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Excellence. Leadership. Hard is soft. soft is hard. Tom Peters/1209.08. Excellence: Leading as Symbolic Behavior Tom Peters/1203.08. “Nothing is so contagious as enthusiasm.” —Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

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Hard is soft.

soft is hard.

Tom Peters/1209.08



Leading as Symbolic Behavior

Tom Peters/1203.08


“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”—Gandhi The silliest debate imaginable is: “style” versus “substance.”“Nothing is so contagious as enthusiasm”—perhaps the most “substantive” remark I’ve ever read. If excellence in execution is “the last 98%,” which it surely is, then “enthusiasm” is the foremost word in the language in the world of enterprise effectiveness. It’s simple: for leaders, style = substance.


“The first and greatest imperative of command is to be present in person. Those who impose risk must be seen to share it.”—John Keegan, The Mask of Command


CBVA**Command By Visiting About/U.S. Grant/circa 1865 (“In these days of telegraph and steam I can commandwhile traveling and visiting about.”)

the deepest human need is the need to be appreciated william james
“The deepest human need is the need to be appreciated.”—William James

“An actor in his youth,[Pope]

John Paul was a master of grand gestures.”—USA Today


“Prison was a political stage. … He honed his natural ability for theater toward the achievement of political ends, rehearsing his role among his jailers. … taught himself their language … set about learning the Afrikaan mentality …”—John Carlin, Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation.


“Teaching is, of course, a form of theater.While the point is to have the students learn, the teacher has to explain, cajole, provoke, inspire, criticize, demand, love. Like acting, teaching demands much of personality [X Y, Z—great teachers] were all hams in their own way.” —Ted Sizer, Horace’s Compromise: The Dilemma

of the American High School


“A key – perhaps the key – to leadership istheeffectivecommunicationofastory.”—Howard Gardner,Leading Minds: An Anatomy of Leadership


“To change minds effectively, leaders make particular use of two tools: the stories that they tell and the lives that they lead.”—Howard Gardner, Changing Minds


*Presence where it



*Leader’s world is


*Acting skills.

*Great (!) storyteller.

*The life you live,



“Allied commands depend on mutual confidence

[and this confidence]

is gained, above all

through the development


—General D.D. Eisenhower,

Armchair General* (05.08)*“Perhaps his most outstanding ability [at West Point]

was the ease with which he made friends and earned the trust of fellow cadets who came from widely varied backgrounds; it was a quality that would pay great

dividends during his future coalition command


Ike: An American Hero, Michael Korda/pp268-371:

“infectious grin and great charm” “nice face” “grin that was to become so famous” “got along famously” “goodwill was spontaneous and easily recognizable” “good impression that Ike had made in six weeks” [newcomer junior general to supreme commander, Torch; Marshall-ADM King-Roosevelt-Churchill-British Chiefs of Staff] “least rank-conscious of generals” “Men were happy to serve under Ike, even British admirals and generals who might easily have raised objections. His sincerity and lack of ceremony made it difficult, even impossible, to refuse him, and enabled him very rapidly to pull a team together …” “Ike was gregarious, rarely had anything bad to say about anyone, and, on the surface at least, was relaxed and good natured.” “Whereas Ike’s good humor was genuine, unaffected, and affectionate, Monty’s

[Field Marshall Montgomery] was cruel and mocking and

always carried a sting”


Ike: An American Hero, Michael Korda/p430:

“The Allies had generals with, perhaps, a sharper strategic vision than Ike. … There were also generals who were more experienced at ‘fighting a battle.’ … But there was nobody who had anything like Ike’s record of leading people in an alliance—always the most difficult feat in warfare. … What is more, Ike somehow inspired people: civilians and ordinary soldiers of both nations, even cynical political figures and the always troublesome French. Something about his biggrin; his long-limbed, loose American way of walking (the Kansas farm boygrown to a man); his easy, familiar way of speaking to everybody from King George VI down to privates in both armies; his lack of pretension; his evident sincerity … They were willing to be led by him, They were willing to have him command their sons and husbands in battle. They trusted him. They were willing to die for him.”


“Mandela, a model host [in his prison hospital room] smiled grandly, put [Justice Minister Kobie] Coetzee at his ease, and almost immediately, to their quietly contained surprise, prisoner and jailer found themselves chatting amiably. … [It had mostly] to do with body language, with the impact Mandela’s manner had on people he met. First there was his erect posture. Then there was the way he shook hands. The effect was both regal and intimidating, were it not for Mandela’s warm gaze and his big, easy smile. … Coetzee was surprised by Mandela’s willingness to talk in Afrikaans, his knowledge of Afrikaans history.” Coetzee: “He was a born leader. And he was affable. He was obviously well liked by the hospital staff and yet he was respected even though they knew he was a prisoner.”

Source: John Carlin, Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela

and the Game that Made a Nation. (Mandela meets surreptitiously with

justice minister after decades in prison—and turns on the charm)


“Prison was a political stage. … He honed his natural ability for theater toward the achievement of political ends, rehearsing his role among his jailers. … taught himself their language … set about learning the Afrikaan mentality …”

Source: John Carlin, Playing the Enemy:

Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation)


Guard:“He actually preached this to us, the Afrikaaner was an African. … whatever solution there was going to be on the political issues was going to involve Afrikaans people.”

Source: John Carlin, Playing the Enemy:

Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation.


“He set himself a goal—to persuade them to treat him with dignity.”

Source: John Carlin, Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela

and the Game that Made a Nation.


Mandela re jailers: “The key to it was respect, ordinary respect.” “George [Bizos, Mandela’s lawyer], I’m sorry, I have not introduced you to my guard of honor [eight guards].” “Mandela identified each of the officers to Bizos by name. The guards were so stunned [per Bizos] ‘that they actually behaved like a guard of honor, each respectfully shaking my hand.’”

