PULPIT // 2013

Tom's in Stavanger, Norway, and he spoke at a conference titled PULPIT // 2013. There is a popular hiking spot nearby with the same name, Pulpit Rock, or Preikestolen in Norwegian. The presentation is linked below.

PULPIT, Norway
PULPIT, Long Version

Review Reviewed

Via Sally Helgesen writing at strategy+business.com, we get a book recommendation, that is, Laura Rittenhouse's Investing Between the Lines: How to Make Smarter Decisions by Decoding CEO Communications. Sally explains the background of the book and Laura's Rittenhouse Rankings, where companies' CEO letters and other forms of corporate communications are scored on transparency and language that indicates truth-telling, using techniques of forensic investigators and SEC analysts. Points are deducted for FOG, "fact-deficient, obfuscating generalities." I love that term. Who hasn't been frustrated by jargon-filled messages with no apparent meaning?

Tom started a Twitter thread on 18 August, and people jumped in enthusiastically with their faves (see the whole list, with credits, at "read more" below): mind-mapping, blue sky thinking, business transformation, discuss off-line, there's a disconnect, war room and all military metaphors, team player, bang for buck. And the winners are! ... "firm up over the grey areas" and "may or may not be related to." FOG? Absolutely.

In her book review, Sally goes on to say that Rittenhouse garnered criticism for trying to quantify something as soft as words. As Tom has said many times, "Hard is soft. Soft is hard," i.e., it's a cinch to make the numbers show whatever you want to prove, but the soft stuff like words is much harder. And, with forensic analysis, harder to hide behind. Trying to obscure the truth will reveal itself, and be publicized in the Rittenhouse Rankings.

Thanks to Sally Helgesen for sending this story our way.


Slides: Corporate Visions

Tom spoke to a group at Corporate Visions, a firm that provides "marketing and sales messaging, tools and training products and services" to globally recognized companies. The PPT presentation is linked below, and it includes many new insights Tom has culled from books he's read recently, most notably, books about gaming.

Corporate Visions, 19 September 2013
Corporate Visions Long Version


In many circles, the book was anxiously awaited. It was anxiously awaited by Tom, too. He assumed the book would be a hatchet job—and that one of the hatchets would be imbedded in his back.

He need not have worried. The book: The Firm: The Story of McKinsey and Its Secret Influence on American Business, by Duff McDonald. It produces as many positives about McKinsey as negatives. But Tom and In Search of Excellence are treated in glowing terms. "I was stunned," he told us. There are numerous references to Tom and Bob Waterman, but the brief excerpt below is indicative:

"Though his tenure was relatively short and he left under contentious circumstances, Peters is the most famous consultant McKinsey has ever produced. His influence on the firm was enormous and helped raise its profile beyond Bower's wildest dreams. ... Peters helped rebrand McKinsey as a group of thinkers, while at the same time revealing some less-than-great qualities of McKinsey, such as its utter incapacity to deal with a star in its midst."

Brand You

This week on the blog at the NewYorker.com, an article titled "You Are What You Tweet" discussed the subject of personal branding. It gives credit to Tom for sparking the phenomenon in his Fast Company piece, "The Brand Called You," which outlined the idea that all workers (receptionists to CEOs) must be in control of their own careers. Sixteen years after publication, Tom's article is still the go-to resource on the subject, though he couldn't predict the impact of social media, as explored in the New Yorker blog. We suggest you read them both.

Watch and Wait

Continuing his exploration of the subject he introduced here in a blog titled Quiet!, Tom wrote an article for the Financial Times about the value of introverts in a position of leadership. Tom begins with acknowledging that the idea may be opposite to theories he's espoused in the past. Bottom line: There's room at the top for quiet thinkers along with the take-action leaders he's cheered on for years. Registration at ft.com is required for viewing the article. We think you'll find it worth the effort:

"Leaders Must Watch and Wait More Often" (posted at ft.com on Monday, 26 August 2013).

