one form or another; there are about five

million temps (Manpower Inc. is now our No. 1 private sector employer); almost another 20

million toil in “micro-businesses,” with four or less employees.

The point: A lot of us have, in effect, traded dependence for independence. (Voluntarily or

otherwise.)

That Very Big Band of, say, 40 million of us inherently get the challenge laid down by Wiredʼs

Michael Goldhaber: “If there is nothing very special about your work, no matter how hard you

apply yourself you wonʼt get noticed, and that means you wonʼt get paid much, either.” (Or,

as I said immediately above...youʼll be part of todayʼs or tomorrowʼs Red Tide of White-Collar

Professional Bloodbath.) So the good news: Thereʼs lots of good news! Lots of us “get it.” And

not just the Einsteins. The bad news: A helluva lot of us are quaking in our boots...over the

possibility of breaking out, breaking loose from what was a lifetime promise of “steady” em-
ployment.

The answer for the Boot Quakers? Thereʼs no guaranteed 12-step approach to shedding, say,

three generations of dependence on GM or GE. But I do believe thereʼs a counterintuitive first

step.

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That first step: Forget more effective “career planning”! Forget attending seminars or starting

your own business! Instead, look much closer to home: I.e., examine anew the project you are

working on...right now. Todayʼs project is the movie you are producing, the story youʼll add

to your portfolio/CV.

Axiom: Future success = Quality of Product/Project Portfolio. Stars have...Great Portfolios.

Also-rans merely have a collection of “completed assignments”...worthy of survival in yester-
dayʼs world. Thence, to “take charge of your life” (the capital idea of this point) means first to

take...Immediate Charge of Your Current Project.

Turning the volume up a notch, I urge you on or about 12/31/04 to begin drafting your First

Annual Report (Tom in 2004, complete with tag line: “The Year of Design,” or some such).

In my companyʼs training for Brand You, our approach to this begins with a “Personal Brand

Equity Evaluation,” which consists of the following six items:

1. I am known for [two to three things];

next year at this time Iʼll be known for [one more thing].

2. My current project is challenging me in the following [two ways].

3. New things Iʼve learned in the last 90 days include [two items].

“If there is nothing very special about your work...

you won’t get noticed, and that means

you won’t get paid much, either.”

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4. My public “recognition program” consists of [one item].

5. Important additions to my Rolodex in the last 90 days include

[one to two names].

6. My resume is...discernibly different...from last yearʼs at this time

[in one or two ways].

Incidentally, another angle we take on this is more or less forcing people to imagine that the

other shoe drops...and to prepare a one-eighth or one-quarter page electronic Yellow Pages

ad for...themselves.

Bottom line: You are a damn fool if you donʼt assume that 36 months from now youʼll be

looking for a job...and given the nature of the change that surrounds us, youʼd best have a

beaut of a story to tell.

The...Story of You.

Turning the volume up a notch, I urge you on or about

12/31/04 to begin drafting your First AnnualReport.

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44. Powerlessness is a State of Mind!

(Think King. Think Gandhi. Think de Gaulle.)

I have a clear belief: Powerlessness is an advantage, not a disadvantage. Why? Because “pow-
erless” people work in nooks and crannies, and are invisible enough to be able to surrepti-
tiously pursue contrarian strategies.

Basic idea: Youʼve got a cool idea...and you are formally “powerless.” Worst approach: try and

sell the idea “up the chain of command.” Itʼs the worst approach because (1) you are power-
less; and (2) your “cool” idea, by definition, challenges the tenets that got the hierarchs pro-
moted.

Alternative strategy: Model F4 (Find a Fellow Freak Faraway.) Or: F2F!/K2K!/K2KK!/1@T/RF!A

(Freak-to-Freak. Kook-to-Kook. Kook-to-Kooky-Kustomer. One at a Time. Ready. Fire! Aim.)

Point: “Powerless” people need Friends. More precisely, one friend. One playmate. One person

who will share his/her playpen and passion...so that you and she/he can test/pilot your kool-
kooky idea.

