The Circle of Innovation – “You can’t shrink your way to greatness”.
By Tom Peters
Tom Peters worked at McKinsey. He made his name writing “In Search of Excellence” with Robert Waterman. He is now the world famous speaker and ranter and provoker of thought. His books are rich in opinion, prejudice and anger that business has failed to keep up with a rapidly changing world. He quotes General Shinseko, in his more recent book “Re-Imagine”, who said “if you don’t like change you’ll like irrelevance even less.”
Tom is a genius. If you can watch him at work.
It’s innovation …stupid
Tom Peters says he’s baffled by the absence of books on innovation, on how to make your business world-class-great.
Simple fact: products/services are all getting commoditised.
Simple solution: we’d better get better than the other guys are getting better…otherwise we’re getting worse.
Forget the past
“Whatever made you successful in the past won’t in the future.” (Lew Platt ex CEO Hewlett Packard). The Circle of Innovation consists of a variety of facts that determine our new lives.Distance is dead
We are all next door neighbours in this global village. Hard to accept but 12 year olds of all nationalities linked by a common tech literacy get stuff we used to regard as ours. No distance = react faster = try stuff out.
“Don’t perfect the known…imperfectly seize the unknown” (Kevin Kelly Wired)
Destruction is good
Delusions are that synergy works, that conglomerates make sense, that mergers and acquisitions ever add shareholder value, that turnarounds are easier than start ups. Throw away and destroy old and broken. No time to repair when it’s cheaper to renew.
“Acquiring firms destroys value – that is a plain fact” (Mark L. Sirower Playground Director Citigroup.)
You can’t live without an eraser
Forgetting is harder than learning. Work out how to make yourselves obsolete before your competition do. Constantly change direction. Be unpredictable. Try stuff.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” (Wayne Gretzky, hockey great)
We are all Michaelangelos
Every job has to be a business in its own right. Receptionist is COO Front of House, PA is COO, Decorator is COO of Appearance and so on. Everything gets better if people are made to feel more important. Especially customer service.
“I set a goal which is the maximum capacity that people have – I settle for no less. I make myself a relentless architect of the possibilities of human beings.” (Benjamin Zander,Boston Philarmonic.
Welcome to the white-collar revolution
Regardless of what we do we are now all in service too. The big old top heavy HQ is over. Example Swiss/Swedish Engineering Company ABB ($32 billion; 124k people) who got rid of 95% of H/Q staff . If they weren’t serving customers ….?
“If you can’t say why exactly you make your company a better place, you’re out” (Cynthia Kellams, expert on middle management.)
All value come from professional service
Which changes the way you think…makes you competitive (which makes you outsource-proof)…makes you client obsessed …makes you project obsessed…everything is about setting up and executing projects…
The intermediary is doomed
By taking out levels, unnecessary handling you save money.
By getting rid of intermediaries you get closer to your customer.
“Organisations are there to organise not to employ people” (Charles Handy.)
At GE they reduced the levels between CEO and customer ruthlessly.
“Never do business with people you don’t trust. Life’s too short.” (Harry Quadracci, Quad Graphics)
The system is the solution
Creativity is great but…the plumbing has to work. It’s the detail that makes the dream great (parking, garbage, cleaning, transport, communications, lighting etc.)
(Incidentally, look at London Underground Map to see the collision of dream, design and system.)
Best current example South Western Airlines USA…check them out.
System used to be controlled – on a “knowledge is power” basis (so keep it close to your chest.) Now it’s all about sharing is power.
Create waves of lust
Amaze customers. Give them unexpected things free. “Fit for purpose” and “conformance to requirements” are the enemies of good…procurement is an enemy period. Live in a world of providing stuff, service never seen before; be the best; measure yourself in global terms.
“Most companies don’t really believe they can make a better product.” (Ely Callaway, Callaway Golf.)
Tommy Hilfiger knows
Not just standing out but branding out from the crowd. Brands need to be lived- not artefacts. With so much choice which brand name do you trust most?
Branding like TH and others manage it with “chutzpah and a magical touch for promotion” but how’s this for a US Utility company?
“I want to do to the electron what Kelloggs did to the cornflake.” (Richard Green, Utilicorp.)
Become connoisseurs of talent
You do it by measuring yourself and learning from truly world class….go to the top.
“Expose yourself to the best things humans have done and try to bring those things into what you are doing.”(Steve Jobs.)
It’s a woman’s world
He’s obsessed with women in an attempt to correct the imbalance to men. Women spend more, make more buying decisions, invest more wisely are in short the largest economy on earth. The banks inBangladeshset aside 10% of SME funds exclusively for women in 2010. (Read “the Power of Women” in the pack to learn more).
“Men and women don’t buy for the same reasons. He simply wants a transaction to take place. She’s interested in creating a relationship.” (Faith Popcorn.)
Design is it (little things are the only things.)
We’ve had price competition (still do), we’ve had a “quality battle” (still do), but now it’s all about design.
“Design is the only thing that differentiates one product from another in the marketplace.” (Norio Ohga, Sony.)
All great design is talked about…St. Pancras, the Royal Opera House, the Dome, Wembley, John Deere, Bose, Apple, Apple, Apple.)
Great design morphs into great branding. You see it on delivery trucks; you carry it; you sit on it; you touch it; you use it.
Love all, serve all
“Love all. Serve all.” (Hard Rock credo.)
No one needs all this stuff, needs to shop (like we do). No one is unconditionally loyal (by the way why is “promiscuous consumer” used in so accusatory a way?)
“Make a customer ….not a sale.” This is Katherine Barchetti who runs a couple of Haberdashery stores inPittsburgh and got the attention of retail consultants. (I think this may be the best advice in new business prospecting I’ve heard.)
We are here to live out loud
“If you ask me what I have come to do in this world…I shall reply: I’m here to live out loud.” (Emile Zola.)
Don’t restrain yourself…be on the “lunatic fringe” of improvement. Focus on just three things (only three) that you, personally, are trying to get done.
The Seven Kinds of “smart”
Howard Gardner, Harvard Professor in multiple intelligences (well it gets your attention, I guess) identifies these kinds of “smart”:
Logic (numerical – “IQ”); word (use of words to move); picture (spatial etc); music (what it can do to people); body (muscle memory, dancing etc); people (social skills); self (self awareness etc). Howard you should meet Ken Robinson.
Why focus matters
“The complexity of trying to manage these different businesses began to overwhelm the advantages of integration.” (Robert Allen , ex AT&T)
How do they compete with an increasingly belligerent Coca-Cola when preoccupied with fixing a conglomerate?”
“Our job is to give the client what he never dreamed about.” (Dewys Lasdon. Designer.)
Your very own “Talent Renewal Kit”
- Keep a notebook
- Change pace the whole time – fast is not enough
- Learn ahead of getting promoted
- Change just for the hell of it – change-agent or wither
- Hire really interesting people
- Be zany…do zany things
- Make your surroundings reflect what you want to express
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