Tom Peters’ Re-Imagine excellence!


“Data drawn from the real world attest to a fact that is beyond our control: EVERYTHING IN EXISTENCE TENDS TO DETERIORATE.” —Norberto Odebrecht, Education Through Work



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“Data drawn from the real world attest to a fact that is beyond our control: EVERYTHING IN EXISTENCE TENDS TO DETERIORATE.” —Norberto Odebrecht, Education Through Work

“When asked to name just one big merger that had lived up to expectations, Leon Cooperman, former cochairman of Goldman Sachs’ Investment Policy Committee, answered: I’M SURE THERE ARE SUCCESS STORIES OUT THERE, BUT AT THIS MOMENT I DRAW A BLANK.” —Mark Sirower, The Synergy Trap

  • M & A success rate as measured by adding value to the
  • acquirer: 15%
  • Source: Mark Sirower, The Synergy Trap

NOT A SINGLE COMPANY THAT QUALIFIED AS HAVING MADE A SUSTAINED TRANSFORMATION IGNITED ITS LEAP WITH A BIG ACQUISITION OR MERGER. Moreover, comparison companies—those that failed to make a leap or, if they did, failed to sustain it—often tried to make themselves great with a big acquisition or merger. They failed to grasp the simple truth that while you can buy your way to growth, YOU CANNOT BUY YOUR WAY TO GREATNESS.” —Jim Collins/Time

Over-rated*: Big companies! Public companies! “Cool” industries! Famous CEOs! Men! * “Gurugate”/“Gurus” ignore about 100% of the time

Big STINKS! Enter: Mid-size Superstars/ The Masters of Motueka

  • MITTELSTAND* **
  • *“agile creatures darting between the legs of
  • the multinational monsters” (Bloomberg BusinessWeek, 10.10)
  • **E.g. Goldmann Produktion
  • “agile creatures darting between
  • the legs of the multinational monsters”
  • Source: Bloomberg BusinessWeek on the German MITTELSTAND
  • “Skunk Camp” #1: American “Mittelstand” (F500 A.W.O.L.)
  • Frank Perdue/ Perdue Farms
  • (“It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken.”)
  • Tom Malone/ Milliken and Company
  • (BEST quality program in America)
  • Don Burr/ People Express
  • (Turned the airline industry upside down with fun and discount fares)
  • Tom Monaghan/ Domino’s Pizza
  • (30-minute delivery promise was revolutionary)
  • Stew Leonard/ Stew Leonard’s
  • (Only acceptable standard is “WOW!”)
  • Hal Rosenbluth/ Rosenbluth International
  • (Customer second, our people FIRST)
  • John McConnell/ Worthington Industries
  • (Profitable steel superstar … in USA!)
  • Bill and Vieve Gore/ W.L. Gore (Gore-tex)
  • Bob Buckman/ Buckman Labs
  • (Single-handedly invented what we now call “knowledge management.”)
  • THE RED CARPET STORE
  • (Joel Resnick/Flemington NJ)
  • Jim’s Mowing Canada
  • Jim’s Mowing UK
  • Jim’s Antennas
  • Jim’s Bookkeeping
  • Jim’s Building Maintenance
  • Jim’s Carpet Cleaning
  • Jim’s Car Cleaning
  • Jim’s Computer Services
  • Jim’s Dog Wash
  • Jim’s Driving School
  • Jim’s Fencing
  • Jim’s Floors
  • Jim’s Painting
  • Jim’s Paving
  • Jim’s Pergolas [gazebos]
  • Jim’s Pool Care
  • Jim’s Pressure Cleaning
  • Jim’s Roofing
  • Jim’s Security Doors
  • Jim’s Trees
  • Jim’s Window Cleaning
  • Jim’s Windscreens
  • Note: Download, free, Jim Penman’s book:
  • What Will They Franchise Next? The Story of Jim’s Group

Jim’s Group: Jim Penman.* 1984: Jim’s Mowing. Late 2000s: Jim’s Group. 2,500+ franchisees (Australia, NZ, UK). Cleaning. Dog washing. Handyman. Fencing. Paving. Pool care. Etc. Etc. “People first.” Private. Small staff. Franchisees can leave at will/no penalty. 0 or 1 complaint per year is norm; dump bad ones quickly. *The start: getting Ph.D. cross-cultural anthropology; mowing on the side Source: MT/Management Today (Australia)

  • Basement Systems Inc.

