Tom Peter's Pursuit of Wow!
The raging, inexorable, thunder lizard evangelist strikes again with another absolutely outrageous and profound 'work' on what it takes to make it in these crazy times. Tom Peter's 'journey' is our reward as we follow him from his 'Search for Excellence', and 'Passion for Excellence' to the mind boggling reality of chaos and his lucid thinking of how to deal with it effectively. Reading 'Thriving on Chaos' and 'Liberation Management' is a test of endurance and aware attention as we share in his thinking through a barrage of insights and accounts of what can be discovered and created. With 'The Tom Peters Seminar', either live or in print he finds the mark, with what I think is a brilliant approach to take us 'beyond' everything imaginable. His journey continued with 'The Pursuit of Wow!'
I found the best way to take in The Pursuit of Wow! is to open it up anywhere and take a bite - and see what comes up.
In praise of the humble blueberry
Tired of the mindless praise for the 'networked' organization? Listen to Hatim Tyabji, the dynamic CEO of VeriFone describe his 'paradigm' for his fully wired and real time organization as a 'blueberry pancake!' - independent units (blueberries) held together by a unifying medium (batter). "We are completely decentralized and expect each blueberry to generate its own ideas, strategies, and tactics." All blueberries are created equal, and there isn't "one big, fat blueberry (headquarters) sitting in the middle of the pancake intimidating all the smaller blueberries". VeriFone is a $259 million company (1994) and a major player in credit card authorization.
"Active mutators in placid ... times tend to die off. They are selected against. Reluctant mutators in quickly changing times are also selected against." Charles Darwin explained this years ago. His theory of natural selection is clear: until there's an accident or random mutation, no progress occurs. Most accidents or random mutations are useless (just as most new ventures fail) but a tiny handful succeed - and are responsible for all progess. The business insight? - In a calm market, slow moving and methodical firms will thrive and the 'crazies' will perish. However, in a turbulent market, the reluctant mutator - afraid to challenge his or her current cash cow - is headed for trouble. "Advantageous mutations occur so rarely that ... it may be helpful to arrange for an increased mutation rate."
A sampling of topics and captions covered in this continuing pursuit ...
Truth is more boring than fiction
Milk, cookies, and managing people
The customer comes second!
Attaining perpetual adolescence
Tom Peter's The Pursuit of Wow! is an exceptionally enjoyable adventure. I have it ranked as one of the best business books of all time - a feature of The CEO Refresher.