A Taste of Stark Reality

I find myself once again in the silent peace of my office a few hours after midnight on a beautiful spring evening. I can see soft lights from homes across the lake reflecting on the still surface of the water as my office fills with soft music. This is the most productive time of my day (or night).

With no phone calls or interruptions to disrupt my focus, I can reflect on the day’s activities and prepare for my upcoming schedule. In doing so, I sometimes come across interesting tidbits worth sharing.

Today I was reviewing some material on the ever-informative website of Tom Peters. If you’re not familiar with Tom’s work, he’s an American writer, management consultant, and professional speaker best known for his best-selling In Search of Excellence, which he co-authored with Robert H. Waterman, Jr. in 1982.

Since that time, he’s authored a number of best-selling books and videos, consulted for many Fortune 500 companies, and spoken to audiences all over the world sharing his many provocative ideas. Tom is a passionate communicator and doesn’t hesitate to share his insights with clients, fans, and readers through his many books, magazine articles, personal appearances and a very unique web-site.

I just finished an article on that website that I felt was a real eye-opener for any leader striving to guide his/her organization to success in a very competitive, challenging global environment. I’d like to share a portion of that composition in hopes of enticing you to visit Tom’s website, read the entire article and take advantage of the great wealth of additional information you’ll find there.

It’s interesting to note that Tom is more concerned about getting his message out to those who can benefit from it than he is from protecting his copyrighted and licensed products from those who might use them for personal purposes in hopes of gaining financially.

You’ll find a paragraph on his website telling you what you can do with any articles and PowerPoint slides you may find of interest there. He urges you to: “disseminate it, print it, dissect it, ruminate on, use pieces of it or the whole thing.” All he asks is that you don’t alter it, claim it as your own, or charge others for its use. Above all, he wants you to learn from it and enjoy it. That paragraph speaks volumes about this unique individual. I think you’ll find your visit to Tom’s website very beneficial and will more than likely return often.

In his article, “TOP 50 HAVE YOUS,” he challenges readers to attempt some very basic actions which, if done, will absolutely improve your “competitive position” in today’s challenging atmosphere.

I’ve chosen a few of Tom’s TOP 50 for your consideration. Read them over. Share them with your staff. Discuss them in depth. Determine what it would take to execute each. Speculate as to what benefits might evolve. Identify and eliminate any barriers to execution. Take action.

If you’ll follow the simple steps above, you’ll definitely experience success and benefits greatly surpassing your expectations. You’ll also wonder why you didn’t attempt these basic strategies long ago and will, more than likely, visit Tom’s website for even more productive insights. Here we go …

  1. HAVE YOU, in the last 10 days, … visited a customer?
  2. HAVE YOU called a customer … TODAY?
  3. HAVE YOU, in the last 60 – 90 days … had a seminar in which several folks from the customer’s operation (different levels, different functions, different divisions) interacted, via facilitator, with various of your folks?
  4. HAVE YOU thanked a frontline employee for a small act of helpfulness … in the last three days?
  5. HAVE YOU, in the last week, recognized — publicly — one of “their” folks (another function) for a small act of cross-functional cooperation?
  6. HAVE YOU invited, in the last month, a leader of another function to your weekly team priorities meeting?
  7. HAVE YOU, in the last 60 days, had a general meeting to discuss “things we do wrong”… that we can fix in the next fourteen days?
  8. HAVE YOU, in the last three days, discussed something interesting, beyond your industry, that you ran across in a meeting, reading, etc.?
  9. HAVE YOU, in the last two weeks, asked someone to report on something, anything, that constitutes an act of brilliant service rendered in a “trivial” situation — restaurant, car wash, etc. (and then discussed the relevance to your work.)
  10. HAVE YOU, in the last week, discussed the idea of Excellence? (What it means, how to get there.)
  11. HAVE YOU, in the last two months, had a presentation to the group by a “weird” outsider?
  12. HAVE YOU, in the last 45 days, assessed some major process in terms of the details of the “experience,” as well as results it provides to its external or internal customers?
  13. HAVE YOU, in the last 60 (30?) days sat with a trusted friend or “coach” to discuss your “management style” — and its long-and short-term impact on the group?
  14. HAVE YOU, in the last three days, considered a professional relationship that was a little rocky and made a call to the person involved to discuss issues and smooth the waters? (Taking the “blame”, fully deserved or not, for letting the thing-issue fester.)

Don’t try to do all of the above at once.

Invest a little time and energy and enjoy the tremendous results.

Upon successful completion, revisit the list and choose a few more strategies.

Even more importantly, visit Tom’s website and take advantage of the remaining 36 actions for continued success and achievement.

While these “HAVE YOUS” appear to be simple and basic … the STARK REALITY is that few of them are utilized to their fullest potential.

We KNOW these things … We seldom DO these things. Close the Knowing-Doing Gap!

About Harry K. Jones

Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

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