Tom Peters’ excellence. Always. Xalways. Long. 1339. 05October2006 X. Al excellence. Always. Slides* at … tompeters com *also “long” The Irreducible209+/ Sales122/60tibs

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Tom Peters’ EXCELLENCE. ALWAYS. XAlways.LONG.1339.05October2006


Slides* at … *also “long”

The Irreducible209+/ Sales122/60TIBs

A frustrated participant at a seminar for investment bankers in Mauritius listened impatiently to my explanation of differences of opinion among me, Mike Porter, Gary Hamel, Jim Collins, etc. Finally, he’d had enough. “What, if anything,” he asked, “do you believe ‘for sure’?” I mumbled something, but his query started rumbling around in my mind. Three days later, wandering on a Sunday in London, the idea of “the irreducibles” occurred to me—and I started jotting down notes on stuff I do indeed believe “for sure.” Before I knew it, a few days later, the list had grown to 209 items. Hence “The Irreducible209” that follows. Tom Peters

  • 1. Hare 1, Tortoise 0. (Hare-y times.)
  • 2. Tempo. (O.O.D.A.)
  • 3. MBWA.
  • 4. Appreciation. (“Motivator” #1.)
  • (Can’t be faked. Good.)
  • 5. Decency.
  • 6. Hurry.
  • 7. Time out.
  • 8. One matters.
  • 9. Big change. Short time. (Alt not work.)
  • 10. Excellence. Always.
  • 11. Passion. Energy. Hustle. Enthusiasm.
  • Exuberance. (Move mountains. No alt.)
  • 12. You must care.
  • 13. Emotion.
  • 14. Hard is soft. (Soft is hard.)



  • . “Everyone lives by selling something.”
  • – Robert Louis Stevenson

A Few Biases You Should Know About *I am not a macro-economist. *I am wholly biased by 30 years (1970-2000) in Silicon Valley. *I would rather work for eBay than BankAmerica. *I believe that the Giant Merger Game is the single greatest waste of energy in the world of business. *Economies of scale are wildly over-rated. *I find the entire notion of “career” to be disturbing and a little silly. *I find the notion of “built to last” hilarious. *Between 1965 and 1980 I turned 179.9 degrees from “Mr Big Government” to “Mr ‘Cool’ Entrepreneur.” (Thank you, Frank Perdue.) *Joseph Schumpeter (“gales of creative destruction”) and F.A. Hayek are my economist “gods”; JK Galbraith is my bête noir. *“Innovation” is a wonderfully messy & chaotic process—not amenable to “strategic plans.” *I believe in Luck. (Fooled by Randomness—best book I’ve ever read.)

A Few Biases You Should Know About *I find most strategic plans (and strategic planners) to be amusing. *I am not … Mike Porter. *I am not … Peter Drucker. *I am not … Jim Collins. *I believe that the resilience of Giant Companies is wildly-absurdly over-rated. *I believe that America’s productivity edge comes from car dealers more than Giant Cos. *No “business model” is “the last word.” *I am a Great Believer in “the basics”: product, people, customers, execution. (Hence there is nothing very interesting, save one thing, in In Search of Excellence.) *I believe that EXCELLENCE is a legitimate aspiration for each of us; and that any lesser aspiration is unconscionable.

Execution. (Discipline.) Accountability. Action, a Bias for. (S.A.V./R.F.A.) Relentless. Experimentation. (“Innovate or Die.” “He who makes …”) Adaptability. (Plan B; “We eat …”) “In the moment.” (Bertolucci.) Senility. Exuberance. Fun. Technicolor. Wow! (Extreme Language.) Quest-Adventure. By Invitation. Talent. Roster. ($21M.) Weird. (Hangin’ Out + Bottlenecks.) D-squared/“Dramatic Difference.” Up-Up-Up the “VA Ladder.” Trifecta: Wow Projects-Brand You-PSF. (No Option.) Design. Women. 4-40/D.E.A.615. (60TIBs; IRR209.) EXCELLENCE.


TP’s “23Passions” by date: 1942-2006

B>A* (R.F.A.) (*Behavior drives Attitude) … ’71-’06 Implementation = #1 … ’73-’77 (’06) “Soft is Hard” (“Management Style”) … ’77-’79 (’06) (Org) Structure>Strategy … ’77-’83 (’06) Strategy-Structure+/ “McKinsey 7-S” Model ... ’77-’81 Action>Planning … ’74-’06 Mess = Reality ... ’77-’06 Skunkworks/Skunks (“Offline” Innovation/Innovators) … ’84-’91 MBWA … ’80-’85 (’06) Excellence I … ’79-’84 Mid-size biz is cool … ’84-’89 (’06) Customer service … ’84-’88 Innovation … ’87-’92 Free trade/Hayek … ’90-’92 New Org Models … ’92-’96 PSF … ’92-’06 WOW! (WOW Projects) … ’93-’06 Brand You … ’94-’00 Design … ’94-’06 Women (Markets-Leaders) … ’96-’06 EXCELLENCE II … ’06-?? Healthcare (Quality-Wellness-PatientCentric) … ’06-?? Exuberance-Passion (Soft is Hard) … ’42-’06


To The Mat: The “5 Damn Its” Women. PSF. Brand you. R.f.a. EXCELLENCE. ALWAYS.

M.I.A. Action! * Implementation! ** The Work Itself! *** *R.F.A. **Execution ***WOW Projects!

  • “Never forget implementation boys. In our work it’s what I call the ‘missing 98 percent’ of the client puzzle.” —Al McDonald


Revolution-Transformation. (No long runs on Broadway-Senility.) “Soft”>“Hard.” (Culture or Bust.) Execution-Action. (Do>Think.) Clean Sheet of Paper. (Web2.0, Transparency, New Org Form—Itinerant Potential Machines.) PSF-Brand You-Wow Projects. Up-Up-Up the VA Ladder. (Gamechanging Solutions-Eyepopping Experiences-Dream Merchants-Lovemarks.) Weird. (Innovation “Easy.”) Energy-Enthusiasm-Relentlessness. Excellence. Always.

That’s a Big Number ….


  • Schools & Shifting Tectonic Plates
  • In: "economics, technology, social customs and globalization."
  • Out: Socialism in general ("one short chapter"). Chinese communism before the 1979 economic revolution ("a sentence"). Mao ("only once--in a chapter on etiquette").
  • Source: The New York Times, p1, 0901.2006, on reported on revised history textbooks for high school seniors in Shanghai, China.

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