Episode 16 – Still in Search of Excellence – with Tom Peters
Tom Peters’ latest book, Tom Peters’ Complete Guide to Excellence, is a compilation of wisdom from his storied career over the past 45 years. Though compact, it is no lightweight read offering profound points to consider.
Tom Peters has been revered in the world of business management ever since releasing the 1982 book In Search of Excellence with co-author Robert Waterman. Selling shy of 5 million copies, it is recognized as one of the most influential management works. Tom’s tireless focus is on putting people first and developing leaders who stay in intimate touch with the front-liners who do the real work. In November 2017, Tom received the Thinkers50 Lifetime Achievement Award.
If you want to dive into Tom’s work you’ll find all of his written and speech material covering the last 20+ years available at no charge at tompeters.com and excellencenow.com
Iconic management thought leader Tom Peters is intellectually irritated and still in search of excellence! Join us for episode 16 of the Happy Space Podcast for delightful commentary on the power of women and the end of the three-martini lunch.
In our conversation, we explore several of these including Tom’s deep respect for humanity which he refers to as Extreme Humanism. We dive into sensitivity, his fondness for “quiet” people, inclusivity, and the power of female leaders. We tackle the challenges of managing by zooming around and the need for a new kind of leader. While some understand a different leadership mindset is required for the current world of work, many don’t. We are, indeed, still in search of excellence.
00:09:34 Pandemic-influenced leadership skills
00:10:48 Passing the introvert scale
00:14:35 Tension between leaders and the workforce
00:15:38 The death of the three martini lunch
00:16:40 Managing by Zooming around
00:17:50 Acknowledge the ask
00:23:00 Promote more women
00:26:56 We are a little bit less worse
00:31:21 Intellectual irritation
00:34:44 Can leaders slow down?
00:35:51 Relationships are inversely proportional to speed, period
00:39:48 Saying no to booze
Financial Times article: “Tom Peters: McKinsey's work on opioid sales represents a new low”
The Female Brain - Louann Brizendine
Survival of the Friendliest: Understanding Our Origins and Rediscovering Our Common Humanity - Brian Hare, Vanessa Woods
Leadership the Hard Way: Why Leadership Can't be Taught and How You Can Learn it Anyway - Dov Frohman with Robert Howard
IMAGE CREDITS (see on Youtube video)
Quiet book cover - credit Clare Kumar
Sensitive book cover - credit Clare Kumar
Elaine Aron - credit Clare Kumar
Tom Peters - credit Tom Peters
Elaine Aron - credit Clare Kumar
Bill Clinton - credit Wiki Commons
Video of audience - credit Envato Elements
#Acknowledgetheask - credit Clare Kumar
Financial Times - credit Depositphotos.com
The Female Brain cover - credit Clare Kumar
Christine Farrell - credit Washington Speakers Bureau
Leadership: The Hard Way - credit Goodreads
Learn more about and follow Tom:
Highly sensitive executive coach and productivity catalyst, Clare Kumar, explores the intersection of productivity and inclusivity continually asking how can we invite the richest contribution from all. She coaches individuals in sidestepping burnout and cultivating sustainable performance, and inspires leaders to design inclusive performance thereby inviting teams to reach their full potential. As a speaker, Clare mic-drops “thought balms” in keynotes and workshops, whether virtual or in-person. She invites connection through her online community committed to designing sustainable and inclusive performance, the Happy Space Pod. Why? Because everyone deserves a Happy Space.
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Listen to the audio right here or on your fave podcast platform.
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Audio and Video Editing by: To Be Reel
Production Assistant: Luis Rodriguez
Song Credit: Cali by Wataboi from Pixabay
Clare Kumar: Iconic management thought leader Tom Peters is intellectually irritated and still in search of excellence! Join us for episode 16 of the Happy Space Podcast for delightful commentary on the power of women and the end of the three-martini lunch.