Recall I said that step No. 1 on the Brand You Liberation Trail is re-conceiving todayʼs proj-
ect...to turn it into an Implemented Gem. Same deal here. We need a...Cool Test. And a...Test

Bed. Now.

Roseanne provides the Guiding Mantra for all this: “Nobody gives you power. You just take it.”

I believe this is an/the idea for the ages. But more important in the context of these musings,

such an approach has quickly become a...Survival Imperative for the Double-Os.

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45. Pursue...Adventures...in every task.

My PowerPoint slides turn over at the rate of 25 percent every 90 to 120 days. Why? Mostly, to

keep me from dying of boredom! My first professional obligation is to amuse myself. Sound

absurd? I disagree. I “win” with my clients to the extent that I am fresh, vital, and provocative.

Thence, first and foremost, I must turn myself on...by chasing ever-new lions and wildebeests.

The bigger idea:

1. Individuals who succeed turn conventional “assignments” and “tasks” into Adventures

and Quests.

2. Bosses who succeed (think Ferdinand and Isabella and Columbus) send

employees on Quests & Adventures to places that surprise both boss and

individual questor.

Quest! I love that word! As much as I hate the word “task” or “assignment.”

Quest (Adventure) is about...Stuff That Matters! The world wobbles on its axis solely as a

result of...Quests & Adventures!

Consequences:

1. INDIVIDUAL RULE NO. 1: Win = Re-purpose your “task,” no matter how trivial, until it

becomes a Quest. (Not so incidentally, if you are comfortable...you are not on a quest.

Quests are about imagining and pursuing alternative futures.)

2. BOSS RULE NO. 1: Can you honestly say that each & every employee who reports to you is

on a Quest? That they in turn view their job as creating/executing Quests?

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46. Excellence is a state of mind.

(Excellence takes but a...Minute. No baloney.)

I donʼt believe in the tooth fairy. And I donʼt own a pair of rose-colored glasses. On the other

hand, I do believe: I believe in the possibility of turning any task, assignment, project, or

job into a Gem-Mighty Quest. I believe in the possibility of widespread excellence. Note, I

said...possibility. Of Excellence.

The evolving white-collar world...will leave little or

no room for “ordinary” performance.

Recall: Distinct...or Extinct.

There is, of course, a surpassing amount of pain and strife in the world. Always has been.

Always will be. And there are, alas, at least as many lousy days as scintillating days. (Witness

Dilbertʼs all too accurate portrayal of Cubicle Slavery.)

That said, the evolving white-collar world described above will leave little or no room for

“ordinary” performance—in HR, IS, Logistics, Purchasing, Engineering, Finance, or elsewhere.

Recall: Distinct...or Extinct.

So: Q.E.D. The case for Necessary Excellence has been made as well as I can make it.

Enter Old Tom. That is...Thomas Watson...the de facto IBM founder. Rumor has it that Watson

was once asked, “How long does it take to achieve Excellence?” His response, pre-dating Ken

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Blanchard by decades, was, “A minute.” He continued by claiming that Excellence (and, yes,

letʼs capitalize that “E”) was entirely in the hands of the perpetrator, no matter how “junior” or

“powerless.” Excellence? A state of mind! A decision, actually, per Watson. A decision...right

now...to...never again...do anything that was not excellent.

Harder done than said, of course. For many reasons, but least of which is that excellence (an

obsession, by definition) often does not fit comfortably in lackadaisical settings.

“How long does it take to achieve Excellence?”

His response, pre-dating Ken Blanchard by

decades was, “A minute.”

Some have argued that AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) is the most effective change program

ever. Buy that or not, the AA model is the Watson-Excellence model. How long does it take to

stop drinking? But a second. And then the hard work begins. One day at a time. Forever. The

Great News: Excellence is Cool! Excellence is Fun! The Excellence Attitude reduces stress: I.e.,

one perceives with deep conviction that one is pursuing a...Worthy Quest; you neednʼt think

twice. Is “it”...Excellent? (Or not?)

