In the last 4 months I have dived real deep into a lot of Tom Peters books. Even in the bygone eras Tom was surely ahead of his time. He does make his books exciting to read. His latest offering is “The Excellence Dividend.” If you have not read anything from Tom Peters this would be a great place to start. He started the Brand you philosophy well before the social media revolution. He wrote about this back in the mid-1990’s and released a book with the same title in 1999. He advises the following 12 things to keep yourself at the top of your game in an age of turbulence and uncertainty. Here they are with my take on each.
Mastery – Be absolutely specialized and great in something. Of course a subject like leadership is not something that can be mastered but still we can learn a lot on how to deal with people and identify strategies to make our ideas win. With the amount of information at our disposal we have an enormous responsibility to use this information to our advantage. Most of the information in the form of blogs, podcasts and eBooks are free. My formula is simple connect with the experts in your field, read their books, listen to their podcasts, read their blogs, document what you learned, share what you learned and take certifications in your area of expertise. Write your own blog as well to stand out.
Mange to Legacy – I take this to mean being very choosy on what you work on. Determine whether you are working on something that is meaningful to you. That’s all that matters. If what you are working on builds on your legacy then go ahead and keep doing it. This is all about getting the big picture of your life.
Unique Selling Proposition – Determine the one word you want to be known by. When your name comes up what do you want people to remember you by. For example, when we say leadership we immediately think of leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi. If you have a unique skill that really does help.
Rolodex obsession – This is all about networking and of course LinkedIn is one of the best platforms for you to have a strong network. Share information relevant to your network. It helps others and builds your brand as well.
Entrepreneurial instinct – This is really all about taking charge of your professional life. You are the CEO of your career and once you start to think like that you will do whatever it takes to learn everything you need to be at the top of your game.
Closer – This is all about implemented projects. You will be known by the projects you complete. Your resume is all about the results you produce.
Mistress of Improv – This is all about playing the role you have been assigned with gusto and also be nimble to take any other role assigned to you. You show your versatility by being flexible and ability to take on multiple roles. Every role requires enthusiasm and Tom talks about attitude a lot. He says no matter what happens bring on your best attitude daily and this will pay off in spades.He calls this unilateral attitude adjustment. Being a team player requires a refreshing attitude.
Embrace marketing – The most important thing here is you need to be able to market yourself in a competitive environment. Again, the avenues for you to broadcast your brand are plenty. The easiest way is to blog about your topics of interest. Everything starts small but once you get onto it you will get better in it. Become a good story teller as well.
Appetite for Technology – This is all about being tech savvy. It means you are up to date on all the technologies sweeping your profession. Again, some books that have helped me here are Thank you for being Late, The truth about your future, The Inevitable and What’s the future and why it’s up to us. Having a good knowledge on Blockchain, IoT and other latest trends also help.
Passion for Renewal – You must see your work in a series of sprints. Do great work for 3 months and take some time off. If you don’t take the time to renew you will burnout and you won’t last the distance. Truly play the long game as you want to be in the game long enough to win big and stay healthy at the same time.
Execution Fanaticism – Execution is everything. Finally, you are judged by the results you produce. The best book on the subject is Execution by Ram Charan and Larry Bossidy. Leaders who win are the ones who are great around execution.
Excellence – This is all about giving your best effort every time you do something. This quote from Vince Lombardi addresses this “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence regardless of their chosen endeavor.” Nobody could have said it better. Excellence is cool, it is amazing and it is rewarding.
For me Tom Peters is one of the best business authors of all time. He has delivered big time in all his books. Check out his books In Search of Excellence, The Tom Peters Seminar, The Pursuit of Wow, Brand You, Reimagine, The Little Big Things and finally The Excellence Dividend. His books have made a true difference to me.
The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.