Welcome to the Happy Space Podcast, where we talk about designing inclusive performance through the lens of a highly sensitive productivity catalyst. Uh, that's me! Executive coach, speaker, and brand collaborator, Clare Kumar. Join conversations with authors, culture shapers, space designers, and creators of products, services, and customer experience.
As we highlight astonishing contributions, tempting a more tender world. We know that diversity leads to richer results, so let's accept that productivity is personal and commit to designing with respect for humanity. I aim to leave you with ideas to better support your family, colleagues, customers, community, and not least of all, yourself. For everyone, including you, deserves a Happy Space.
Thanks for joining me for this episode of the Happy Space Podcast. This episode brought me extreme joy and a lot of excitement actually for the interview. If you know Tom Peters, you'll know why. He's someone who speaks his mind as I do, and for a long time, him longer than me, he has been advocating for, and if you can see us on YouTube right now, I'm holding up his book, Extreme Humanism. I'm showing Tom Peter's Compact Guide to Excellence. And it's based and inspired on his work of the past 45 years, but particularly on the concept of extreme humanism. And it's an amazing read. it doesn't take long to read.
It's designed to be read in about an hour, which suits most of our attention spans these days. But it's not a light book. It's full of profound concepts. And Tom and I get into a discussion talking about those. We talk about sensitivity, we talk about inclusivity, we talk about the power of female leaders.
There's so much that we uncover in this conversation that I'm going to invite you to jump right in and for sure reach out to Tom on Twitter. He and I both are still there. And, being a voice for humanity in a place that perhaps needs a little more. So, come and join us there and, and let us know if you saw this episode or you took a listen.
And also, write a review, share some love for the Happy Space podcast, and that will encourage other people to find it as well. Okay, without further ado, I bring you the incredible Tom Peters.
Clare Kumar: I've been incubating in Tom Peters’ podcast interviews, for the past few days, so I feel like we've been chatting for hours already.
Tom Peters: Hey, well, and also I get to interview. I'm totally fascinated by what you're up to and what you're doing, so, you know, you're not the only one, I guess to ask the questions.
Clare Kumar: Okay. Deal, deal. Absolutely. So I wanted to start actually with a big line of curiosity for me when I read the Tom Peters Compact Guide to Excellence. My jaw fell open when you wrote about Susan Cain's book, Quiet, being the best business book of this century so far, right? And your revelation that you may have been dismissing this quiet population and their big value in the business world.
It's interesting because I'm reading another book that's coming out very shortly, and in that book it talks about how Elaine Aron, who's the psychologist who really identified the trait in the late nineties, thinks that Susan Cain's book is actually about sensitive or highly sensitive people, even more than introverts.
So along that line of questioning, I'm curious about sensitivity and Tom Peters, and if it's shown up in your life. If so, how and what you think about this trait now and how valuable it is today.
Tom Peters: Well, I'm not a professional psychologist. I'm reasonably well trained, but I couldn't call myself that. I think in my amateur way, that the sensitivity and the quiet,
I would think you would find them on the same street as it were. I have a thing going with Susan and then, which is really great. I've seen her a couple times and I said, “Susan, did you really have to call me total idiot jerk, and blindfold so clearly in such clear language?”.
And the wonderful thing was, for few days after I read the book or something like that, I spoke to the leadership of a semiconductor manufacturing company, and I more or less started, I said, “you idiots realized that you are missing 50% of the workforce and the 50% that are arguably the best 50%”. And so I've had a lot of fun with it, basically. yeah. I mean, I'm sure, and you know this better professionally than I do, that you could define sensitivity, thoughtfulness...
I mean, the kind of things I remember from Susan's book and other places is we do a group assignment to come up with some ideas and give 'em 20 minutes and they report. The extroverts came up with 23 ideas and basically paid no attention to any of the 23. The introverts came up with four sensitive ones, whichever term you want to use, came up with four ideas and actually chewed them around and passed them back and forth and polished them a little bit.