Leadership by Diagram

A few weeks ago, Jean-Jacques Dubray, from a website called b-mc2.com, sent a direct tweet to Tom alerting him to a BOLT diagram he'd assembled from Tom's Leadership Reductionist Self-Assessment. Tom liked it and asked us to post a link. The graphical representation of Tom's desirable leadership traits brings into focus what he considers the most important skills in a leader, and also provides a pathway for studying these skills or putting them into practice. Enjoy!

Tom's Leadership Self-Assessment
BOLT Diagram on b-mc2.com

New Weekly Quote Design

For those who are subscribed to receive a weekly quote from Tom in their inbox, we're excited to announce that a new design will launch on Monday, the 19th. We think you'll enjoy the new look, as it has a much stronger focus on why you subscribed: the content. We'd love to hear what you think; email us at tom@tompeters.com. And if you haven't signed up yet to have Tom's words start your week with a bang, now's the time: Subscribe!


As some of you know, I have been regularly shouting about Susan Cain's book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. I think it's a breakthrough book. Put simply, I judge that many of us have undervalued, and often underemployed and underutilized, roughly half the population—introverts. In any event, as usual, I turned my favorite bits into, what else, a PowerPoint "presentation." You'll find it here. I urge you to take it seriously—start by buying the book!

(I first used Cain's book at a talk to a tough-as-nails company in a wildly competitive market. They talk tough, and acknowledge having a strong hiring bias in the direction of "aggressive" people. Makes sense in their world—but what if they're missing out on a huge hunk of the population that brings different and desirable traits to the party? E.g., looking before leaping. Several folks came up afterwards and claimed that they'd give this a lot of thorough examination—that there might be another planet to explore.)

I repeat: This could be huge!


Tom launched August with a twitter frenzy. A few highlights:

On Feedback

Giving feedback is not for amateurs.

Is there any more difficult task than giving effective feedback? If there is, I can't imagine what it would be.

If you think giving feedback is easy or "straightforward," then you are hyper-shitty at giving feedback.

No one is open to poorly proffered feedback. No one = No one.

Giving feedback is a skill to be studied, practiced and mastered as much/as carefully as, say, playing the piano.

Begin with a planet-class training course [on giving feedback], require EVERYONE to take it, provide mandatory annual refresher.

On Teasing

You are a lively soul, and I salute you. But as a boss, be careful when you tease someone who works for you. BE VERY CAREFUL.

Always remember, boss/project leader, the hypersensitive ones may be your very best folk. Don't mistake your thick skin for the norm.

Teasing people is a dangerous profession. (Under any and all conditions.)

@Gil_Bashe 2h @tom_peters Think we need to see our actions in the lens of how we impact others - never to embarrass always to advance the human condition.

Teasing In Cyberspace

Teasing is about all the senses taken together. It can backfire X100 in cyber-conversations.

Use of body language in the theater and on the screen are two very different states of affairs.

Using body language in 2-dimensional space obviously doable. As movie directors know as a matter of course.

Reading body language effectively is 10X more difficult than reading Shakespeare.

As a public speaker, effectively reading body language is perhaps #1 skill/asset

On Bosses' Delusions

If you are a boss and are pleased that people came around to see things your way, worry. Worry a lot.

Boss: Never mistake the fact that people agree with you for their actual feelings

On Who You Hang Out With

@oribrafman When you interact with others who are different, amazing, and serendipitous, things tend to happen.

TP Responses to @oribrafman:

Making this happen regularly [interaction with those who are different] is of the utmost personal and organizational importance and demands systematic thought

And when you fail to do this you mentally and emotionally shrivel by the hour.

This is not a "good idea." It's a life or death, win or lose strategic outlook.

This is not a "generic" issue. This is a ... TODAY ISSUE

Straight talk: You must work your ass off on this. Without intervention, "same same" is the default option.

Top 2 innovation imperatives: Try a lot of stuff. Hang out with interesting people.



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