Tom Peters’ Re-Imagine excellence!


Heroism: Training > Patriotism



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Heroism: Training > Patriotism

  • In the Army, 3-star generals worry about training. In most businesses, it's a “ho hum” mid-level staff function.
  • Why is intensive-extensive training obvious for the army & navy & sports teams & performing arts groups--but not for the average business?
  • I would hazard a guess that most CEOs see IT investments as a “strategic necessity,” but see training expenses as “a necessary evil.”
  • “C-level”!
  • 3. Three-star generals and admirals (and symphony conductors and sports coaches and police chiefs and fire chiefs) OBSESS about training. Why is it likely (Dead certain?) that in a random 30-minute interview you are unlikely to hear a CEO touch upon this topic? (I would hazard a guess that most CEOs see IT investments as a “strategic necessity,” but see training expenses as “a necessary evil.”)
  • 4. Proposition/axiom: The CTO/Chief TRAINING Officer is arguably the #1 staff job in the enterprise, at least on a par with, say, the CFO or CIO or head of R&D. (Again, external circumstances—see immediately above—are forcing our hand.)
  • Source: A 15-Point Human Capital Asset Development Manifesto/
  • World Strategy Forum/The New Rules: Reframing Capitalism/Seoul/0615.12
  • 5. The training budget takes precedence over the capital budget. PERIOD. It’s easier fun to get your picture taken next to a new machine. But how do you get a photo of a new and much improved attitude in a key distribution center? But the odds are 25:1 that the new attitude will add more to the bottom line than will the glorious state-of-the-art machine.
  • 6. Human capital development should routinely sit atop any agenda or document associated with enterprise strategy. Most any initiative you undertake should formally address implications for and contributions to human capital asset development.
  • (1) Training merits
  • “C-level” status!
  • (2) Top trainers should
  • be paid a king’s
  • ransom—and be of
  • the same caliber as
  • top marketers or
  • researchers.

No company ever Expended too much thought/Effort/ $$$$ on training!* *ESPECIALLY … small company

  • Container Store
  • 270/16
  • 10/>100
  • “training, TRAINING and
  • M-O-R-E
  • T-R-A-I-N-I-N-G”
  • —CINCPAC Nimitz to CNO King/1943
  • (punctuation Nimitz’s)
  • “Training” On Steroids
  • 11. The national education infrastructure—from kindergarten to continuing adult education—may well be National Priority #1. Moreover, the educational infrastructure must be altered radically to underpin support for the creative jobs that will be more or less the sole basis of future employment and national growth and wealth creation.
  • Source: A 15-Point Human Capital Asset Development Manifesto/
  • World Strategy Forum/The New Rules: Reframing Capitalism/Seoul/0615.12

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

  • “Human creativity
  • is the ultimate economic resource.” —Richard Florida
  • "Creativity can no longer be treated as an elective.” —John Maeda

Science Technology Engineering Mathematics

Science Technology Engineering Arts* (*Courtesy John Maeda, president, RISD) Mathematics