But my main thing was to just how sad, tragic, and stupid it is that we really had, because the stuff, I mean, for God's sakes, extroverts are considered more physically attractive, more intelligent, all those things just because they never shut their damn mouths and someone who makes a living, not shutting his damn mouth, I'm very sympathetic to that, but I know, you know, it's seldom, particularly if you're a hundred years old as I am, when you run into a book like Susan's, which is just dramatically different than anything you've seen before.
I mean, I've seen it in psych articles and social psych articles and so on, but to be really slapped in the face with a book by her. She's written the new book. And the new book is wonderful. But I just love and I have said, now we have another year, 2023. It's still the best damn management book or business book of the century today.
Clare Kumar: Yeah. I have to advocate a little bit for the extroverts out there because I consider myself an extrovert and like you, I love getting into rich conversation.
What I think is interesting, if we look at sensitivity, it's 70% introverted, 30% extroverted. And the reason I'm bringing sensitivity up, and I'm really curious about your thoughts is because I think this might be where a lot of value lies, whether you're introverted or extroverted, because of the sensitive mind and the traits that show up.
It's in a hundred different species of animals. You mentioned actually in your book, Covid-19 Leadership Skills and you list seven of them. The last one you list is the ability to walk in the other person's shoes. That's a key trait of highly sensitive people. So I'm noticing empathy as a through line in your approach to work and approach to business and putting not just people first, as I saw you put on Twitter out a couple of days ago, that you no longer want to say people are first, it's people are everything. People are the organization. This to me, and this is why I think Tom Peters, you're highly sensitive. I'm going to go on a limb. I think you are.
And I think that empathy, being highlighted as one of the Covid-19 leadership. Is absolutely critical. I'm curious about this list of skills and empathy in particular, and gosh, you listed seven different ways of being. Are there any that we don't need to carry forward? Was it just for Covid-19 or is this really the way we need to show up?
Tom Peters: This is the way we need to do it. 24 hours, you know, 24/7. I, when the pandemic started, my wife, who originally started out as a tapestry weaver, she and her friends were putting together masks in a mask free world. And I was sitting around saying, you know, twiddling my thumbs as they said.
And so I had this, this arrogant flash of arrogance, and I said to Lynette and her colleague Shelly, “I know this is arrogant, but why don't you call up the people we've done podcasts with and tell them that I would like to talk about leadership in the times of the pandemic?”. So it was just a wildcard tossed in and you know, I think we ended up doing 50 of them or something like that, which was really great fun.
But on your sensitivity thing again, and you said you thought I might be sensitive, which I think is true. I passed Susan's introvert scale with flying colors. You know, my single most significant indicator, and you know this is trivial at some level, is I'm the kind of person who goes to a cocktail party, not that I go to many cocktail parties, and I find an old friend or a new friend in the corner and we talk for the next hour.
And it, we don't do it often. We occasionally have parties like that at home, and Susan will come over to me at some point and say, you know, this is our party. You are supposed to be talking to people, you know, get away from Clare, join the world, and you know, I'm definitely, and people can't believe it, but I've read, and this is fabulous.
We can talk about this for hours, that a lot of actresses and actors have that sensibility. And what I'm going to say now is incredibly arrogant, for which I apologize in advance. I am a very good speaker. And I honestly believe that 99% of that is my ability to read/emphasize with an audience. You know, it's exhausting, you've got 500 people in a room and I'm literally watching. I've had somebody, I gave a speech in Washington, DC and the person who was handling me behind stage had handled Bill Clinton on many occasions and he said, “let me tell you about President Clinton. President Clinton is sitting at a long table and senator here, or governor there, the program is over, he races out of his seat and runs up to the 53rd row, and he wants to understand why Clare wasn't smiling during the speech.” I love that example because it's just what we're talking about.
Clare Kumar: Yeah, the high sensitive trait comes with a whole pile of mirror neurons, which enable us to build rapport really quickly. And I used to call myself the Chief Noticer because that's what I'm doing. And as a speaker too,
I'm looking for that energy in the room. I'm looking for what's landing, and I'll tell you, camera's off and presenting on Zoom without some kind of feedback is probably the hardest thing that I'll ever do.