*Lived in same town all adult life. *First generation that’s wealthy/ no parental support. *“Don’t look like millionaires, don’t dress like millionaires, don’t eat like millionaires, don’t act like millionaires.” *“Many of the types of businesses [they] are in could be classified as ‘dull- normal.’ [They] are welding contractors, auctioneers, scrap-metal dealers, lessors of portable toilets, dry cleaners, re-builders of diesel engines, paving contractors …” Source: The Millionaire Next Door, Thomas Stanley & William Danko

Family Businesses Two-thirds of total #s One-half of biggest >One-half GDP >One-half employment 10% higher value 6% more profitable 7% better ROA Higher income growth Higher revenue growth Source: John Davis, HBS

  • Retail Superstars: Inside the 25 Best Independent Stores
  • in America —by George Whalin
  • Jungle Jim’s International Market, Fairfield, Ohio: “An adventure in ‘shoppertainment,’ as Jungle Jim’s calls it, begins in the parking lot and goes on to 1,600 cheeses and, yes, 1,400 varieties of hot sauce —not to mention 12,000 wines priced from $8 to $8,000 a bottle; all this is brought to you by 4,000 vendors. Customers come from every corner of the globe.”
  • Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, Frankenmuth, Michigan, pop 5,000: 98,000-square-foot “shop” features the likes of 6,000 Christmas ornaments, 50,000 trims, and anything else you can name if it pertains to Christmas.
  • Source: George Whalin, Retail Superstars

Abt Electronics/Family/1936 Insane competition (Chicagoland!) Campus/350K sq.ft./37 acres/$300M revenue Design Center (Classes on every-damn-thing, etc.) “Destination” like Ikea (restaurant, atrium with spectacular flowers, 7,500 gallon aquarium, etc.) In-house delivery teams (spiffy uniforms, etc.) Training/knowledge training!!!!!!!! “Yes.” Period. NO EXCUSES. “Over”-staffed Merchandising (boats displaying marine electronics, cars with various systems, etc.) Web (encyclopedic info re almost all stuff sold, blog, live chat with live experts “24/7”, etc.) Rating of services (>>> Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc.) Source: George Whalin, Retail Superstars

  • Lessons [for Everyone] from Retail Superstars!
  • 1. Courses/Workshops/Demos/Engagement
  • 2. Instructional guides/material/books
  • 3. Events & Events & Events …
  • 4. Create “Community” of customers
  • 5. Destination
  • 6. Women-as-customer
  • 7. Staff selection/training/retention (FANATICISM)
  • 8. Fanaticism/Execution
  • 9. Design/Atmospherics/Ambience
  • 10. Tableaus/Products-in-use
  • 11. Flow/starts & finishes (Disney-like)
  • 12. 100% orchestrated experience/focus: “Moments of truth”
  • 13. Constant experimentation/Pursue Little BIG Things
  • 14. Social Media/Ongoing conversation with customers
  • 15. Community star
  • 16. Aim high
  • 17. PASSION
  • “BE THE BEST. IT’S THE ONLY MARKET THAT’S NOT CROWDED.”
  • From: Retail Superstars: Inside the 25 Best
  • Independent Stores in America, George Whalin
  • Small Giants:
  • Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big
  • Small Giants: Companies that Chose to
  • Be Great Instead of Big (Bo Burlingham)
  • “THEY CULTIVATED EXCEPTIONALLY INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS WITH CUSTOMERS AND SUPPLIERS, based on personal contact, one-on-one interaction, and mutual commitment to delivering on promises.
  • “EACH COMPANY HAD AN EXTRAORDINARILY INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LOCAL CITY, TOWN, OR COUNTY in which it did business -- a relationship that went well beyond the usual concept of `giving back.’
  • “The companies had what struck me as UNUSUALLY INTIMATE WORKPLACES.
  • “I noticed the PASSION that the leaders brought to what the company did. THEY LOVED THE SUBJECT MATTER, whether it be music, safety lighting, food, special effects, constant torque hinges, beer, records storage, construction, dining, or fashion."

EX10/Entrepreneurial eXcellence TEN 1. “Insane” Passion for and commitment to the idea. (“You must be able to see the beauty in a hamburger bun.”) 2. Can explain the idea in Simple English [Spanish] and Excite others about its Uniqueness in ONE MINUTE (or less). 3. Good ACCOUNTANT (Loves the #s)/“Wise-man [-woman]”/50-50 Partner. 4. Devotee of the Experimental Method (“Try it. Now.” Fail. Forward. FAST.)/Master of “Plan B”/Relentless/RESILIENT. 5. Patience in HIRING/“Great place to work” from the get-go. 6. “d”iversity (Any-all dimensions)/M-F balance. 7. Exude Decency-Character-Integrity. 8. Playfulness/Fun. 9. Sweat the details (EXECUTION = Strategy). 10. EXCELLENCE. Period.

  • THE RED CARPET STORE
  • (Joel Resnick/Flemington NJ)
  • Motueka, New Zealand
  • Coppins Sea Anchors*
  • *PSA/Para-sea anchors

etc. PRSX/ PARAGON RAILCAR SALVAGE* *Salvaged railcars into bridges, etc.