If youʼre an exercise freak (I am...most of the time), you know exactly what Iʼm talking about.

You may be breathless...but thereʼs little thatʼs more self-(self-ish-ly) satisfying than knowing

that youʼve pushed yourself right to the edge of the possible...and then a little beyond. That

feeling, I contend, is replicable.

On any task. At any time. Does “it” turn you on? Will “it” have been marked by...Excellence?

And if not, precisely what do you plan to do about it? Right now?

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47. Show up!

(If you care, you are there.)

Show up! Rudy! Case closed!

Woody Allen once said that 80 percent (or was it 90 percent?) of success is showing up. Texas

Bix Bender, purveyor of homilies: “You can pretend to care. You cannot pretend to be there.”

Sports superagent Mark McCormack claimed there are times when itʼs well worth a 5,000-

mile trip for a five-minute face-to-face meeting.

Consider 9/11. Rudy showed up! And seven million New Yorkers, plus a couple of hundred

million Americans, felt better for his ever-so-visible presence. His presence...per se.

I learned it early. And Iʼve never forgotten. “Being there” matters...Big Time. Iʼd go so far as to

say that three out of every four (or nine out of every 10) (or 99 out of every 100) of the most

intractable situations could have been ameliorated by...showing up...and are exacerbated

by...absence.

The idea holds at every level: How many deteriorating relationships, personal or professional,

could have been mended by one humbling (or even not so humbling) phone call...two days

ago...or two months ago? Call it death by 1,000 uncertainties. Perhaps the most potent force

Three out of every four...of the most intractable

situations could have been ameliorated by ...showing up...and are exacerbated by...absence.

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in the world is powerlessness—and/or paralysis—that comes from the confusion of the mo-
ment. The physical presence of the leader, even though she arrives bearing no Strategic Silver

Bullet, makes all the difference—and moves tens or tens of thousands out of the paralytic/

catatonic state and off the proverbial dime.

The Power of Presence. Never, ever underestimate it!

48. Your calendar knows all.

(You = Your calendar.)

Physiologically, we are indeed what we eat. Professionally, we are our calendar. Fact is, there is

only one surefire way for the boss to underscore her/his commitment to quality or empower-
ment or innovation or the Web or whatever: Spend (gobs of) Time on “It.”

Gandhi famously said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Tom, less

famously, says, “You are your calendar.” Your calendar reveals all. (All = All.) Translation, if

needed: Your calendar reveals like no other tool (such as soaring rhetoric) what you actually

care about.

The premier (only true!) indicator of caring is...Visibly Spending the Time:

• You = Your Calendar.

• Your True Priorities = Time Visibly Spent.

• I care = Itʼs on the Calendar. Big Time.

• I donʼt care/itʼs not a priority = It ainʼt repeatedly/relentlessly on the Calendar.

Axiom No. 1: Calendars Never Lie!

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All non-bosses are would-be Kremlinologists, as we used to call them; or intense Examiners

of Tea Leaves. Thereʼs no more important survival question for an underling than “Whatʼs

the Boss really thinking about?” And the answer is revealed...with crystal clarity...in that

bossʼs...Calendar. If she or he is spending (lotsa) time on quality...THEN QUALITY MATTERS. If

not...the converse is the case.

Thereʼs a crucial variation on this theme. I once watched a highly energetic chief ripped

asunder by a senior member of his board. “Richard,” the determined board member almost

shouted, “you are smart, energetic, creative to a fault, perhaps even a genius. But much of

your ʻgeniusʼ is dissipated because you apply it to ten different things at a time, albeit with

great skill.