Tom Peters: Well, I've been pleased, and I suspect you would, concur with this because when all this started, I didn't really think you could convey the same level of energy and emotion in a Zoom conversation that I could if I was standing four feet away from you.
And I'm wrong. I mean, my, my wife says when I finish a 45-minute or hour Zoom, I look exactly as exhausted as I did when I was on a stage talking to a thousand people. You know, you give everything you possibly have emotionally and, I don't want to say it works, but it's done. We're having this conversation is a fabulous conversation. I don't think we're losing a lot that we would have if we were standing physically face to face.
Clare Kumar: Agree, agree. It's opened up things for me as a coach. My last clients came from Germany, from LA, from New York, so it's, I think the boundaries are gone if we can. Well, one of the things I talk about a lot is parking our own bias for convenience. I think leaders have a big quest for convenience. And there's this tension now, right?
Between leaders and the workforce. Workforce is saying, you know, about a third of people want to stay working, or want this hybrid kind of thing. Some in the office, some at home. Small percentage of people want to be in the office the whole time and easily a third want to be a home. So we have this tension and…
Tom Peters: One thing does concern me, I have a little bit, and I haven't studied it or done any research, but there's a lot to say for chance meetings in the hall. and I was working with an, with an architectural company that I was doing a public television show on, and they had just rebuilt their offices, they had put big comfy chairs in front of the restroom.
As they think your ex comes out of the restroom and why does, and so we sit down and chat with each other and to, you know, to really put that in context is there was this guy who wrote columns for Fortune Magazine a hundred years ago, Stanley Bing.
And one I remember is he said the death of the three-martini launch will be the end of innovation. You know, it's after the third martini is when you say the really… so that part concerns me. Not the martinis, but the, you know, the crazy chance hallway stuff is, can be really, you know, particularly, and this is not a position I've been in, and, and you probably have more than me, particularly for the leader, and you can do this a little bit on Zoom.
But the meeting is over, and Clare, who is a big contributor, it's just been quiet all morning, and for nothing for any reason other than affection, more than professionality. I'll walk out of the meeting and you will be next to me, and I'll say, “you are pretty quiet this morning, is everything cool? Now that's hard to do on Zoom and I think that's a pretty big deal.
Clare Kumar: I do. And I'm thinking about managing by wandering around and transferring it to managing by zooming around. There's an intentionality around it that I don't think we've been able to recreate so easily, but there are new apps.
I was just reading, there are a bunch, I think maybe even 45 companies that are starting to say, “wait a minute, we need to facilitate this random connection”. So it'll be interesting to see what technology does to kind of meet that, because I mean, I've had C-Suite clients move out of Toronto and are now three hours.
They're not coming in every day anymore. Yeah. So if we've seen that shift, then I think the invitation is to figure out how do we get some of that back and not have this tension. I think one of the things I've been inviting leaders to do, and I'm be curious your thoughts on it, I talk a lot about expanding inclusivity.
So beyond the obvious to expanding inclusivity for the neurodivergent mind. Someone that needs to focus differently for sensitivity, for caregiving, for all of the myriad of things, for menopause, all of these things that need to be considered, but maybe aren't. And what I've been inviting leaders to do is acknowledge the ask.
So there was an assumption that women would do everything to get ready, right? Makeup, hair decisions, decisions, decisions, the commute, the caregiving, all of it. We assumed that that was okay. Was it necessary for the great return on investment of work? So what do you think about this invitation for leaders now to say, “whew, let me think about what I'm asking of my employees before I mandate three days back in the office or five days back in the office.” What are we asking?
Tom Peters: Well, I could give you a two hour answer to that. one of my big biases, hangups, irritations, is. A lot of what you're talking about, artists ought to start in the professional schools. It should be part of the MBA. It should be part in particular of the MD because doctors are often the worst.
