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Tom Peters’ The Best DEFENSE. The Best OFFENSE. EXCELLENCE. PowerPoint Presentation
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  1. Tom Peters’ The Best DEFENSE. The Best OFFENSE. EXCELLENCE. New Zealand Initiative/Auckland/13 March 2014 (Slides at; also see

  2. “The greatest satisfaction for management has come not from the financial growth of Camellia itself, but rather from having participated in the vast improvement in the living and working conditions of its employees, resulting from the investment of many tens of millions of pounds into the tea gardens’ infrastructure of roads, factories, hospitals, employees’ housing and amenities. … Within the Camellia Group there is a strong aesthetic dimension, an intention that it should comprise companies and assets of the highest quality, operating from inspiring offices and manufacturing in state of the art facilities. … Above all, there is a deep concern for the welfare of each employee. This arises not only from a sense of humanity, but also from the conviction that the loyalty of a secure and enthusiastic employee will in the long-term prove to be an invaluable company asset.”—Camellia: A Very Different Company[$600M/$160M/$100M]

  3. “It may sound radical, unconventional, and bordering on being a crazy business idea. However— as ridiculous as it sounds—joy is the core belief of our workplace. Joy is the reason my company, Menlo Innovations, a customer software design and development firm in Ann Arbor, exists. It defines what we do and how we do it. It is the single shared belief of our entire team.” —Richard Sheridan, Joy, Inc.: How We Built a Workplace People Love “joy at work”:“In a world where customers wake up every morning asking, ‘What’s new, what’s different, what’s amazing?’ … success* depends on a company’s ability to unleash initiative, imagination and passion of employees at all levels—and this can only happen if all those folks are connected heart and soul to their work [their ‘calling’], their company and their mission.” —John Mackey and Raj Sisoda,Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business *“Contrary to conventional corporate thinking, treating retail workers much better may make everyone (including their employers) much richer.” —New York Times/ 01.05.14 (Cited in particular, “The Good Jobs Strategy,” by M.I.T. professor Zeynep Ton)

  4. EXCELLENT customer experience depends entirely on … EXCELLENT employee experience! If you want to WOW your customers … FIRST you must WOW those who WOW the customers!


  6. CORPORATE MANDATE #1 2014:Your principal moral obligation as a leader is to develop the skillset, “soft” and “hard,” of every one of the people in your charge (temporary as well as semi-permanent) to the maximum extent of your abilities. The good news: This is also the #1 mid- to long-term … profit maximization strategy!

  7. 1/4,096: “Business has to give people enriching, rewarding lives … or it's simply not worth doing.” —Richard Branson

  8. “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.”* —Albert A. Bartlett (*GRIN/Genetics + Robotics + Informatics + Nanotechnology) “The root of our problem is not that we’re in a ‘Great Recession’ or a ‘Great Stagnation,’ but rather that we are in the early throes of a GreatRestructuring.Our technologies are racing ahead, but our skills and organizations are lagging behind.” —Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, Race Against the Machine “The median worker is losing the race against the machine.”—Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, Race Against the Machine “Human level capability has not turned out to be a special stopping point from an engineering perspective. ...” —Illah Reza Nourbakhsh, Robot Futures (“I believe that 90 percent of white-collar/‘knowledge-work’ jobs—which are 80 percent of all jobs—in the U.S. will be either destroyed or altered beyond recognition in the next 10 to 15 years.”—Cover/Time/22May 2000/Tom Peters)

  9. AUTOMATE THIS: HOW ALGORITHMS CAME TO RULE THE WORLD(Book title, by Christopher Steiner) “Automation has become so sophisticated that on a typical passenger flight, a human pilot holds the controls for a grand total of … 3minutes. [Pilots] have become, it’s not much of an exaggeration to say, computer operators.” —Nicholas Carr, The Atlantic, 11.13 “The combination of new market rules and new technology was turning the stock market into, in effect, awarof robots.”—Michael Lewis “Almost all health care people get is going to be doneby algorithms within a decade or two.”—Michael Vassar/MetaMed