“Let me tell you what you need,” he concluded. “A ʻto donʼtʼ list.ʼ”

I donʼt know about “Richard,” but for me that was a profound moment. Fact No. 1: We all have

50 genuine priorities. Fact No. 2: If we get even two Big Things Done in a six-year tenure on

the current job, we will have had a...Great Ride. Axiom No. 1: Therefore, what we choose not

to do (the sole subject of that “To Donʼt” list) is at least as important, or more important, as

what we choose to do.

And, finally, effective “To Donʼt-ing” is far, far more difficult than effective “To Do-ing.”

And, finally, effective “To Don’t-ing” is far,

far more difficult than effective “To Do-ing.”

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49. Life Is Sales.

(The rest is details.)

Our records of accomplishment are a function of our skill and devotion to...Sales. Period. True

of George W. Bush. And Billy Graham. And the symphony conductor, attempting to “sell” 80

professional instrumentalists on ascending peaks theyʼd never known before.

True of trainers. And financial professionals trying to convince bosses and underlings alike

to look at the world in a (slightly) new way. True of anthropology professors and third-grade

teachers, attempting to inflame 1 or 1,001 students about a topic.

“Influencing others to make anything happen...is a

matter of the studious application of sales principles.”

Sales! Sales! Sales!

Sales for breakfast! Sales for lunch! Sales for dinner! And dream about Sales as you sleep!

I canʼt count the number of “professionals” (accountants, engineers, artists) who have said

to me, “But I hate sales.” Or: “Sales is slimy, fundamentally delusional.” Or: “Iʼm not the ʻsales

type.ʼ” Or: “I have no knack for sales.”

And I virtually spit in return: “Influencing others to make anything happen—from a three-
percent raise to a political campaign for high office—is a matter of the studious application of

sales principles.”

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Oh dear, oh so many have spent oh so many years studying finance or purchasing or engi-
neering. And yet they wouldnʼt deign to study sales and marketing, influence and persuasion,

political science. Yet each of these disciplines (and they are that!) lends itself to study and

mastery and meticulous application.

Message: Success = Passion for Sales. (And thatʼs all, folks.)

Boss mantra No. 1: “I Don’t Know”

(I.D.K. = Ultimate Permission to Explore.)

I hate the term “empowerment.” I love the idea of...“I donʼt know.”

Empowerment typically translates into, “We the powerful deign to dribble some tantalizing

drops of reluctantly granted freedom on the unwashed masses.” On the other hand, “I donʼt

know” from the mouth of the boss means: “I donʼt know.”

Thence “I dare you to commence a Quest to the Unknown—and I will pray that you discover/

invent a New Place that Surprises us both—and literally takes our collective breaths away.”

I see “leadership” as...Launching Quests. Nirvana TP style: Hire Fabulous Talent. Beg that “tal-
ent” to Fulfill their Wildest Dreams...by avid and fearless exploration...pursuit of Kool Kwests.

(There will be a few rules. E.g.: integrity in all we do. Respect for oneʼs fellows—but not neces-
sarily oneʼs bosses. Action trumps talk...always. Other than these few strictures...go for it. Go

for it with...a new training course...a new purchasing procedure...a new product...a new what-
ever...and as long as you continually surprise me/us, your License to Explore will remain valid.)

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Thereʼs another (critical) twist to this. In the absurdist days of, say, 2003...the boss does not

know. He or she is like a King or Queen in the Age of Exploration a half millennium ago. The

boss imagines limitless riches in lands faraway...but isnʼt even sure whether the earth is flat

or round. Hence, he or she bankrolls Intrepid Explorers—and fires 100 or 1,000 cannons

from the shoreline as he or she sends said explorers off on a five-year trek to the Complete

Unknown.

Sounds good to me!

51. Management Rule/Role No. 1:

GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY.

(“Manager” = Hurdle Removal Professional.)

Peter Drucker once famously said, “Ninety percent of what we call ʻmanagementʼ consists of

making it difficult for people to get things done.”

