In the 30 years since In Search of Excellence was published, critics have found flaws in its methodology, its content, and even its writing style. But the case can be made that it is the most influential management book not only in these last three decades, but perhaps ever.
I’ve just been reading some nifty new stuff by Tom Peters. One of the big trends that I keep telling people about - but to almost no effect - is ageing. Fortunately Tom gets it. Here are a handful of statistics from his book on trends.
"In the US between 2002-2010 the number of people aged 18-44 will decline by 1% while the number of people aged 55-64 will increase by 47%"
"Americans aged 50+ hold 70% of global wealth and the average net worth of a household headed by someone aged 55-64 was $120,000 compared to $7,200 for people aged under 35."
"If you're not confused, you're not paying attention." — Tom Peters
One of my clients, a successful 40 year veteran in the insurance business, is a master at using confusion to his advantage. 75% of what comes out of his mouth are questions trying to clarify something. It's like watching an episode of Columbo. Recently we chatted about his style and he explained it this way. "I definitely ask a lot questions to get people to open up, but it's more than that. I geninuely don't know the answers to most of the questions I ask.
Cutting through the clutter of sameness gets tougher every day. Message overload and disruptive and many times useless data are all trying to find a little space in the overstimulated, simpleminded brains of our market.
It's not only a busy place, but the reality is there are a handful of very qualified choices other than you in your category competing for that sacred opportunity.
The two discuss production values, lovemarks, customer intimacy, the need for community, and how great ideas get made. It's an interesting look into the minds of two progressive business thinkers. I'd like to see more leaders interviewing leaders!
I caught up with Tom Peters the other day here in Boston. As for re-imagining and re-inventing yourself, he and Madonna run a close race, and they may even be in a dead heat when it comes to staying cool, new, fresh and alive.