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Tom Peters - Atlanta Growth Summit [cont]: To Develop Others, Start with Yourself

Tom Peters offered so many ideas, many of them of the hodgepodge variety, it was like trying to drink from a fire hose. He shot so much, I could only absorb portions and still he didn’t touch all of the slides he had in his presentation. To view his entire slide show go to:  Click on Fortune Small Business Growth Summit, Atlanta, GA 21 October 2008
Among Tom Peters presentation there were many excellent ideas yet none more affirming then the need for each of us to get feedback on our performance and as Marshall Goldsmith [Author of What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful] notes, “To develop others, start with yourself.” Most of us he feels operate with an acute lack of feedback. Just as importantly when we do get feedback many of us fail to respond appropriately. Leaders answer correctly and with conscientious action.
Tom Peters spoke to the brilliance of Peter Drucker and his definition of an Enterprise* ** (*at its best): An emotional, vital, innovative, joyful, creative, entrepreneurial endeavor that elicits maximum concerted human potential in the wholehearted service of others.  no less than Cathedrals in which the full and awesome power of the Imagination and Spirit and native Entrepreneurial flair of diverse individuals is unleashed in passionate pursuit of … Excellence. 
I would argue that each of us should place this definition prominently in our office to ensure we never forget what an enterprise at its best can be. Certainly most of us when we began our business intended for it to be this, yet how quickly we are reduced to focusing on the mundane issues of operating it, rather than the supreme ideals with which we started it.
For those of you who believe the United States is in a state of decline it might be important for you to look at the following facts about our share of world output.
1913: 32%*
1960: 26%
1980: 22%
2000: 27%
2007: 26%
Source: “The Future of American Power,”
             Fareed Zakaria, Foreign Affairs, vol 87, no. 3
*U.S. share of world output
Would you like a key to making better employee selections? It’s pretty simply really, how well and often does the candidate smile? When you think of it, isn’t that a real key to understand what’s going on inside a prospective employee? They eyes are the window to the mind, and seeing someone smile can give you a real indication of what’s going on inside them.
Tom offered the four most important words in an organization, “What do you think?”   Our Gazelles coaching frequently reinforces the critical importance of getting employee input and feedback. Who better to discover where and how we can improve then the people closest to the business, and yet how often do we ask for their input? Another presentation from Guy Parsons on Getting Lean profoundly provided evidence of the critical nature of employee observation. More on that in a latter blog from the Growth Summit.
Wonder what the number one cause of dissatisfaction is in an enterprise? It’s first line supervisors. In fact Peters suggest that your first line supervisors are more important than the Vice Presidents you hire and the people at the top of your organization. The impact of that statement should make you re-evaluate your process for hiring to recognize the importance of who you have in place as your first line supervisors.
I believe I covered everything I promised in my last blog with the exception of two markets you should be considering for your business. That’s to follow in the next blog along with the importance of considering the company we keep, and how diversity trumps ability.

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Positioning Systems helps business owners and entrepreneurs transform their business.   We provide the tools and coaching to help you take control of your business -- rather then having your business control you.