Fact: Project teams pursuing exciting goals run into a thousand hurdles. In my experience,

itʼs seldom the Big Hurdles (Is the idea worth doing?) that get them off track. Instead itʼs a

thousand “trivial” roadblocks—a shortage of travel funds, lack of access to another unitʼs

data, being shuffled from workspace to workspace—that torpedo the potentially Wow Project.

Thence...it is the job of the Chief to concoct a Great Team (for sure) and then help them

concoct an Exciting Roadmap (for sure); but mostly itʼs the Chiefʼs Job No. 1 to roll up his/her

sleeves, dive into the grubby details—and remove those “trivial” barriers that look like moun-
tains to those involved.

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While some see the chief as Master Strategist, I see her/him as Master Housekeeper,

Assistant-in-Chief to her/his project teams. Or: Hurdle Removal Professional. From flawless

execution of such humble (removal) chores emerges the Project Team that takes the Gold...

and makes our Chief famous!

52. Avoid the epitaph from hell:

“He would have done some really cool stuff

but his boss wouldn’t let him.”

No, I repeat, I do not own a pair of rose-colored glasses. But the hair on the back of my neck

does bristle when I hear, from anyone at any age, the commonplace, “blah, blah, blah...but

my boss wouldnʼt let me.”

Okay, so I am 60. And one thinks more of legacy and the like at 60 than at 46, 36, or cer-
tainly 16. Still:

1. Itʼs never too early to Dream Big, and

2. Those who dwell on the “Why I cantʼs” at age 16 will probably still be doing exactly the

same thing at age 66!

Epitaphs are personal. Not corporate. We may well be born disadvantaged physically, or from

a socioeconomic standpoint. Still it is our forthcoming epitaph, and our primary lifeʼs task—

come hell and high water—to make our own way, carve our own niche. To matter. (Or not.)

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Iʼm not talking about getting rich. Or becoming President. Iʼm talking about my (alas) ob-
servation that, as usual, there are two kinds of people: Those who see barriers...and hunker

down. And those who see barriers and more or less rub their hands with glee...and batter

them down, or artfully twist past them.

Lord...do with me what you will. But please, oh please, donʼt stick me in Complainersʼ Corner!

Iʼm here! Iʼm alive! Iʼm vital! And itʼs my game to play!

53. Change takes however

long you think it takes.

The query goes more or less like this: “So how long does it take to create an ʻempowerment

programʼ with teeth?” My answer: 17 years. Or: 17 days.

In short: If you think it will take 17 (or 3.5) years, it probably will. If you think 17 (or 87) days

will do the trick...youʼre probably spot on.

Much (most?) of life is about self-fulfilling prophecy. (Believe it.) Mount a three-month hunt

for “empowerment consultants” to help us with our program...and I wager youʼll still be in the

“planning phase” of your “empowerment program” for the next year or so. But boldly de-
clare that “Empowerment is Strategic Priority No. 1”...and that you want five initiatives, to be

funded at one million dollars each, within 30 days, with more or less full implementation of a

prototype to follow 90 days thereafter...and Iʼll bet youʼll see Serious Results...within 60 days.

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After those 60 frenetic days will there still be work to do? Of course! A lifetimeʼs worth! No

true strategic initiative is ever complete; it must be re-worked and re-imagined forever and

ever. Still, Earth Will Have Moved, the Seas Will Have Parted, and the New Die Will Have Been

Cast...within 30 days. (Believe it.) Axiom: Major change takes...30 days...or 3 Years. Your

choice!

54. Respect!

A story I heard tells of a great consultant called in to teach an executive class on leadership.

His fee was stratospheric. He arrived, nodded at the “class,” turned to the whiteboard behind

him, picked up a marker and wrote, “Donʼt Belittle.” Then he turned. And departed. (And

religiously sent his hefty invoice.)

Iʼd not be surprised if this fellow earned his fee 100 times over. Or: One thousand times over.

