Tom Peters’ Re-Imagine excellence!

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“Tom, you left out one thing …”

“Tom, you left out one thing … Leaders enjoy leading!”

  • “Unremarkable” except for RESULTS: Superb people developer
  • (her/his folks invariably
  • amazed at what
  • they’ve accomplished!)
  • “Among the most effective leaders I have encountered and worked with in half a century, some have locked themselves into their offices and others were ultra-gregarious. Some were quick and impulsive, some studied the situation and took forever to come to a decision. The one and only personality trait the effective ones did have in common was something they did not have: They had little or no ‘charisma,’ and little use for the term.” —Peter Drucker, in Susan Cain,
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking


LEADERSHIP IS A SACRED TRUST.* *President, classroom teacher, CEO, shop foreman

  • "Leadership is a gift. It's given by those who follow. You have to be worthy of it.”
  • —General Mark Welsh, Commander, U.S. Air Forces Europe
  • REMEMBER: You CHOSE to be a boss/leader. Hence you CHOSE to devote the rest of your professional career to DEVELOPING PEOPLE.
  • “Of Service”

Cause (worthy of commitment) Space (room for/encouragement for initiative) Decency (respect, humane)

Cause (worthy of commitment) Space (room for/encouragement for initiative-adventures) Decency (respect, grace, integrity, humane) Service (worthy of our clients’ & extended family’s continuing custom) Excellence (period)

Cause (worthy of commitment) Space (room for/encouragement for initiative-adventures) Decency (respect, grace, integrity, humane) Service (worthy of our clients’ & extended family’s continuing custom) Excellence (period) Servant Leadership

Cause Space Decency Service Excellence Servant Leadership

  • Talent Time!
  • Les Wexner: From sweaters to people!*
  • *Limited Brands founder Les Wexner queried on astounding longterm success—said, in effect, it happened because he got
  • as excited about developing people as he had been about predicting fashion trends in his early years

The Memories That Matter

  • The Memories That Matter
  • The people you developed who went on to
  • stellar accomplishments inside or outside
  • the company.
  • The (no more than) two or three people you developed who went on to
  • create stellar institutions of their own.
  • The long shots (people with “a certain something”) you bet on who
  • surprised themselves—and your peers.
  • The people of all stripes who 2/5/10/20 years
  • later say “You made a difference in my life,”
  • “Your belief in me changed everything.”
  • The sort of/character of people you hired in general. (And the bad
  • apples you chucked out despite some stellar traits.)
  • A handful of projects (a half dozen at most) you doggedly pursued that
  • still make you smile and which fundamentally changed the way
  • things are done inside or outside the company/industry.
  • The supercharged camaraderie of a handful of Great Teams aiming to
  • “change the world.”
  • The Memories That Matter
  • Belly laughs at some of the stupid-insane things you and your mates
  • tried.
  • Less than a closet full of “I should have …”
  • A frighteningly consistent record of having
  • invariably said, “Go for it!”
  • Not intervening in the face of considerable loss—recognizing that to
  • develop top talent means tolerating failures and allowing the
  • person who screwed up to work their own way through and out of
  • their self-created mess.
  • Dealing with one or more crises with particular/memorable aplomb.
  • Demanding … CIVILITY … regardless of circumstances.
  • Turning around one or two or so truly dreadful situations—and
  • watching almost everyone involved rise to the occasion (often to
  • their own surprise) and acquire a renewed sense of purpose in the
  • process.
  • Leaving something behind of demonstrable-lasting worth. (On short as
  • well as long assignments.)
  • The Memories That Matter
  • Having almost always (99% of the time) put “Quality” and “Excellence”
  • ahead of “Quantity.” (At times an unpopular approach.)
  • A few “critical” instances where you stopped short and could have
  • “done more”—but to have done so would have compromised your and
  • your team’s character and integrity.
  • A sense of time well and honorably spent.
  • The expression of “simple” human kindness and consideration—no
  • matter how harried you may be/may have been.
  • Understood that your demeanor/expression of character always set
  • the tone—especially in difficult situations.
  • Never (rarely) let your external expression of enthusiasm/
  • determination flag—the rougher the times, the more your expressed
  • energy and bedrock optimism and sense of humor showed.
  • The respect of your peers.
  • A stoic unwillingness to badmouth others—even in private.
  • The Memories That Matter
  • An invariant creed: When something goes amiss, “The buck stops with
  • me”; when something goes right, it was their doing, not yours.
  • A Mandela-like “naïve” belief that others will
  • rise to the occasion if given the opportunity.
  • A reputation for eschewing the “trappings of power.” (Strong self-
  • management of tendencies toward arrogance or dismissiveness.)
  • Intense, even “driven” … but not to the point of being careless of others
  • in the process of forging ahead.
  • Willing time and again to be surprised by ways of doing things that are
  • inconsistent with your “certain hypotheses.”
  • Humility in the face of others, at every level,
  • who know more than you about “the way
  • things really are.”
  • Bit your tongue on a thousand occasions—and listened, really
  • really listened. (And been constantly delighted when, as a result, you
  • invariably learned something new and invariably increased your
  • connection with the speaker.)
  • The Memories That Matter
  • Unalloyed pleasure in being informed of the fallaciousness of your
  • beliefs by someone 15 years your junior and several rungs below you
  • on the hierarchical ladder.
  • Selflessness. (A sterling reputation as “a guy always willing to help out
  • with alacrity despite personal cost.”)
  • As thoughtful and respectful, or more so, toward thine “enemies” as
  • toward friends and supporters.
  • Always and relentlessly put at the top of your list/any
  • list being first and foremost “of service” to your
  • internal and external constituents. (Employees/Peers/
  • Customers/Vendors/Community.)
  • Treated the term “servant leadership” as holy writ. (And “preached”
  • “servant leadership” to others—new “non-managerial” hire or old
  • pro, age 18 or 48.)
  • The Memories That Matter
  • Created the sort of workplaces you’d like your kids to
  • inhabit. (Explicitly conscious of this “Would I want my
  • kids to work here?” litmus test.)
  • A “certifiable” “nut” about quality and safety and integrity. (More or
  • less regardless of any costs.)
  • A notable few circumstances where you resigned rather than
  • compromise your bedrock beliefs.
  • Perfectionism just short of the paralyzing variety.
  • A self- and relentlessly enforced group standard of
  • “EXCELLENCE-in-all-we-do”/“EXCELLENCE in our
  • behavior toward one another.”

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