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March 1, 2001

3 Min Read
Ready, set, change

An exclamation point is in the logo for tompeters! Co., so when its cofounder and chairman Tom Peters talks about thriving in business today, you can be fairly certain that the discussion will include passion. In fact, he describes his career (as a best-selling business author) as being devoted to putting the passion back into business. Although many of his comments at a recent seminar were directed at professional service firms, the infusion of enthusiasm and insight can also be applied to molding operations. 

Act Now, Analyze Later 
Peters' recent book, The Circle of Innovation, provided the basis for his "Brand Everything: Reinvent Yourself, Your Work, Your Organization" seminar. Distinct or extinct is Peters' mantra. "We are in a brawl with no rules," he says, paraphrasing Xerox ceo Paul Allaire. Peters' advice for business strategy in this uncertain environment is to throw out incremental improvements in favor of innovation. 

It is an "act now, analyze later" mentality that he espouses. From his vantage point as observer, Peters believes that kaizen/continuous improvement tactics are no longer adequate. "It's a time for innovation, not incrementalism. If we are indeed in a brawl with no rules, there is only one possible strategy," he says. "To wit: Screw around vigorously. Or as Ross Perot would say, 'Ready. Fire. Aim.'" 

Driving this revolutionary thinking, which Peters documents as coming from Fortune 500 leaders across the U.S., are several factors. "We are witnessing a once-in-500-years phenomenon known as the Internet Age. According to Arnold Baker, the chief economist at Sandia National Laboratories, "There is going to be a fundamental change in the global economy unlike anything we have had since cavemen began bartering." 

Peters also attributes the atmosphere of rapid change to global competition, a war for talent in the business world, the automation of white-collar tasks, and the increased emphasis on time-to-market. 

Navigating the Waters 
Rather than induce panic, Peters hopes his observations help companies wake up to current realities. "This climate demands a change in strategy," he says, "which is often equivalent to reinventing your entire organization." Here are his key recommendations: 

Lead the customer. Companies should be guided by ideas and informed by the customer. Change is so rapid that consumers can't anticipate the next big thing—you have to invent it first. Engage your customers in a joint-venture journey into the future. Go after WOW projects with cool clients (who are often not the biggest) that turn customers into raving fans. 

Master e-commerce. It is the age of customer control, so giving your customers access to information about their projects via the Internet is essential. Costs are also reduced by automating these functions. You must become an avid student of the Internet. 

Think globally. If something is truly good, then it is good enough for the world. There's no such thing as "too small to be global." Find a modest-sized partner who understands your business and needs your services, and then tailor your offerings to fit. 

Design rules. The iMac proved that even a computer can be elevated to the level of sculpture. Beauty, grace, and clarity are words that you should be able to use to describe your products. Good design is the competitive platform of tomorrow, and the only way to fight commoditization. 

Peters rarely touches on the nuts-and-bolts of achieving these aims during his seminars; however, the company he helped create does offer training programs and consulting services based on Peters' latest books. 

Contact information
tompeters! Co.
Loveland, OH
Tom Peters
Phone: (888) 221-8685
Fax: (513) 683-8958
Web: www.tompeters.com
E-mail: [email protected]

 

 

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