(And only wish I had the nerve to do the same thing!) Harvard professor Sara Lawrence-
Lightfoot authored a marvelous book with a marvelous one-word title: Respect! “It was much

later,” she wrote at one point, “that I realized Dadʼs secret. He gained respect by giving it. He

talked and listened to the fourth-grade kid in Spring Valley who shined shoes the same way

he talked and listened to a bishop or college president. He was seriously interested in who

you were and what you had to say.”

Donʼt belittle! Respect! Wonderful recipes for decent living. (No small thing.) And wonderful

recipes for successful leadership of units varying in size from 2 to 200,000.

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Iʼd add, if itʼs necessary, that thereʼs nothing in the least bit “soft” about this idea. Itʼs hard.

Hard as granite boulders. Respect, to me, means my respect for what you are capable of

doing, for who you are capable of becoming. In fact, the ultimate mark of disrespect is to be

“nice” when oneʼs protégé falls short of what she or he is worthy of becoming. I may well be

empathetic, but my empathy will mostly be expressed by giving you a hand up—and then

nudging you back into the fray. Immediately.

55. “Thank you” trumps all!

“The deepest human need is the need to be appreciated.”

— William James, psychologist

“The two most powerful things in existence—a kind word and a thoughtful gesture.”

— Ken Langone, co-founder of Home Depot

“You must care.”

— Melvin Zais, General, U.S. Army

Iʼve been writing about this “little” topic for longer than I can remember. I donʼt plan to stop

anytime soon.

Life is frantic. Hardly time to catch a breath. Precariousness is the Name of the Game—every

hour of every day. Hence: This is the Perfect Opportunity to...Take a Moment...to pass on a

Small Marker of Appreciation...to someone...almost anyone...who has been of help in weather-
ing our storm over the last 24 hours (or the last 24 years!)

Iʼd add that the evidence is clear: “Thanks yous” are few and far between. So: Do something

about it! Appreciate! Thereʼs nothing more powerful! Starting time: Today!

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56. Integrity matters!

(Integrity = Credibility.)

Roosevelt evaded the Constitution to help the Brits in 1940. Lincoln did the same four score

years before. Which is to say that the most effective leaders have violated their most sacred

oaths upon occasion.

Yet that does not negate the fact (perhaps it reinforces it!) that integrity is the Effective

Leaderʼs Tool No. 1. That is, followers can smell sulfurous air from miles away. And can smell

the opposite—moral conviction—from at least as many miles away. The leader may be wrong.

The leader may have to tack and jibe with the shifting winds. Nonetheless, his or her inherent

decency and fundamental humanity...will shine through. (OR NOT.)

57. Soft is Hard. Hard is Soft.

(Numbers are “soft.” People are “hard.”)

When Bob Waterman and I hit the road in 1982 in pursuit of excellence, we were on a Quixotic

Mission. Excellence. “Everybody” in business knew what “it” meant! A brilliant, MBA-engi-
neered Strategic Plan! (And donʼt forget to capitalize the “S” and “P”.) People at the top who

dreamed in numbers! Call it the Age of...The Best Plan Wins. Call it the...Era of the MBA.

(Call it...Stupid?)

But we found something(s) else. Firms that honored employees...delighted in the provision

of excellent service...cherished obstreperous “internal” entrepreneurs...lived by a core set of

values.

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Yes!

Yes!

Yes!

Still...what we found was then considered...“soft”...by the regnant business intellectual class.

And so Bob and I, 20 years before the Enron-WorldCom numbers fiasco, coined a term:

Hard is Soft.

Soft is Hard.

Itʼs some of the numbers and most of the plans that are figments of deluded imaginations,

we said. Itʼs the values and people and service and attitude toward risk taking that are the

(hard, need I say) Bedrock of Enterprise Excellence.

Fact is, the numbers are terribly important. They are, however, the abstract by-products of

collective individual actions that certify whether or not you are on track. But if there was

a singular business failing in 1982 (the birth date of In Search of Excellence) which dogs

us to this day, it is/was the failure to pay enough attention to this so-called “soft stuff.”

