Friday, January 24, 2014

Whiteboards and Flip Charts

Creative destruction fueled by technology advancements leaves a lot of dead practices and products in its wake—handwritten letters, typewriters, fax machines, etc.—but the flip chart and the whiteboard not only endure, The Wall Street Journal called them “High Tech’s Secret Weapon.”

Farhad Manjoo writing in The Wall Street Journal explained, “Whiteboards are to Silicon Valley what legal pads are to lawyers, what Excel is to accountants, or what long sleeves are to magicians. They’re an all-purpose tool of innovation, often the first place a product or company’s vision is dreamed up and designed, and a constant huddling point for future refinement.”

The whiteboard and flip chart are so important to the art of leadership that my new book, The Language of Excellence targeted for release on July 17, is dedicated to them. The dedication reads in part:

This book is a testament to the power of
the flip chart and the whiteboard. Visit
any innovative organization and you will
find them throughout. 

The Language of Excellence is a new genre for me. It is not a “whodunit mystery.” Nevertheless, I trust that it will unlock the mystery of leadership for young professionals, entrepreneurs starting a new business, or seasoned executives frustrated by the difficulty of steering an unresponsive corporate ship.

Doug Ulman, President/CEO the LIVESTRONG Foundation, after reading a
draft of the book wrote, “His book teaches you how to equip your team to deal with almost anything business or life will throw at them.”

Edward Rosenberg, Designer/CEO Spectore Corporation, said, “Collins defines the essential ingredients in a business with masterful simplicity and clarity. I wish I had read this 30 or 40 years ago.”

The hardcover edition of The Language of Excellence is priced at $39.00, but right now, you can place a pre-release order for only $19.00 by going to

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Mystery of Leadership

It is cold and raining with sleet and snow threatening. I pulled a previously read book off the bookshelf and settled into my favorite leather chair. It was A Passion for Excellence by Tom Peters and Nancy Austin. Tom Peters is also the coauthor of the groundbreaking book, In Search of Excellence. While it was the cover that caught my attention, I selected it because of what was inside.
I am putting the final touches on my own book dealing with the pursuit of excellence through leadership. The new book is titled The Language of Excellence. Tom Peters’s ideas were part of my inspiration for the book, particularly his model for “sustained superior performance over the long haul.” I call it a Model of Excellence.

I had just signed off on the cover design of the new book, and in addition to the title and a few other things, that cover contains the words “This book is simple.” So when I read page four of Peters’s book, I gave myself a pat on the back. Page 4 includes the following:

“Many accused In Search of Excellence of oversimplifying. After hundreds of post-In Search of Excellence seminars, we have reached the opposite conclusion: In Search of Excellence didn’t simplify enough! In the private or public sector, in big business or small, we observed that there are only two ways to create and sustain superior performance over the long haul. First, take exceptional care of your customers (for chicken, jet engines, education, health care, or baseball, etc.) via superior service and superior quality. Second, constantly innovate. That’s it. There are no alternatives in achieving long-term superior performance, or sustaining strategic competitive advantage, as the business strategists call it.”

Simple yes; easy no. Few businesses or public entities even come close to the objective. If it is so simple, why is it so hard? Achieving both, Care of Customers and Constant Innovation is achieved through people with the essential ingredient of Leadership. Even if you believe in the necessity of Customer Care and Innovation, the trick is you have to achieve them through people via the elusive quality of Leadership. Leadership is the mystery ingredient.

My new book, The Language of Excellence, turns up the lights and pulls back the curtain on this mystery ingredient--leadership. The book applies to life as well as business—I think it is the best gift one could give to a young professional. It can be invaluable to the entrepreneur starting a new business or seasoned executive frustrated by the difficulty of steering an unresponsive corporate ship.

For more information about my new book, The Language of Excellence, and for a special pre-release offer go to