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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Blast from the Past - 2006

Tell somebody you care, and how much they really mean to you. Let them know how they have changed your life.

If you have children, encourage them with love, and let them know they are a blessing to you.

If you live to make more money, get a (new) life!

If you aren't having fun doing your job, move on to something new.

Reward excellent failures. Punish mediocre successes - Tom Peters!

Embrace change and do all you can to expose unethical behavior.

Don't allow deadbeat managers and/or lazy executives to ruin your career or influence your project.

Don't be a part of the office gossip loop.

Great leaders with ethics and a solid morale center are rare. I have never met one; however I'm sure they exist. Seek them out with everything you have.

Executives have forgotten how to be leaders. Because of this, we have a 200 billion dollar trade deficit, stock option scandals, CEOs going to prison, massive layoffs, outsourcing to India, disloyal workers, and a plethora of corrupt politicians. Make sure before you go to work for an organization you know who is running the show.

Love the unlovable.

Be nutty at work. Somebody will appreciate the break in the monotony.

Find a manager in your company that is doing a bad job and ask them about the middle management shake up that is eminent. Walk away quickly before they can respond.

Look at yourself in the mirror closely for 60 seconds. Feel really bad that you look so old, then remember that life is precious and be thankful to God that tomorrow is a new day.

Challenge authority when it makes sense. Project managers can't be wimps.

Don't respect unrespectable people. Avoid them, workaround them, go through them. They are career killers.

If you like to solve problems and make a difference, work for a non-profit or charity.

Be a blessing to somebody.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Leadership Practices

Great article from about changing your leadership style.

You might not feel it day-to-day, but business management is in a major transition.  The old days of command-and-control leadership are fading in favor of what might be better termed a trust-and-track method, in which people are not just told what to do, but why they are doing it.  More formally, we're moving from what was called "transactional" leadership to "transformative" leadership. And there's no turning back.

Business owners certainly have a long way to go, especially in more established companies where old practices die hard.  But you can see increasing evidence that by creating a company with a clear purpose and values, you'll find your employees connect themselves to something bigger, and that increases productivity.  In other words, a culture of engagement leads to greater customer loyalty, and better financial success.

Here's my list of "old school" practices you ought to chuck, and "new school" practices to champion instead:

1. Out: Micro-management, or the need to control every aspect of your company. In: Empowerment, the ability to give your people some rope--even rope to make mistakes without blame.

2. Out: Management by walking around the office; it is no longer enough to be visible. In: Leadership by watching and listening, engaging in conversation, implementing the ideas presented to you, and distributing the results.

Click here for the rest of the article

Thursday, November 08, 2012

More Tom Peters Wisdom

Top Twenty

This list of “success factors” emerged after-the-fact from an interview with a reporter from Moscow in preparation for a seminar I’m giving in Moscow in mid-November 2012. FYI:

Just one “secret” to innovation: It’s a messy world. We’re always operating half informed. Hence, “try more stuff than the other guy” and sort it out as you go forward is the best way to up success odds. (“Ready. Fire. Aim.”—Ross Perot)

Paradox: Superb quality is an absolute necessity, and it requires superb systems; but superb quality with the wrong product flunks. Hence one needs to be organized (quality) and disorganized (innovation) at the same time. (Axiom: Management is art, not science.)

Waste #1: “Great branding”/marketing can not overcome a lousy product—it is largely wasted. The product (innovative, attractive, of the highest quality) comes first—though excellence in product and marketing is indubitably required to achieve a smashing success.

Everywhere: “Excellence” in quality and design is not restricted to the “high end.” Both characteristics can be imbedded in lower-end products and services.

Iron law: All organizations get worse as they become more and more enormous. No cultural differences.

Iron law: Over the long haul, national success is largely built upon SMEs, with growth and innovation associated largely with a large population of vibrant midsized enterprises—Germany’s “Mittelstand” is exhibit #1.

Paradox: Hierarchy is dead. Long live hierarchy. New market requirements and new tools can dramatically reduce hierarchy. Still, I don’t want to drive across a bridge that didn’t have a “command and control” structure to sign off on safety.

But: Hierarchy is often necessary—but relentless hot war must be declared on bureaucracy “24/7.”

“New marketing techniques”: The newest marketing technique is the oldest marketing technique but remains “new” because it is seldom practiced with requisite intensity. Namely, get the hell out into the marketplace and listen & listen & listen to customers. Then listen some more.

Always #1: Any nation’s Olympic team is as good as its athletes. (Duh.) Exactly the same is true with any (as in any!) organization: Investment in and development of great people comes first and is the greatest sustaining differentiator!

Motivator #1: Treating people with respect is always the #1 motivational “tool.”

Why not business: In the army and in the theater and in sports, training is always Priority #1. Why not in business? No organization ever devoted too much effort to training!

Success “secret” #1: Work harder/much harder than the other guy/s. There’s more to it than hard work but hard work is the sine qua non. (Again: Think of the Olympics.)

Speed’s enabler: The #1 cause of delays is invariably lousy cross-functional communication—the product developers don’t talk to the logistics people who don’t talk to the sales people. Etc. Etc. Excellence in cross-functional communication must become a day-to-day top-management obsession.

New context, new leaders: Innovation (and execution) today is a collaborative process. Women are on average better leaders than men in collaborative situations. Men take to hierarchies—we invented ‘em. Women tend to lead more by inclusion rather than coercion.

Customer #1: In retail and in products designed for retail, she is the primary consumer. Company leadership and the product-service portfolio should mimic, more or less, this fact. (You heard it here 1st: Men and women are different.)

New context, new skills; The Age of Brawn is largely behind us. Brains and creativity and flexibility have come to the fore. Not only are our organizations unprepared—but our schools get it more or less exactly wrong 100% of the time.

Acceleration: Technological change is accelerating as never before. It is not an exaggeration to say that “all bets are off”; adaptability and renewal are imperative on a short cycle unimaginable only 10 or so years ago. (And we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.)

Mix it up: Company leaders tend to be look-alikes. Only (only!) diversity on any dimension you can name induces creativity over the long haul—from the boardroom to the front line.

“Sexy”: Clever strategies and exciting products are important, but superb execution invariably carries the day. Asked his #1 success “secret,” peerless hotelier Conrad Hilton replied, “Don’t forget to tuck the shower curtain into the bathtub.” Amen!