The little big things: 163 ways to pursue excellence (tom peters)

This is the era of short attention spans. And short business books. And yet The Little BIG Things came in at 538 pages – albeit there were 163 items, averaging about 3 pages each, and additional space consumed by oversized type used for emphasis (hey, that’s what I do). I wouldn’t cut it by a page – I didn’t. Nonetheless, in the interest of getting connected with as many people as possible, I’ve produced this “Highlights” pdf which captures the “BIG idea” in each of these “little ideas.” Missing are (1) the nuances and (2) 90 percent of the “How to’s” and the rationale for those “How to’s.” Eliminating the subtleties and cutting the action part is cutting the heart out of the book – nonetheless, I hope you will be titillated by what follows and moved, perhaps, to purchase the whole shebang. – Tom Peters, July 2010, West Tinmouth VT

“Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart.” – Henry Clay, American Statesman (1777-1852)

One executive who was a stalwart admirer of In Search of Excellence called that book’s innards “a blinding flash of the obvious.” Indeed, it focused on people, customers, action-over-analysis-paralysis and values – basics all too frequently short-changed in a world of enterprise dominated by business-school thinking and consultants bent upon creating complex business strategies (that invariably came a cropper upon attempted implementation)
The Little BIG Things might well be called “more of the obvious.” It’s based on 40+ years living and working in and observing organizations, and five years of Blogging and the “success tips” posted during that time that re-emphasized, mostly, those basic ideas – little big things. Still ignored

– and the absence of which are at the root of organizational failures, personal pratfalls and, indeed, the Great Recession of 2007++

“LITTLE” 1. It’s All About the Restrooms! A sparkling restroom with family photos in a small restaurant in Gill MA shouts “We care.” (Hey, I made this the #1 item in my book for a good reason!) To enshrine this attitude in the organization I suggest in part, tongue only half in cheek, a job titled, perhaps: “Little Things Lunatic,” “Tiny Touch Maniac-in-Chief,” or “Wizard-of-Wee.” The devil – and a culture that demands EXCELLENCE – really is in the details! 2. “Small Stuff” Matters. A Lot! For you or me, the recorded phone message literally sets the stage. A vast array of “small stuff” like this adds up to strategic distinction – or, clearly, not
Moreover, working on “the small stuff” is doable, right now, with no muss or fuss or political infighting or position of formal power
3. Flower Power! An unlimited flowers budget, regardless of the economic context, may yield the highest “ROI”/Return On Investment imaginable. Flowers transform spaces and attitudes! My advice: Go berserk…
4. Master the Fine Art of… Nudgery! Huge multipliers emanating from “nudges” lie in wait all around us: – Wal*Mart increases shopping cart size – and sales of big items (like microwave ovens) go up… 50 percent! – Use a round table instead of a square table – and the percentage of people contributing to a conversation leaps up! – If the serving plate is more than 6.5 feet from the dining room table, the number of “seconds” goes down 63 percent, compared with leaving the serving plates on the table
– Want to make a program “strategic”? Put it at the top of every agenda.

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The little big things: 163 ways to pursue excellence (tom peters)