Dividends Lie In the Pursuit of Excellence

In a podcast about The Excellence Dividend with business strategy firm the 2112 Group, Peters talks about one of his favourite books, The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy. That author says that when he interviews people he looks at one thing more than others: “do they talk about strategies or do they talk about the things they got done”?

Peters gives wonderful examples about getting things done; for instance how during the Second World War Liberty ships were produced in the US at an incredible rate because they had to be; yet how everything in the 21st century high-tech world seems to take so long to get done, and how everyone seems to be so hung up on analysis and justification that execution is floundering.

Analytic bias has swamped organisational effectiveness, he explains, to the extent that 98% of most presentations is about market analysis, while 2% is about what is being done, what is being achieved. Peters says his approach is to flip this.

He says it does not matter if some of the things that are achieved don’t work out or need to be adapted; many other things will work out well. Things are being done, instead of everyone being so hung up on analysis that most of the time the eventual outcome is little more than mediocre success.

He quotes Australian businessman Phil Daniels, who says his success is based on a simple, six-word philosophy: reward excellent failures, punish mediocre successes. American Mike Bloomberg reiterates this, saying that if employees create a really good failure, promote them.

The emphasis is on excellence; these are people who give 100% of themselves to “doing”. Peters says commitment to excellence is a self-liberating concept that gives purpose to every day, irrespective of the kind of job performed or rank.

He gives sage advice about how excellence in everything that is done can be achieved, with a key emphasis on “active listening”. He urges business, political and all other leaders to start listening to what is going on in their countries, organisations or companies. Leadership is all about active listening, which is far more important than talking.”

> Read the entire article, Dividends Lie in the Pursuit of Excellence, at businesslive.co.za.