  • The very best and the
  • very brightest and the
  • most energetic and enthusiastic and entrepreneurial and
  • tech-savvy of our university graduates must—must,
  • not should—be lured
  • into teaching.
  • Manifesto/Polemic:
  • Best Teacher Corps Wins!
  • A discussion with friends in New Zealand led me to create a third summary document. An evolving and radical new model of education is discussed several times in the previous summary pieces. But I hadn’t tried to think through, more or less in total, the specifics of the education challenge. Again, in the spirit of trying to figure out what I think I think, the following emerged …
  • Manifesto/Polemic: Best Teacher Corps Wins!
  • “The best educated nations win.”
  • Or: “The best educated and most entrepreneurial nations win.”
  • There is more to life than education.
  • There is more to life than entrepreneurship.
  • Manifesto/Polemic: Best Teacher Corps Wins!
  • Yet these two variables are increasingly important in the years ahead—and those years are rushing toward us at an unprecedented pace. In technology change, yesterday’s decade is today’s two years—or less.
  • If these two variables are important, then it more or less follows that our teaching corps—especially for the first 8 grades—are the most important members of our society. (Singapore more or less—mainly more—believes this and acts upon it.)
  • Manifesto/Polemic: Best Teacher Corps Wins!
  • Implication: The very best and the very brightest and the most energetic and enthusiastic and entrepreneurial and tech-savvy of our university graduates must—must, not should—be lured into teaching. (They need not stay for life—one would be happy with 5 years, ecstatic with 10.)
  • In the USA and other nations (many if not most if not almost all), the variables set out above and associated with excellence in teaching required to meet the challenges of 2020, let alone 2040, alas, do not describe our fresh caught teachers. One could even argue, stopping short of cynicism, that those variables are often the antithesis of the ones associated with those attracted to teaching today. This is simply unacceptable in the face of the most likely scenarios for economic excellence—or, for that matter, survival.
  • Manifesto/Polemic: Best Teacher Corps Wins!
  • (FYI: To reiterate one of the initial points—we must attract instinctively entrepreneurial candidates—there are more of such candidates than one might imagine. Attracting entrepreneurial candidates, of course, requires a system that is open to change and which celebrates rather than condemns rebels. Concerning the proclivity or fitness for entrepreneurial adventures, Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus put it this way: “All human beings are entrepreneurs. When we were in the caves we were all self-employed . . . finding our food, feeding ourselves. That’s where human history began . . . As civilization came we suppressed it. We became labor because they stamped us, ‘You are labor.’ We forgot that we are entrepreneurs.” Bottom line: Super-genes are not required to foretell entrepreneurial—the millions upon millions converting to entrepreneurial ventures courtesy the Web are more or less proof of Yunus’ assertion.)
  • Manifesto/Polemic: Best Teacher Corps Wins!
  • Finding and educating these new-criteria teachers requires a revolution in both content and the incentive structure needed to
  • attract the best of the best—and to induce them to experiment boldly once aboard
  • the education train.
  • (FYI: Re content, there is a school of thought prevalent in the USA which demands an immediate curricular shift toward “STEM”—science, technology, engineering and mathematics. To be sure, o harm done, lots to applaud. However, Rhode Island School of Design President John Maeda recommends instead “STEAM”—science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics. His argument is based upon an assessment of future bases of competitive advantage as computers make vast inroads to existing jobs; the concept arguably—or, in my opinion, inarguably—makes a great deal of sense.)
  • Manifesto/Polemic: Best Teacher Corps Wins!
  • This necessary revolution in teacher inducement and development, no matter the urgency assigned, will not happen overnight—or in the next five years, even if one and all, including teachers’ unions, agreed on the premises above.
  • Manifesto/Polemic: Best Teacher Corps Wins!
  • In the meantime, we cannot wait ….
  • Our universities today do turn out magnificent “products” who can meet the specs above and de facto launch the education revolution—today. We must immediately move to unmistakably and with governmental approval and towering private sector contributions bag these candidates as they march out of the graduation auditorium with their spanking new degrees.
  • Manifesto/Polemic: Best Teacher Corps Wins!
  • (FYI: In my opinion, the impact of the new technologies is such that we need a very young teachers corps—one that has the demographics of the Facebook or Twitter new-hire corps. Assertion: With rare exceptions, older teachers—35+??—will have the devil’s own time identifying with the experiences of the students who walk into their classrooms, circa 2020—and, for that matter, circa 2013. And the devil’s own time embracing new “upside down” approaches to teaching. For example, as many forward thinkers have said, the teacher must in effect partner with rather than dictate to students who in many ways are more technically qualified than they are; and partner with students in ventures that de facto foreshadow a penchant for entrepreneurship.)
  • Manifesto/Polemic: Best Teacher Corps Wins!
  • Role models needed: Teach For America is an example of an approach that appears to provide a semblance of a road map for others. It is hardly “the answer” to this “save the nation” need. But it does provide an exceptionally worthwhile and tested case—both its successes and failures, the latter of which illustrate the pushback that this entrepreneurial approach induces in, at least, the USA. Teach For America, however, is almost proof positive that, under the right circumstances, the very
  • best and the very brightest from leading institutions
  • can be attracted in numbers to at least a stint as educators; this proven attraction predates the 2007++ crash, so it cannot be written off as merely a response
  • to a lousy job market for graduates. (Teach For America is but one example. In particular, courtesy charter schools among other efforts, a plethora of de facto experiments are in train in the USA.)



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