The Excellence Dividend: Meeting the Tech Tide with Work That Wows and Jobs That Last
by Tom Peters
Tom Peters makes a renewed call to excellence in the context of an increasingly data-driven and dehumanized world. His “putting people first” mantra is even more on point than it was when his seminal work In Search of Excellence was published in 1982.
“The primary defenses against AI-driven job destruction are widespread, relatively unconstrained creativity and novel organizational arrangements designed to produce products and services that will stand out in an automated world. I unequivocally believe that such creativity is antithetical to algorithmic optimization of human affairs.”
“So what is this Excellence Dividend? In short, businesses that are committed to excellence in every aspect of their internal and external dealings are likely to be survivors. They are better and more spirited places to work. Their employees are engaged and growing and preparing for tomorrow. Their customers are happier and inclined to spread tales of their excellence far and wide. Their communities welcome them as good neighbors. Their vendors welcome them as reliable partners. That in turn translates directly into bottom-line results and growth. And, AI and robotics notwithstanding, it translates into jobs that last and the likely creation of new jobs as well.” Continue reading
The Toyota Way
by Jeffrey Liker
The Toyota Way provides an excellent introduction of the Toyota Production System and insights into the company culture.
Toyota is the leader of lean production. In contrast to batch and queue systems, lean focuses on one-piece flow. The customer is the next process and the ideal batch size is one, so the source of defects can be discovered before thousands of defective parts are made. Continue reading
It Worked For Me: In Life and Leadership
by Colin Powell with Tony Koltz
Few people have the range of experiences of Colin Powell: from janitor of a Pepsi bottler to National Security Advisor, from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to Secretary of State. In It Worked For Me he shares stories in a conversational style, many of which include a leadership lesson. And yes, he also includes a chapter on his infamous United Nation presentation, arguably the low point of his career.
It was interesting to hear what it was like to work with Ronald Reagan. In the chapter called Squirrels, Reagan seemed detached from the dilemma Powell was explaining to him (he seemed more interested in the squirrels outside his window), but upon reflection Powell figured out that Reagan wanted his subordinates to make their own decisions. In a separate incident involving a confrontation between U.S. and Iranian naval forces, Reagan was very decisive in his presidential decision when the matter required his approval. Continue reading