I had no idea what I was doing when I wrote Search. There was no carefully designed work plan. There was no theory that I was out to prove. I went out and talked to genuinely smart, remarkably interesting, first-rate people. I had an infinite travel budget that allowed me to fly first class and stay at top-notch hotels and a license from McKinsey to talk to as many cool people as I could all around the United States and the world.
I went to see Karl Weick, who had totally influenced my life. I had read his work a thousand times, and I'd never met him. I went to Oslo to talk with Einar Thorsrud, who had studied empowerment on oil tankers. I went to the Tavistock Institute in London, where the leading thinkers on organizational development were looking at why people work together effectively in team configurations under certain circumstances.
Word of the meeting got back to McKinsey USA, and I was invited to give a presentation to the top management of PepsiCo... The time was drawing near for the Pepsi presentation to take place. One morning at about 6, I sat down at my desk overlooking the San Francisco Bay from the 48th floor of the Bank of America Tower, and I closed my eyes. Then I leaned forward, and I wrote down eight things on a pad of paper. Those eight things haven't changed since that moment. They were the eight basic principles of Search.
Tom Peters (2001) "Tom Peters's True Confessions" in Fast Company, December 2001 (online, Nov 31, 2001).
Bosses: You make your living going to meetings. Hence any meeting that does not bubble and incite enthusiasm is a forever-lost opportunity.
Creating in all employees the awareness that their best efforts are essential and that they will share in the rewards of the company's success.
Without exception, the dominance and coherence of culture proved to be an essential quality of the excellent companies.
Transforming leadership, [is defined as] leadership that builds on man's need for meaning, leadership that creates institutional purpose … he is the value-shaper, the exemplar, the maker of meanings … he is the true artist, the true pathfinder.
p. 82 as cited in: Amir Levy, Uri Merry (1986) Organizational Transformation: Approaches Strategies, and Theories. p. 52.
Most of their real innovation comes from the market
What gets measured gets done.
Attributed to organization theorist Mason Haire. p. 268.
Every excellent company we studied is clear on what it stands for, and takes the process of value shaping seriously. In fact, we wonder whether it is possible to be an excellent company without clarity on values and without having the right sorts of values.
The Project 50 (Re-Inventing Work Series) (1999)Edit
Life is too short for non-WOW projects.
Lists simplify, clarify, edify.
The Little Big Things: 163 Ways To Pursue Excellence (2010)Edit
If not excellence, what? If not excellence now, when?
The vitality of our network will determine our professional fate.
What is my personal strategy for the next 10 hours? Who can I talk with or what can I volunteer for to learn something new?
February 4, 2013.
Musing on the phrase ‘waste of time.’ So much more complex than it appears. Many ‘wastes of time’—small talk, daydreaming—are imperatives.”
October 7, 2013.
If you want to achieve Excellence, you can get there today. As of this second, quit doing less than Excellent work. The first 99.9% of getting from here to there is the determination to do it and not to compromise, no matter what set of road blocks those around you erect.
November 11, 2013.
Have fun/Make it fun. … All human endeavor is about emotion. Zest, joy, pride—and fun—are near the heart of any successful enterprise.
December 23, 2013.
Make the collective, professional pursuit of listening skills per se a keystone of corporate 'culture'.
January 12, 2015.
The most important personal ‘core competence’ by far is a rich set of relationships.
March 16, 2015.
The well-served customer...is an appreciating asset. Every small act on her or his behalf ups the odds of repeat business, add-on business, and priceless word-of-mouth referral.
January 4, 2016
Training in listening, in statistical techniques and problem cause-and-effect analysis, in group problem solving, in sophisticated financial analysis (for everyone)—and then constant retraining, for upgrading and learning new skills—simply must become the norm, for realtor, banker, or high-tech wizard.