Saturday, October 11, 2014

Tom Peters on 21st Century Management

Tom Peters was one of the strongest influences on my life as an entrepreneur and executive and that influence is visible on the pages of my book, The Language of Excellence, dealing with leadership and management.  Recently, Peters was interviewed for the McKinsey & Company’s Quarterly.   You can read the entire interview by going to the McKinsey web site.

Talking about 21st-century management during the interview Peters says:

“My real bottom-line hypothesis is that nobody has a sweet clue what they’re doing. Therefore you better be trying stuff at an insanely rapid pace. You want to be screwing around with nearly everything. Relentless experimentation was probably important in the 1970s—now it’s do or die.”
His observation about experimentation is right out of the Model for Excellence—survival for long haul requires constant innovation.  You cannot continue to create and deliver the same product or service the same way and survive in the long haul. Experimentation and innovation are vintage Peters, and I might add the idea expressed also consistent with the teachings of Peters’s predecessor Peter Drucker.

Also straight from the Model for Excellence is Peters’s explanation to the interviewer of what business executives are in. It has nothing to do with products or services:
“If you’re a leader, your whole reason for living is to help human beings develop—to really develop people and make work a place that’s energetic and exciting and a growth opportunity, whether you’re running a Housekeeping Department or Google. I mean, this is not rocket science.
It’s not even a shadow of rocket science. You’re in the people-development business. If you take a leadership job, you do people. Period. It’s what you do. It’s what you’re paid to do. People, period. Should you have a great strategy? Yes, you should. How do you get a great strategy? By finding the world’s greatest strategist, not by being the world’s greatest strategist. You do people. Not my fault. You chose it. And if you don’t get off on it, do the world a favor and get the hell out before dawn, preferably without a gilded parachute. But if you want the gilded parachute, it’s worth it to get rid of you.”
While I gave the Model for Excellence its name, the model is drawn from ideas expressed in Peters’s  A Passion for Excellence. The model is explained in third chapter of The Language of Excellence. It was also discussed in an earlier blog post under the title The Pursuit of Excellence is the Only Sound Strategy.
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For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to the Unsigned print and ebook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. For an audio edition of The Claret Murders go to Ebook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBookstore and
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