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One-Minute Excellence

--by Tom Peters (Jan 05, 2009)


One-minute excellence. I can sense the curling of your lips. While such a catchphrase makes me shudder, too, it contains a gem waiting to be discovered.

How do you go on an effective diet? How do you stop smoking? How do you stop drinking?

In short, you do it and it's done. Then you work [hard] for the rest of your life to stay on the weight-maintenance, non-smoking, or booze-free wagon.

A while back, I came across a line attributed to IBM founder Thomas Watson, If you want to achieve excellence, he said, you can get there today. As of this second quit doing less-than-excellent work.

The idea is profound.

Suppose you're a waiter and, for your own future's sake (...) you decide to set a matchless standard for service. How? You do it. Now.

Sure you'll be clumsy at first. You'll get a lot of it wrong. You'll need to read up, listen to audio-tapes, take classes, tune in to on-line electronic chat rooms, visit other restaurants to collect clues. And you'll need to keep doing such things to maintain your edge (as an opera singer or a professional athlete does).

Nonetheless, you can become excellent in a nanosecond, staring with your first guest tonight. [...]

Does it sound wild? Silly? Naive? Maybe, but it isn't. The first 99.9 percent of getting from here to these is the determination to do it and not to compromise, no matter what sort of roadblocks those around you (including peers) erect.

The last 99.9 percent (I know it adds up to more than 100 percent -- that's life) is working [in right earnest] to 1. Keep your spirits up through the inevitable storms, 2. learn something new every day, and 3. practice that something, awkward or not and no matter what, until it's become part of your nature.

What holds for the waiter also holds for the manager of a six-person department or the cheif executive of the 16,000 person firm.

How long does it take you, as boss, to achieve world-class quality? Less than a nanosecond to attain it, a lifetime of passionate pursuit to maintain it,

- By Tom Peters from "The Pursuit of Wow!"

 


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On Dec 8, 2017 linkseo786 wrote:

 



On Jan 23, 2009 Rod wrote:

In his book “The Pursuit of Wow”, Tom Peters also used the following Chinese proverb to illustrate the importance of ‘just going for it: “It is not wise to leap a chasm in two bounds.” What Peters didn’t say was there were other sages at the place where those immortal words were spoken. There was an Arab, 2 other Chinese, an American, and a person of uncertain origin. The Arab said, “If you don’t know what is on the other side of the chasm, two leaps are as good as one.” The first Chinese agreed with the proverb speaker by saying “If you wait too long to leap, you will never get to the other side of the chasm.” The second Chinese said, “But, if you want to get across a chasm, it is better to build a bridge.” The American, seeing a business opportunity, answered quickly, “A bridge must be strong enough to last for a long time, well maintained, and I can build and maintain one for you.” The person of unknown origin agreed that there should be a bridge, but added, “The same bridge can  See full.

In his book “The Pursuit of Wow”, Tom Peters also used the following Chinese proverb to illustrate the importance of ‘just going for it: “It is not wise to leap a chasm in two bounds.” What Peters didn’t say was there were other sages at the place where those immortal words were spoken. There was an Arab, 2 other Chinese, an American, and a person of uncertain origin. The Arab said, “If you don’t know what is on the other side of the chasm, two leaps are as good as one.” The first Chinese agreed with the proverb speaker by saying “If you wait too long to leap, you will never get to the other side of the chasm.” The second Chinese said, “But, if you want to get across a chasm, it is better to build a bridge.” The American, seeing a business opportunity, answered quickly, “A bridge must be strong enough to last for a long time, well maintained, and I can build and maintain one for you.” The person of unknown origin agreed that there should be a bridge, but added, “The same bridge can not span all chasms. Because chasms vary in size and other properties, the bridge should be modular so it can be constantly reassembled.” When the last words were spoken, the other sages began to chatter. “A bridge must be strong in structure and able to withstand any storm that might arise,” said one. Another said emphatically, “We have never seen a bridge that can be reassembled at will. I’m convinced it is impossible to build.” A third said, “How can such a structure be maintained? Without constant maintenance, the bridge will surly crumble and fall.” The person of unknown origin listened and nodded after each comment, because she knew there was an element of truth in all of them. Finally she spoke: “To reassemble the modules of a bridge to accommodate each chasm, the blueprint for the bridge must also be modular, those responsible for the modules must constantly communicate with each other in an open and honest manner, and decision making should be distributed among the modules and not forced into a funnel. Otherwise, the resulting structure will not bridge any chasm.” After she spoke, there was silence. The assembled sages said goodbye to each other (because all sages are respectful) and walked slowly to their homes. Did the modular view prevail? The sages are still looking into the chasm.

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On Jan 16, 2009 Chris wrote:
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act; it is a habit. [Aristotle]

On Jan 13, 2009 marilyn wrote:
Thank you for reminding me os what I already know but forget from time to time. I believe that we are "wired" to do our best and fulflill our potential. I know that I feel most alive and fulfilled when I live and act within this context.

On Jan 7, 2009 sariah wrote:
I like nilendra's thoughts on adrop in the sea. What I find facinating to think about is that even a drop in the sea causes a ripple of rings outward...we may never know the influence we had on those around us-whether good or bad. Perhaps it is this thought that helps me the most when I need to pursue excellence.

On Jan 7, 2009 lalith wrote:
nice

On Jan 7, 2009 nilendra wrote:
hey something which is a small drop of water in sea but things count ........ its a drop at least nice work keep thogh

On Jan 6, 2009 Shawnda wrote:
Great advice and a good reminder to me to continue to do these things. I also like to "learn something new every day" and this is why I receive these daily inspirations. I make time (10 min or so) in my job each day to learn something new about the tools I am already using because we usually do not make full use of what they are capable of. By the way, one suggestion for the article...cheif is misspelled it should be chief. Have a Great Day!!

On Jan 6, 2009 Ganoba Date wrote:
What is world class quality?
A myth created by the intellectuals.
Every moment I give the best I can to anyone I come into contact with.
The rest does not matter.
Ganoba