It should be part of law school for God's sakes. I have no idea about Toronto and Canada, but in education schools in the United States, they don't teach you how to teach. You know, and that's a gross exaggeration that I'm being unfair. But you know, I think we can start that sensitivity a lot earlier than waiting for, like, I want you to have a great business, but when you get till later and calling in a coach. I wrote a piece in the Financial Times, needless to say, got me in a lot of trouble, which of course was my point.
And I said, we ought to shut down all of the business schools. And part of it is precisely that reason. You know, when the kids come to business school, they want the finance courses, they want the marketing courses. And you know, there's an organizational behavior course which turned me on, but they try to avoid it.
And I was that way as an engineer. I was originally trained as an engineer. We had to take a history course and we had to take an English course, and the engineer said,” oh shit, I got to go do that history thing again”. Which was, and I'm not sure how I would've broken the hold, but I want to start it a lot sooner the coach who has to come in with the 43 year old, I want to get it into the heads of the, as I said specifically, and particularly the professional schools.
I'm having virtually no success. Yeah. but I can at least scream at the wall or scream at the mirror, or what have you. because I so totally agree with you. You know, good God, all the things that are your professional passions. I didn't know, I didn't even have the language. I didn't even have the language.
And I did take a fair amount of, well, I did because I, my PhD is in organizational behavior. It took a lot of social psych and so on, but it wasn't that, it wasn't there either. The kinds of sensitivities you're talking about now, admittedly that was a few years ago and we weren't as tuned in, to those sorts of issues as I'd hope and think maybe a little bit we are today.
Clare Kumar: Well, I think it's definitely changing and I mean, I'm seeing a greater sensibility in the younger generation. I've got two kids in business school right now, so I'm sure they're going to be really thrilled to share this interview with their classmates.
But I sense that there's more, there's a greater awakening to being careful and caring for each. and also in the pandemic, I think what I saw with, you know, I have friends who are both C-Suite level in companies and they were exchanging keys at the airport and you know, running around the world, flying everywhere.
They told me, “gosh, it was really wonderful to sit with my kids and have dinner again”. And so we've had this sort of understanding again about the richness of life. And I think we know, we see millennials are like, “yo, I care about experience and maybe I don't want to have the same vision”.
This is what I saw when I had a 15 year in the corporate world career, and I would look up and I say, “I don't want that quality of life, there's more to life, right?” And so it's interesting. I didn't have the language either. I learned about high sensitivity after I negotiated my way out of the corporate world because this is kind of funny.
I worked for a tech firm selling the technology to enable working from home. I had proven I could work from home. I'd done it for 20 years in different roles, and I was forbidden to continue working from from home for that company, even though my job was 90% over the telephone. I did all the analysis by task, right?
Tom Peters: No surprise. One thing we haven't talked about, particularly in this conversation is important, is one of the best secrets to this thing is promote more women. There is a genetic proclivity, I believe you can tell me if I'm wrong. I read a wonderful book that was called The Female Brain, written by a woman by the name of Louann Brizendine who was a neuropsychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco.
And the one thing that, it was a wonderful book, that sticks in my mind was by the age of three days after birth, baby girls are making four times more eye contact with their fellow human beings than baby boys. And, you know, we've gotten it all wrong, for God's sakes.
You know, reading a book now that's called Survival of the Friendliest, and we got Darwin all wrong. Darwin never said survival of the fittest. He said survival of the most, the most fulsome communities. But I really want to stick with the other one. There's, and then you can see it in, well, I had an experience in 1996.
I had a training company and a woman who was president of my training company, this is out in Palo Alto. She said, “Tom, you're coming to a meeting in Boston in the middle of next week. And I said, “okay, Heather, whatever you say”. And she said, “it's a group of women that I have gathered and they are going to talk to you about what life is like if you are a woman in the corporate world.”
