Tom Peters on Creative, Provocative Business

  1. Design is so critical it should be on the agenda of every meeting in every single department.

  2. Excellent firms don’t believe in excellence – only in constant improvement and constant change.

  3. Give a lot, expect a lot, and if you don’t get it, prune.

  4. If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade.

  5. If your company has a clean-desk policy, the company is nuts and you’re nuts to stay there.

  6. The simple act of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity.

  7. To deal with the absurdly unlikely, we can find resilient people and shape our organization to be more or less able to respond to a knockout blow—right out of left field.

  8. If you love your company and love what you do, you will serve your customers better—period!

  9. Nearly 100% of innovation — from business to politics — is inspired not by “market analysis” but by people who are supremely pissed off by the way things are.

  10. Business isn’t some disembodied bloodless enterprise. Profit is fine — a sign that the customer honors the value of what we do. But “enterprise” (a lovely word) is about heart. About beauty. It’s about art. About people throwing themselves on the line. It’s about passion and the selfless pursuit of an ideal.

  11. Life at work can be cool — and work that’s cool isn’t confined to Tiger Woods, Yo-Yo Ma, or Tom Hanks. It’s available to all of us and any of us.

  12. If you genuinely want to put customers first, you must put employees more first.

  13. Diversity creates one and only one thing: opportunity.

  14. Business, in the mad global marketplace, needs a rush of serious creativity.

  15. Your power is almost directly proportional to the thickness of your Rolodex, and the time you spend maintaining it. Put bluntly the most potent people I’ve known have been the best networkers — they “know everybody from everywhere” and have just been out to lunch with most of them.

  16. The best leaders . . . almost without exception and at every level, are master users of stories and symbols.

  17. There is no such thing as a minor lapse of integrity.

  18. It is essential to begin with emotion.

  19. Make “What, exactly, have you changed?” the most common question in the organization. Ask it a dozen times a day, at least.

  20. If you are not reconfiguring your organization to become a fast-changing, high-value-adding creator of niche markets, you are simply out of step.

  21. You are out of tune with the times if you are in the office more than one-third of the time.