  10. “EXPERIMENT FEARLESSLY”*Source: BusinessWeek, “Type A Organization Strategies: How to Hit a Moving Target”—Tactic #1“RELENTLESS TRIAL AND ERROR”* Source: Wall Street Journal, cornerstone of effective approach to “rebalancing” company portfolios in the face of changing and uncertain global economic conditions(*Ready. Fire. Aim. —H.R. Perot. WTTMSW —TP Fail. Forward. Fast. —D. Kelley)

  11. Training As Investment#1

  12. Is your CTO/Chief Training Officer your top paid “C-level” job (other than CEO/COO)? If not, why not? Are your top trainers paid as much as your top marketers and engineers? If not, why not? Are your training courses so good they make you giggle and tingle? If not, why not? Randomly stop an employee in the hall: Can she/he meticulously describe her/his development plan for the next 12 months? If not, why not? Why is your world of business any different than the (competitive) world of rugby, football, opera, theater, the military? If “people/talent first” and hyper-intense continuous training are laughably obviously for them, why not you?

  13. Gamblin’ Man Bet: >> 5 of 10 CEOs see training as expense rather than investment. Bet: >> 5 of 10 CEOs see training as defense rather than offense. Bet: >> 5 of 10 CEOs see training as “necessary evil” rather than “strategic opportunity.” Bet:>> 8 of 10 CEOs, in 45-min “tour d’horizon” of their business, would not mention training.

  14. Education As Priority#1

  15. “Every child is born an artist. The trick is to remain an artist.”—Picasso “All human beings are entrepreneurs.”—Muhammad Yunus “Human creativity is the ultimate economic resource.” —Richard Florida "Creativity can no longer be treated as an elective.”—John Maeda

  16. RADICAL curricular revision imperative. (STEM/STEAM.)RADICAL digital strategy.REVOLUTIONARY new approach to teacher recruitment/development.RADICAL re-assessment of tertiary education (E.g., “MOOC-ization.”)RADICAL re-assessment business ed.RADICAL role re-assessment by corporations.(Good news: Nobody’s got it right. Kids are doing it without you—if you’ll let them.)

  17. !

  18. “I am often asked by would-be entrepreneurs seeking escape from life within huge corporate structures, ‘How do I build a small firm for myself?’ The answer seems obvious …Buy a very large one and just wait.”* —Paul Ormerod, Why Most Things Fail: Evolution, Extinction and Economics *”Stretching back 40 years for 1,000 [largest] U.S. companies. [McKinsey researchers] found that NONE of the long-term survivors managed to outperform the market.” —Financial Times

  19. MITTELSTAND* *“agile creatures darting between the legs of the multinational monsters”(Bloomberg BusinessWeek, 10.10)

  20. THE RED CARPET STORE (Joel Resnick/Flemington NJ)

  21. The Magicians of Motueka (PLUS)! W.A. Coppins Ltd.* (Coppins Sea Anchors/ PSA/para sea anchors) *Textiles, 1898; thrive on “wicked problems” —e.g., U.S. Navy STLVAST (Small To Large Vehicle At Sea Transfer); custom fabric from W. Wiggins Ltd./Wellington (specialty nylon, “Dyneema,” from DSM/Netherlands)

  22. “BE THE BEST. IT’S THE ONLY MARKET THAT’S NOT CROWDED.” —George Whalin, Retail Superstars: Inside the 25 Best Independent Stores in America

  23. RETAIL SUPERSTARS: INSIDE THE 25 BEST INDEPENDENT STORES IN AMERICA—George Whalin JUNGLE JIM’S INTERNATIONAL MARKET, FAIRFIELD, OH: “An adventure in ‘shoppertainment,’ 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-$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, MI, POP 5,000:98,000-square-foot “shop” features 6,000 Christmas ornaments, 50,000 trims, and anything else you can name pertaining to Christmas.

  24. “ ‘Commodity’ is a state of mind. ANYTHING can be DRAMATICALLY differentiated.”

  25. Location/Size Independent: “Today, despite the fact that we’re just a little swimmingpool company in Virginia, we have the most trafficked swimming pool website in the world. Five years ago, if you’d asked me and my business partners what we do, the answer would have been simple, ‘We build in-ground fiberglass swimming pools’ Now we say,‘We are the best teachers … intheworld … on the subject of fiberglass swimming pools, and we also happen to build them.’” —Jay Baer, Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is About Help, Not Hype

  26. Biz 2014: Get Aboard the “S-Train” SM/Social Media. SX/Social eXecutives. SE/Social Employees. SO/Social Organization. SB/Social Business.