And so she had gathered this incredible group. There was a a women's fashion thing called Domain Home Fashions, and Judy George who started it was there, the woman who was first woman to drive a race car in the Indy 500 was there. And they, you know, to use crude language, they just gave me shit for three hours in a row and it was one of the best days of my life.
But I, you know, I quote, researched by my old, and now unfortunately, turn some wrong paths, McKinsey & Co. that said, the number one thing you do if you want to improve performance is promote more women. So I really think the gender thing is a huge part of it, and we are certainly at the less worse point on the scale.
But I think the number I saw a few weeks ago that I don't remember exactly, but 51 women are CEOs in the Fortune 500, which is about 50 better than it was 25 years ago. But it's still a pretty pathetic number in, you know, 2023, as we're now in. So that's huge. I believe that gender stuff just, you know, you will never knock that out of me, and I love to give men shit about all of that.
Clare Kumar: I love that. I love that point. And I believe I have that book on my bookshelf, in the living room also. So, yeah. Great one. I'm really curious about your persistence in this conversation. I know CNN said that you're reinventing yourself and you're like, “no, I’m not I'm still trying to have the same conversation.”
My through line of conversations I was provoking that no one asked me to have in my career have always been about inviting greater respect for humanity, whether it was, I saw people wearing carpal tunnel braces, and I'm like, why? This is avoidable. and talking to lobbying the COO of our, high tech firm saying, “you know, I'm seeing moms working nine to five and then working nine to midnight, and I'm seeing them exhausted.
What are we doing?” And this is in the early 2000s. what are we doing about reduced work weeks? What are we doing about workplace flexibility? What are we doing to invite the autonomy that thinkers need to be able to manage it all to be able to still be rich contributors? and I seem to want to bang my head against the wall, but I feel like we're in a moment where people are starting to get it.
What's your sense of where we are and your, you know, your 45 year mission of talking about this?
Tom Peters: I wish I could give an easy answer. I would give us a grade of a little bit less worse. But I'm afraid if we, what you've referred to many times in this conversation, if we talked about those top 10 or 15 execs in a big business, it's changed but not enough. One thing that's really critical to this, and again, I beat myself over the head as hard as I can because I was so, whatever, stupid or what have you.
I hate the term management guru, which incidentally was invented by The Economist magazine. but if there is a group of people who are management gurus, our greatest failing is we've focused on the Fortune 500 and the FTSE 100.
The reality in the United States, and I suspect the Canadian numbers are pretty much the same, as 7% or 8% of us work for the Fortune 500, and 90% of us don't. And the wonderful news, I think relative to what you and I are talking about is there are hundreds of thousands in Canada and millions in the United States of small to mid-size businesses that do get this stuff.
And I don't just mean the one person proprietary ship, which is fine, but I'm talking about 10 person, 20 person, 30 person companies. They're the, you know, in a funny way, they're the raw meat I'd like to be going after. I'm not sure I am making those connections, but they are much more malleable.
And I think if you are running, you know, a 20 person company and back to your earlier life and you're a techie, and I sit down with somebody like you and I’m a 29 year old or 31 year old techie running a 15 person company. I think you can mix some real inroads with me. I'm not sure you can do much with that Chief Operating Officer of the gajillion dollar company.
You and I can try, but I'm not going to bet, honest, but I will bet honest, statistically, at least, you know, I said to somebody one time, “if Tony Robbins goes into a room and speaks to a thousand people, he expects to change a thousand. If I go into a room with a thousand people or two people come out determined to do something different, significantly differently, I think I've had a hell of a good day.”
So I really want to focus on the smaller companies, which is not to say that you don't, but you know, I'm mainly just screaming it myself about my failure to do so for so many years and to, well, you know, act as if the world were those big guys. I worked at McKinsey, for God's sakes. That's how they made their money.
Clare Kumar: Yeah, yeah. McKinsey is a whole other conversation. but what what's interesting is I've given been giving a leadership workshop all throughout the pandemic to accountants. So it's through an accounting association here in Ontario. And what's been wonderful about that, it's been new managers, people who are in marketing, retired people and C-Suite.
