Stark Reality Returns

Just got in from a long flight cross country and a tedious drive home from the airport. It’s after midnight which is my most productive time of the day. Therefore, after grabbing a late snack, I tackled my phone messages and e-mails which have accumulated in my absence. I had an e-mail from a colleague updating me on his recent success in utilizing a Tom Peters strategy I wrote about a few months ago. He admitted he initially had little faith in the simplistic approach but was amazed in his final results.

If you’d like to learn more about Tom, his unique strategy, his web site, and a quick review of the first 14 challenges, go to A Taste of Stark Reality. You, too, will discover the powerful results of a simple approach overlooked by the majority of your competition.

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 environment.

I’ve added a number of challenges to the original 14 I shared in the previous article. Tom’s TOP 50 suggestions can and will make a difference if properly applied. 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. It all comes down to the closure of that ever-present “knowing-doing gap.”

  • HAVE YOU thanked a frontline employee for a small act of helpfulness … in the last three hours?
  • HAVE YOU thanked a frontline employee for carrying around a great attitude … today?
  • HAVE YOU, in the last week, recognized—publicly—one of your folks for a small act of cross-functional cooperation?
  • HAVE YOU personally, in the last week-month, called-visited an internal or external customer to sort out, inquire, or apologize for some little or big thing that went awry? (No reason for doing so? If true—in your mind—then you’re more out of touch than I dared imagine.)
  • HAVE YOU, in the last two days, had a chat with someone (a couple of levels down?) about specific deadlines concerning a project’s next steps … and what specifically you can do to remove a hurdle? (“Ninety percent of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get things done.” —Peter “His eminence” Drucker)
  • HAVE YOU, in the last six months, had a week-long, visible, very intensive visit “tour” of external customers?
  • HAVE YOU, in the last two hours, … stopped by someone’s (two-levels “down”) office-workspace for 5 minutes to ask “What do you think?” about an issue that arose at a more or less just completed meeting? (And then stuck around for 10 or so minutes to listen—and visibly taken notes.)
  • HAVE YOU, in the last two weeks, had an informal meeting at least an hour long-with a frontline employee to discuss things we do right, things we do wrong, what it would take to meet your mid- to long-term aspirations?
  • HAVE YOU had, in the last year, a one-day, intense off-site with each (?) of your internal customers, followed by a big celebration of “things gone right”?
  • HAVE YOU, in the last week, pushed someone to do some family thing that you fear might be overwhelmed by deadline pressure?
  • HAVE YOU, in the last 4 hours, injected into a meeting “I ran across this interesting idea in [strange place]”?
  • HAVE YOU examined in detail (hour by hour) your calendar to evaluate the degree “time actually spent” mirrors your “espoused priorities”? (And repeated this exercise with everyone on the team.)
  • HAVE YOU, in the last two months, had a presentation to the group of a cool, beyond-our-industry ideas by two of your folks?
  • HAVE YOU, at every meeting today (and forevermore), had an end-of-meeting discussion on “action items to be dealt with in the next 4 or 48 hours? (And then made this list public and followed up in 48 hours.) And made sure everyone has at least one such item.)

Don’t try to do all of the above at once. Pick one of these items that you do by yourself in the next 4-48 hours.

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

Use the list as the trigger for an ongoing discussion.

As a team, pick two long-term and three short-term ideas.

Even more importantly, visit Tom’s website and take advantage of the remaining 22 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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