  27. “Insanely great”—Steve Jobs“Radically thrilling”—BMW “Astonish me!”—Sergei Diaghilev “Build something great!”—Hiroshi Yamauchi/CEO Nintendo, to a game designer“Make it immortal!”—David Ogilvy, to an ad copywriter Raise your sights! Blaze new trails! Compete with the immortals! —David Ogilvy, on Ogilvy & Mather’s corporate culture Wanted by Ogilvy & Mather International: Trumpeter Swans—David Ogilvy “Every project starts with the same question: ‘How can we do what has never been done before?’” —Stuart Hornery, Lend Lease “Let us create such a building that future generations will take us for …lunatics.”—church hierarchs at Seville “We are crazy. We should do something when people say it is ‘crazy.’ When people say something is ‘good,’ it means someone else is already doing it.”—Hajime Mitarai, former CEO, Canon “You can’t behave in a calm, rational manner. You’ve got to be out on the … lunatic fringe.”—Jack Welch Kevin (“Lovemarks”) Roberts’ Credo1.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! Note: TWO Americans; EIGHT non-Americans (Scotsman, 2 Japanese, Aussie, Russian, German, Spaniard, Kiwi)

  28. VALUE ADDED As Strategy#1DESIGN As “Tool”#1

  29. Design Rules!APPLE market cap > Exxon Mobil* ***August 2011**“Design is treated like a religion at BMW.” —Fortune)

  30. “Only one company can be the cheapest. All others must use … design.”—Rodney Fitch, Fitch & Co. (Source: Insights and Definitions of Design, the [UK] Design Council)

  31. Women BUYWomen RULEdiversity WINS

  32. “Forget CHINA, INDIA and the INTERNET: Economic Growth Is Driven by WOMEN.” Source: Headline, Economist “Women are THE majority market”—Fara Warner/The Power of the Purse

  33. “AS LEADERS, WOMEN RULE:New Studies find that female managers outshine their male counterparts in almost every measure”TITLE/ Special Report/ BusinessWeek

  34. “Research suggests that to succeed, start by promoting women.” “McKinsey & Company found that the international companies with more women on their corporate boards far outperformed the average company in return on equity and other measures. Operating profit was 56percent higher.” Source: Nicholas Kristof, “Twitter, Women, and Power,” NYTimes, 1024.13

  35. “The Bottleneck is at the …“Where are you likely to find people with the least diversity of experience, the largest investment in the past, and the greatest reverence for industry dogma …Top of the Bottle”— Gary Hamel/Harvard Business Review** “You will become like the five people you associate with the most—this can be either a blessing or a curse.” —Billy Cox

  36. Leading:The ONE ThingThe THREE Rules

  37. “If I had to pickonefailing of CEOs, it’s that theydon’treadenough.” —Co-founder of one of the world’s largest and most successful investment services firms (November 2013)

  38. Michael Raynor and Mumtaz Ahmed’: THE THREE RULES: How Exceptional Companies Think*: 1. Better before cheaper. 2. Revenue before cost. 3. There are no other rules. (*From a database of over 25,000 companies from hundreds of industries covering 45 years, they uncovered 344 companies that qualified as statistically “exceptional.”) Jeff Colvin, Fortune: “The Economy Is Scary … But Smart Companies Can Dominate”: They manage for value—not for EPS. They keep developing human capital. They get radically customer-centric.

  39. Enterprise* (*at its best):An emotional, vital, innovative, joyful, creative, entrepreneurial endeavor that elicits maximum concerted human potential in the wholehearted pursuit of EXCELLENCEin service of others.****Employees, Customers, Suppliers, Communities, Owners, Temporary partners

  40. In Search of KIWI EXCELLENCE

  41. ASSERTIONS: A BAKER’S DOZEN (1/4)1. We are in the midst of unprecedented (“exponential”) change—at once exciting and frightening. And wholly independent of geographic location. 2. The principal role of the state is to provide for the betterment and development of its citizens—PEOPLE FIRST.3. Businesses—small/large/one at a time—are THE engine of national human capital development. (AND must necessarily act accordingly.)4. PUTTING PEOPLE FIRST … maximizes mid- to long-term growth and financial success for businesses of every size and flavor. (PPF is NOT a “soft” idea/strategy. It is the … ultimate “hard” idea/strategy. In Search of Excellence: “Hard is soft. Soft is hard.”)5. Putting people first means by definition that … SUPERB/MIND-BLOWING TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT IS INVESTMENT PRIORITY #1.5A. “Insane” commitment to training and development is effectively guaranteed (!) to mitigate if not reverse “brain drain.” (Make NZ a net top-talent attractor via … “GUARANTEED” EXCELLENCE IN HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT. Why the hell not?)