So it's been across industries. And it's been wonderful to hear the different voices. You know, I've been asking based on some McKinsey article actually about forward leadership qualities. So I'm thinking there's probably some movement and, you know, there's probably some mindset have shifted there and I've turned it into an acronym “avec”, which if you speak French, you know, means “with”.
And you take awareness, vulnerability, empathy, and compassion as key leadership mindsets and ways to be. Now I've been having workshops and in everyone I've been asking people, “so what are you seeing as examples of leaders who are stepping into this?” Some calls not going to lie, it's complete silence.
There's like nothing. And on other calls people have said, “oh, I've had people crying in my office. On the regular every week, for the past month”. And so I'm sensing there's a shift there and you know, and I think maybe Mackenzie is getting it. There's, you know, less worse, it speaks to opportunity.
How do you keep your fire and drive? I mean, I've been at this same conversation, banging in my head for about 30 years. And you've been here for a long time. Is there anything that fuels you? Is it, is it the small wins and going, “I got somebody today”?
Tom Peters: Oh, small wins and just kind of an intellectual irritation. I've said to people, “if you want to understand everything I've written, you have got to show me, and I've got two engineering degrees and two business degrees, you've got to show me a signed certificate of completion from the third grade”. There is nothing that is required relative to what you and I are talking about that is not, it isn't very complicated. I would argue, which is not necessarily happy for me, but I am just so pissed off that the message is so obvious and so straightforward, and that for some reason, despite my best efforts in 2 million miles of frequent fire miles, I haven't gotten there yet.
I just got to tell you one little story which, it's not digression, but it, and I'm considering a memoir and my first draft I wrote about this, so I give a lot of speeches mostly in person until the pandemic and worked for a speakers bureau called the Washington Speakers Bureau, and they're pretty much the pick of the litter.
The CEO is a woman by the name of Christine Farrell. I go down even when I'm not talking or used to and just check in every few months or something like that. And I was talking to somebody outside, Christine's officer in the hallway and they said, “let me tell you how, if you want to understand Christine”. This woman who was not part of this particular interaction, she said, “I went into Christine's office and there was someone who Christine had just laid off hugging Christine, and saying it's going to be okay. I'm going to be okay”.
But you know, when the de facto fired person is comforting the person who fired them, you know, wouldn't we all love to see a zillion times more of that, but I asked myself a question you just asked me every morning when I wake up, you know, for God's sakes, you're a hundred years old now. Why do you think this one day will make a difference?
And it won't in a big way, but you just do your best. Keep trying. The message is clear. The message is simple. The message is powerful. And then stay away from the extroverts. Go for the introverts That's how we started this. That'd be a good starting point. Go for the quiet ones.
Clare Kumar: Go for this sensitive ones is what is where I'm hoping we'll end up, I'll end up with that.
Tom Peters: I'll alter my linguistic expression to never say quiet and say quiet and sensitive. I promise you!
Clare Kumar: Aw, I love it. Thank you. Thank you. That’s a gift. The last question I have for you is really around, and this was in your book too. You mentioned there's a long list of things you mentioned to doing, and with everyone you say, it takes time. We need patience, we need to slow down. Yet we're in a culture that logs faster is better, louder is better. Oh my gosh. How many leaders find slowing down a tolerable idea?
Tom Peters: I think that's a very good question. You know, I quoted in the book, an Israeli by the name of Dov Frohman, who wrote a leadership book. He ran a big part of Intel brilliantly, and he said a lot of wonderful things, but the one I remember most was he said, “every leader should have 50% free time on her or his calendar, because what you are paid for are the things that go wrong or the extra time you want to take and, you know, talk about, you know, whistling into the wind”, that's not going to happen.