  • Billboard …
  • ONLY 262 MILES TO BUC-EE’S
  • YOU CAN HOLD IT.*
  • *“If I weren’t already married, I’d have my wedding
  • there.” —Dallas Morning News Metro blogger

“You do not merely want to be the best of the best. You want to be considered the only ones who do what you do.” —Jerry Garcia

Big STINKS! Enter: New Jersey’s 14-year-old Proustian Superstar

  • We are in no danger of running out of new combinations try. Even
  • if technology froze today, we have more possible ways of configuring the different applications, machines, tasks, and distribution channels to create new processes and products than we could ever exhaust.” —Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution Is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy
  • “The prospect of contracting a gofer on an a
  • la carte basis is enticing. For instance, wouldn’t it be convenient if I could outsource someone to write a paragraph here, explaining the history of outsourcing in America? Good idea! I went ahead and commissioned just such a paragraph from Get Friday, a ‘virtual personal assistant- firm based in Bangalore. … The paragraph arrived in my in-box ten days after I ordered it. It was 1,356 words. There is a bibliography with eleven sources. … At $14 an hour for seven hours of work, the cost came to $98. …” —Patricia Marx, “Outsource Yourself,” The New Yorker, 01.14.2013 (Marx describes in detail contracting out everything associated with hosting her book club —including the provision of “witty” comments on Proust, since she hadn’t had time to read the book—excellent comments only set her back $5; the writer/contractor turned out to be
  • a 14-year-old girl from New Jersey.)
  • Curing Short Attention Spans: “My Busy Bucket will ship a plastic tub containing two hundred dollars worth of books, CDs, DVDs, puzzles, crafts, and toys (mostly wooden ones from Europe) to your offspring, and after twenty-one
  • or thirty days, depending on your plan,
  • a very nice FedEx man will make the package go bye-bye. The exact assortment of amusements is tailored
  • to the munchkin’s age (newborn to six) and the customer-selected theme (such as dress-up, sports, superheroes, princess/fairy).” —Patricia Marx, “Outsource Yourself,” The New Yorker, 01.14.2013
  • (on Audrey Zardkoohi & Elizabeth Baumgarten, founders of the toy rental company Busy Bucket)
  • Muhammad Yunus: 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.” —Muhammad Yunus/
  • The News Hour/PBS/1122.2006
  • “The ecosystem used to funnel lots of talented
  • people into a few clear winners. Now it’s funneling lots of talented people into lots of experiments.”
  • —Tyler Willis, business developer, to Nathan Heller in “Bay Watched:
  • How San Francisco’s New Entrepreneurial Culture Is
  • Changing the Country,” The New Yorker, 1014.13
  • Distinct or extinct!
  • “Human creativity
  • is the ultimate economic resource.” —Richard Florida

USA 1996-2007 Highest rate entrepreneurial activity (firms founded): Ages 55-64 Lowest rate: Ages 20-34 Source: Dane Stangler, Kauffman Foundation (Economist)

“The average age of a startup founder is 40. And high-growth startups are nearly twice as likely to be launched by people over 55 as by people 20-34.” —Vivek Wadhwa, Kauffman foundation (Time/0325.13)

  • Extreme
  • Times
  • Call For
  • (Demand)
  • Extreme
  • Solutions

14,000 20,000 30

14,000 20,000 30

14,000/eBay 20,000/Amazon 30/Craigslist

  • “There’s no use trying,’ said Alice. ‘One cannot believe impossible things.’ ‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’”
  • — Lewis Carroll
  • “We all agree your theory is crazy. The question, which divides us, is whether it is crazy enough.” —Niels Bohr, to Wolfgang Pauli
  • Every project: Where’s your “Craig’s List [WOW!] option”?

“We are crazy. We should do something when people say it is ‘crazy.’ If people say something is ‘good’, it means someone else is already doing it.” —Hajime Mitarai, Canon

Kevin Roberts’ Credo 1. Ready. Fire! Aim. 2. If it ain’t broke ... Break it! 3. Hire crazies. 4. Ask dumb questions. 5. Pursue failure. 6. Lead, follow ... or get out of the way! 7. Spread confusion. 8. Ditch your office. 9. Read odd stuff. 10. AVOID MODERATION!

Innovation Index: How many of your Top 5 Strategic Initiatives/Key Projects score 8 or higher [out of 10] on a “Weird”/“Profound”/ “Wow”/“Game-changer” Scale?

Built to Last vs Built to Change/Rock the World

“If I had any epitaph that I would rather have more than any other, it would be to say that I had …disturbed the sleep of my generation.” —Adlai Stevenson

“I WANT TO BE THOROUGHLY USED UP WHEN I DIE. … Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.” —George Bernard Shaw

  • "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece, but to skid across the line broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, leaking oil, shouting ‘GERONIMO!’”
  • —Bill McKenna, professional motorcycle racer (Cycle magazine 02.1982)
  • Excellence!
  • “Excellence can be obtained if you: ... care more than others think is wise; ... risk more than others think is safe; ... dream more than others think
  • is practical; ... expect more than others think
  • is possible.”
  • Source: Anon. (Posted @ tompeters.com by
  • K.Sriram, November 27, 2006 1:17 AM)
  • Excellence!
  • EXCELLENCE is not an "aspiration.”
  • EXCELLENCE is … THE NEXT FIVE MINUTES.
  • Excellence is the next five minutes
  • OR NOT.
  • Excellence!

EXCELLENCE. Always. If not EXCELLENCE, what? If not EXCELLENCE now, when?

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. Michelangelo

Genetics Robotics Informatics Nanotechnology* *Decision #1: GRIN and BEAR it? GRIN and SAVOR it?




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