  42. ASSERTIONS: A BAKER’S DOZEN (2/4)6. Education requires almost a 180-degree reversal—age 4 to 84. Creativity is long-term national resource #1—and schools (all around the world) are “excellent” at mercilessly destroying creativity and its handmaiden, entrepreneurial instinct. (NOBODY … is “doing it right”—which in and of itself presents an enormous opportunity!)6A. The new technologies must be unabashedly AND relentlessly AND creatively AND audaciously applied to education—age 4 to 84. (Beware the tenacity of the descendants of Ned Ludd!)6B. A significant share of the VERY best and VERY brightest of our university graduates must be radically (BIG incentives) induced to do “national service” as teachers for a limited period of time. (Remember: “Exponential” change—youth is imperative in our teacher corps.)7. Giant companies are long-term … LOSERS. (The evidence is … UNEQUIVOCAL.)7A. Which is to say UNEQUIVOCALLLY: The strength of a nation in general, and the likes of NZ in particular, is its MITTLESTAND … smallish to middle-sized specialist superstars committed to … “OUTRAGEOUSLY HIGH VALUE ADDED.”

  43. ASSERTIONS: A BAKER’S DOZEN (3/4)7B. New-tech allows locals following any path to be global to an unprecedented degree—i.e., “micro-multinationals.”7B1. “Social business” is a buzzphrase that turns out to be “the real thing.” Radical social engagement practices are changing the definitions everything from “organizing” to “financing” to “service/customer experience” to “marketing” … to the essence of the brand itself. 7C. There are no industry limitations to “Mittelstand-ing”: ANYTHING is fair game, not just the likes of software/bio-tech.7D. “Commodity” is a [DISASTROUS] state-of-mind. With determination and an unwavering commitment to innovation and excellence … ANYTHING can be DRAMATICALLY differentiated.7E. Listen to Steve Jobs/BMW: Embrace terms such as “Insanely Great” and “Radically Thrilling.” (Which can apply to a supply chain system as well as a scintillating product.)7F. Public sector-ites: Dramatic improvements in support for ease-of-doing-business can be accomplished w/o legislation; government agencies are invariably their own worst enemies.8. An effective economy, long-term, is built upon: (1) No-holds-barred human capital development. And: (2) RELENTLESS EXPERIMENTATION. (“Ready. FIRE. Aim.” “Fail. Forward. Fast.”)

  44. ASSERTIONS: A BAKER’S DOZEN (4/4) 8A. Many/most “eggs in one or two baskets” (products, partners) is a perilous strategy in general and … LITERALLY INSANE … in tumultuous times. [Hint: these are “tumultuous times” of “exponential” change.]9. A failure to fully take advantage of the talents and energy of WOMEN is a sign of … STAGGERING ECONOMIC IGNORANCE.9A. Women are the premier purchasers of … EVERYTHING. Men are incapable of designing products for women. Women tend to be significantly better leaders in the emerging, less hierarchical world. COMPANIES WITH BALANCED F-M LEADERSHIP TEAMS PERFORM DRAMATICALLY BETTER [FINANCIALLY, ETC.] THAN M-DOMINATED INSTITUTIONS.10. READ. READ. READ. READ. READ. READ. READ. READ. 11. EXCELLENCE is a state of mind. If not EXCELLENCE … why the hell bother to get up in the morning?12. “WOW” is a state of mind. If not WOW … why the hell bother to get up in the morning?13. New Zealand IS special. New Zealand IS different. Short-term economic panaceas should not stand in the way of a strategy based upon “Insanely-High-Value-Added-The-Kiwi-Way.” Timidity is a loser’s approach amid exponential change.