And when I talk about it in speeches and stuff, I said, “I know you're not going to get to Dr. Frohman's point, but could you give me 15%, please?” So the slow down, well, I, you know, one thing we haven't said, using the exact words, inarguably, in my opinion, the two most important decisions made in business are hiring and promoting without any question. And someone whose name I don't remember, wrote a wonderful book a couple of years ago, and it was an entire book about hiring.
And either it was in his subtitle or the first sentence in which he said it is the most important thing we do, and the thing at which we are the least well trained. And I feel the same thing is true. You know, on the promotion thing, you know, it's that old one liner. If you want somebody great to lead the sales department, don't hire the best salesperson.
You know, you want somebody with a little different characteristics, but yes, everything is about speed, speed, speed, and all winning in every business, in every activity in life is about relationships, relationships, relationships and relationships are inversely proportional to speed, period. Whether it's your kid, whether it's your spouse, whether it's your aunt Mary, your aunt Frank, or the employees who work for you.
So I don't know what to do other than get a sledgehammer, pound people over their head to tell 'em to slow down. But there's, I mean, it's a no issue thing. It's like all these things, it's so troublesome to me because it's so easy, so straightforward. And to me, and I think you so obvious it's what's wrong with us, Clare, why haven't we gotten this through to you and tens of millions of people.
Clare Kumar: So funny. I was in my bank, which is just across the street from me last week, and there was a new teller and a more experienced manager, and the teller needed to get some help from the manager who was sitting at another computer.
She kept working while he was asking her a question. She wouldn't, she didn't even stop to look at him and, you know, he was sort of checking in, “am I being heard?” She's like,”mm-hmm, yep”. This is so broken. It made him feel uncertain. It made me feel like, what are you doing it? Yeah. And I feel like I will go and find her and just have a chat and let her know that what that did to the client in that moment.
It's, it's about these small moments of noticing and in some way not, you know, we’ve all been guilty of being distracted and of course not as present as we need to be. But I think it's conversation by conversation. Maybe that's why I like speaking on a big stage and doing one-on-one coaching, because I really get that.
It's like at a cocktail party, I get that deep conversation and yeah, real intellectual challenge, all in the same thing. So, this has been a delight. I've been excited about this ever since I reached out to you on Twitter months ago. So thanks for your, thanks for your invitation to set up this time to talk. I'm very excited to share with the world that Tom Peters is a highly sensitive guy.
Tom Peters: I appreciate that. I appreciate that. I can use a little less of that sensitivity sometimes I will, and I'm sure you would agree. There are times. I said to somebody, I'm so sensitive to what's going on that I'm always overloaded.
Clare Kumar: We have strengths and struggles, and the first episode of the podcast, I kind of break down how I've redesigned Dr. Aron's model and I call it a SEED Model™, and I look at the strength and struggle of each of four different traits because we've got much to celebrate. But boy, do we really need to take care of ourselves. We need to protect our hearts and souls as we go to venture to do this great work.
Tom Peters: And to give one last message, which probably will be helpful to 1/8th of 1%, and the way I used to do it was booze and I stopped in 2005 and haven't had a drink for 17 years. And I'm not bragging, I'm just saying it to the 1/8th of 1% who will watch us and listen to us. It can be done.
Clare Kumar: Hooray, hooray, hooray! Thank you so much, Tom, for spending time with me and our listeners out there. Listeners, you know this was gold. If you want to find more about Tom, check out tompeters.com Talk to whom on Twitter. Elon hasn't broken it down, of course, completely yet. We're still there, so let's hope that continues, because honestly, I have found it a way to reach out to inspiring people like you and connect. So I'm hoping that the value stays.
Tom Peters: And a good friend of mine just told me, don't quit. Because I want to quit because I think it's so inappropriate. He said, “if you quit, you're giving Elon a win”, and there's truth there.
Clare Kumar: Let's stay there. Let's stay there and rail and be the voice of respect for humanity. I'll keep hanging out with you there.
Tom Peters: Thanks so much. Thank you, Clare.
Clare Kumar: Take good care, Tom.
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