A Traveling Banner

Tom and his wife, Susan, have fallen deeply in love with New Zealand. Each year they spend several months there. Right now, they're making their way to the near-literal antipode of Vermont to begin their 2012 respite. To celebrate, we thought you'd enjoy a New Zealand-themed banner during the time that Tom is staying there. It was designed by the talented Joy Stauber. Tom took the center photo himself.

“This Is It”
Excellence. Now.

This is it.
"It"/MOAP/Mother Of All Presentations/ excellencenow.com took three years to write.
And 45 years of preparation.

MOAP is in effect—23 parts and 4,096 slides—"all I know."

And all yours, no strings attached, to be used as you wish and released by us at the rate of one part every two weeks until more or less the end of 2012.



A few short pieces (Word or PowerPoint) published during 2011 may be worthy of your attention—so we're re-sending. Enjoy!


2 Things
3 Things
Excellence 25
Excellence Is the Next 5 Minutes
Ready. Fire! Aim.
What You Do


The Five Most Important Words
Adaptive Organizations
The Have You 50
Memories That Matter
REALLY First Things
The Recession 46

TLBT Video #72
Brand You: Three-Minute Apologies

We add another video to The Little BIG Things series on YouTube. In the spirit of the coming New Year, it offers, perhaps, a suggestion for change you might plan to make in the year to come. According to Tom, one of the most important practices you adopt should be the apology. Three minutes, BIG impact.

You can find the video in the right-hand column of this page or watch it at YouTube (time: 1 minute 49 seconds). Or, get a PDF transcript of the video's content: Brand You: Three-Minute Apologies.

Merry Christmas!


Tom and everyone at tompeters.com wish you a Merry Christmas.

TLBT Video #71
Service: Invest in Your People

The Little BIG Things video series at YouTube continues today with a reminder from Tom about what's really important to your business. It's the people. We think this is a great message for the holiday season. What have you done for your people at this time of year?

You can find the video in the right-hand column of our front page, or watch it here (time: 2 minutes 45 seconds). Also, you can get a PDF transcript of the video's content: Service: Invest in Your People.

Final: The Little BIG Things Read by Tom

When Tom was reading The Little BIG Things for the audio edition, we got copied on the files, and we've posted them here at tompeters.com a section at a time. The book is now complete. You can listen to The Little BIG Things in its entirety on our book page, or sample the last section below.

The final audio excerpts, posted 19 December, bring the book to a close with the section titled "BIG":

161. Retirement Sucks.

162. Think Legacy!

163. Don't Forget Why You're Here!

Why Now Is The Time to Give Your Business Some Zoom

[Guest post by Ian Sanders, who has posted here before. He is an author, ideas guy, and marketing expert. His new book, co-written with David Sloly, is Zoom! The Faster Way To Make Your Business Idea Happen (published by Financial Times Prentice Hall). See more at www.iansanders.com.]

When I was researching my new book Zoom!, I got in touch with Tom to get his take on the essential ingredient for success. Despite all the demands on Tom's time, he sent me a reply just a couple of days later.

Tom's speed of response was echoed by a line in his email: "I've only learned one thing in 40 years of business: 'He who tries the most stuff the fastest wins.'"

This was music to my ears. Being rapid in business has a bad press. If you're launching a business fast or turning an idea into reality in days not weeks, people assume that by fast-tracking, quality suffers. Not so. Speed is the factor that can make a difference in the marketplace, speed can beat the competition, speed can get you customers.

Because it's not having the idea that wins; it is—of course—about how quickly you execute. Software start-ups have known this for a long time, where in the long tail of the apps market, developers make their products fit for purpose and launch early, rather than wait until they're perfect. "Fit for purpose" means while it's still a prototype, you're shipping a product of value—it has to do its job, solve the problem, fix the headache. Getting it out early, listening to user feedback, and making adaptations as you go keep you ahead of the competition.

Speed is a business lesson that any organisation can learn; it's not just for start-ups. Whether it's a product launch or a new division being started, making it happen fast is critical. Too many organisations get so stuck in internal procedures they lose focus on just getting it done. Ideas are mulled over in meetings, those meetings run overtime, and decisions get carried over to the next month. What would have been a brilliant, "WOW" idea if it was launched in 10 or 30 days becomes weak when it is finally launched, diluted, 100 days later. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Venture capitalist and former chief evangelist of Apple Guy Kawasaki backs this up. When I spoke to him for Zoom!, Guy said that making your business happen fast is about shipping your product to real life customers. "I'm not saying you should ship a piece of crap: you should ship something great. But if you try to ship something great that is perfect, you're going to take too long. You'll learn more about your product in the first week after shipping than 52 weeks thinking about and studying and doing focus groups."

So whatever business you're in, try thinking like a software company and apply speed to make your idea happen. It's better to launch "in beta" rather than to procrastinate and get stuck in business planning. Or should that be 'business guessing"—after all, who knows what will happen in five years' time? The idea that launches fastest is the one that succeeds; "done" is often better than "perfect."

Don't be one of those people who had a great business idea but got beaten to launch. Put your foot on the accelerator and make it happen: give it some Zoom!

Forbes on Social Entrepreneurs

Acumen Fund founder Jacqueline Novogratz is on the 19 December Forbes cover. The lead article, which I highly recommend, is titled "Innovation Saves the World: The Social Entrepreneurs Making an Impact."

As usual, the magazine offers as its last page a collection of "Thoughts," in this instance "Thoughts on Philanthropy."

I was utterly taken by the pair below:

"Too few millionaires who aspire to win fame as philanthropists begin at home, among their own workers. To grind employees and then donate a million dollars to perpetuate his name is not a particularly laudable record for any man to live or to leave behind him."—B.C. Forbes/1917

"Many people ... give extensively of their time and talents to help others. Gifts of this kind often prove to be far more valuable than money. A struggling child, befriended and nurtured by a caring mentor, receives a gift whose value far exceeds what can be bestowed by a check."—Warren Buffett

TLBT Video #70
Leadership: Hire the Last One Percenters

The latest in the The Little BIG Things Video Series is posted at YouTube. Tom explains that, when hiring, you should look for a special class of people who can't rest until the job is finished—through that last one percent.

You can watch the video here (Time: 2 minutes 48 seconds). Also available, a PDF transcript of the video's content: Leadership: Hire the Last One Percenters.



Puzzled at work? Discover ways to put Tom’s ideas into Action.