Certification of the above recently came from former IBM chief Lou Gerstnerʼs autobiogra-
phy. Gerstner, King of Strategic Thinking and Planning, acknowledged that he would have

preferred to side-step the “soft” “cultural issues” when he began his rescue of IBM. Yet he

acknowledged...WHOLEHEARTEDLY...that wholesale “culture change” turned out to be the key

to his unparalleled success. Nice.

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58. Try sunny! Dispense enthusiasm!

Fire the merchants of doom and gloom, counseled the legendary ad man David Ogilvy. One

sour apple, he counseled, can cause the whole bushel to rot! Renowned symphony conductor

and management guru Ben Zander says of his musical role, “I am a dispenser of enthusiasm.”

And: “A leader is a dealer in hope” — Napoleon.

Lou Cannon was the member of the press closest to Ronald Reagan. Reagan, he said, “radi-
ated an almost transcendent happiness.” (Hint: it was contagious, even among his foes, like

me.)

Message:

Torpor begets torpor.

Enthusiasm begets enthusiasm.

Clouds beget gloom.

Sunshine begets energy.

Losers see cups as half empty.

Winners see cups as half full.

Despair begets despair.

Hope begets hope.

(Or: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.)

Could life be so simple? Of course not.

On the other hand, the above constitutes a medicine chest with potent tonics...

well worth considering...at age 16...or 66.

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59. Fun...is not a...Four-Letter Word

(so, too, Joy).

Iʼm an engineer by training...and disposition. A civil engineer at that. Me and mine groove

on the concrete. And concrete per se. So I surprised myself when I wrote, “Leadership is all

about love.” Then I defined love, TP-variety: passion; enthusiasm; appetite for life; engage-
ment; commitment; great causes and determination to make a difference; shared adventures;

bizarre failures; growth; unslakable appetite for change.

Fun. Joy. Two marvelous words. Words seldom uttered in the sober halls of enterprise.

(Words, words, words...remember?)

Fun? Fun! I often advise youngsters, “Never go to work in a place where laughter is not the

hallmark, where quiet rules.” (Speaking of “rules,” hereʼs Education Rule No. 1: Deep learning

does not occur in a quiet classroom. Think about it.)

Laughter, to me, is hardly about ribald jokes. (Mostly gone, and hurray for that.) Laughter is

all about the...Joy of the Hunt. And the fact that we are engaged in a hearty, long-odds Quest

to conquer the Everest or K-2 or Mount McKinley of HR or IS or Logistics or Sales or New

Product Development.

Fun! Joy!

Each/both should be a life staple, a business staple. They (joy, fun) are, clearly, precursors

to...Brilliant Quests into the Unknown. (Right.)

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Grace.

Celeste Cooper, designer: “My favorite word is ʻgraceʼ—whether itʼs ʻamazing grace,ʼ ʻsaving

grace,ʼ ʻgrace under fire,ʼ ʻGrace Kelly.ʼ How we live contributes to beauty—whether itʼs how

we treat other people or the environment.”

Ah, yes, words. (Again.) Iʼve fallen madly in love with...“grace.” And itʼs led me to wonder,

“Why so little discussion of (the likes of) ʻgraceʼ in management books, or in the hallways and

conference rooms of enterprise?”

Enterprises, after all, exist only to...serve. Serve...employees. Serve...customers. Serve...ven-
dors. Serve communities and serve shareholders. Service is an act of...grace.

My favorite synonym finder, Rodaleʼs, offers these analogues to grace: elegance...charm...

loveliness...poetry in motion...kindliness...benevolence...benefactor...compassion...beauty.

To be sure (youʼll see it in this paper, I presume), I believe in the rough and tumble of com-
petitive business. After all, Iʼm a Technicolor Guy. But I also believe that a passion for chang-
ing the world is no excuse for running roughshod over oneʼs fellows.

Ah, yes, grace.

Does it have any place in business? Foolish question, Iʼd say. Of course it does.

This I Believe.
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