Source: John Carlin, Playing the Enemy:

Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation.


Major Van Sittert, brute commanding officers, immune to Mandela’s charm: “He thought hard, probing for weakness. And he found one. Sittert was a rugby nut. So, Mandela, who had no special interest in rugby [the quintessential white man’s sport], set about zealously learning the game in preparation for the major’s monthly visit.” Christo Brand, guard: “Mandela was very polite as usual. He greeted [Sittert] with a big smile, and then immediately started talking rugby. … Once the major got over his amazement, he became very animated, agreeing with Mandela on almost every point he made. You could see all those doubts of the major just melting away.”

Source: John Carlin, Playing the Enemy:

Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation


“[The Springboks] had become, literally, political players. On this morning of the final, they understood with daunting clarity that victory against New Zealand might achieve the seemingly impossible: unite a country more polarized by racial division than any other in the world.”

Source: John Carlin, Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela

and the Game that Made a Nation. (Mandela uses Rugby

World Cup championship game to unite South Africa)


“… a luminescent smile” … “he’d greet the hospital operator [Brigham and Women’s, Boston]—whichever of the dozen or so came on the line—and quickly ask about her blood pressure or her husband’s heart condition, or her mother’s diabetes …” … “Farmer sat down on Joe’s bed, on the corner of a mattress, folding himself half around Joe … He placed a hand on Joe’s shoulder and stroked it. … as if there were no one else in the world.”

—Tracy Kidder, Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer,

a Man Who Would Cure the World


“In the same bitter winter of 1776 that Gen. George Washington led his beleaguered troops across the Delaware River to safety, Benjamin Franklin sailed across the Atlantic to Paris to engage in an equally crucial campaign, this one diplomatic. A lot depended on the bespectacled and decidedly unfashionable 70-year-old as he entered the world’s fashion capitol sporting a simple brown suit and a fur cap. … Franklin’s miracle was that armed only with his canny personal charm and reputation as a scientist and philosopher, he was able to cajole a wary French government into lending the fledgling American nation an enormous fortune. … The enduring image of Franklin in Paris tends to be that of a flirtatious old man, too busy visiting the city’s fashionable salons to pursue affairs of state as rigorously as John Adams. When Adams joined Franklin in Paris in 1779, he was scandalized by the late hours and French lifestyle his colleague had adopted, says [Stacy Schiff, in A Great Improvisation] Adams was clueless that it was through the dropped hints and seemingly offhand remarks at these salons that so much of French diplomacy was conducted. … Like the Beatles arriving in America, Franklin aroused a fervor—his face appeared on prints, teacups and chamber pots. The extraordinary popularity served Franklin’s diplomatic purposes splendidly. Not even King Louis XVI could ignore the enthusiasm that had won over both the nobility and the bourgeoisie. …”Source: “In Paris, Taking the Salons By Storm: How the Canny Ben Franklin Talked the French into Forming a Crucial Alliance,” U.S. News & World Report, 0707.08


The ragtag and victory-less Continental Army was retreating, George Washington notwithstanding. For the Americans, finding an ally was a life or death proposition. Short, fat old Benjamin Franklin was our man in Paris. Short, fat and old though he may have been, he was a Charmer. He won the hearts and devotion of the ladies of high society with his mastery of Tea & Flattery. The Americans eked out a success at Saratoga which Franklin turned into an epic victory—and the besotted ladies convinced their mighty husbands to get behind the Americans. The rest, as they say, is history.

The launchpad for Gulf War I was Saudi Arabia. Despite the Saudis need to have Iraq’s Kuwaiti incursion reversed, the Kingdom was touchy about the massive American military presence on their Holy soil. Allied supreme commander Norm Schwarzkopf says, tongue only half in cheek, that his principal contribution to the war effort was nightly marathon sessions sipping tea with the Crown Prince.

The point: No matter how weighty the cause, “giving good tea”—an incredible and expensive (in terms of time) investment in key relationships is typically invaluable and of decisive strategic importance. Message: Master the Art of Tea—metaphorically at least—and make it in to the history books.


“Retired United States Navy Captain Mike Abrashoff knows the importance of saying ‘Thank you.’ In It’s Your Ship, Abrashoff relates how he sent letters to the parents of his crew members on the guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold, many of whom came from underprivileged backgrounds. Putting himself in those parents’ shoes, he imagined how happy they would be to hear from the Commanding Officer that their sons and daughters were doing well. And he figured that those parents would, in turn, call their children to tell them how proud they were of them.

“Abrashoff debated whether to send a letter to the parents of one young man who wasn’t really star material. Weighing the sailor’s progress, he decided to go ahead. A couple of weeks later, the sailor appeared at his door, tears streaming down his face. It seems that the kid’s father had always considered him a failure and told him so. After reading the captain’s letter, he called to congratulate his son and tell him how proud he was of him. ‘Captain, I can’t thank you enough,’ said the young man. For the first time in his life, he felt loved and encouraged by his father.

“As Abrashoff says, ‘Leadership is the art of practicing simple things—commonsense gestures that ensure high morale and vastly increase the odds of winning.’ In other words, small changes can have big consequences.

Source : Rick Faulk and Barry Libert, BARACK, INC.

What Business Can Learn from the Obama Campaign


George Crile (Charlie Wilson’s War) on Charlie Wilson:“The way things normally work,

if you’re not Jewish you don’t get into the Jewish caucus, but Charlie did.

And if you’re not black you don’t get

into the black caucus. But Charlie plays poker with the black caucus; they had

a game, and he’s the only white guy in it. The House [of Representatives],

like any human institution, is moved

by friendships, and no matter what people might think about Wilson’s antics, they tend to like him and enjoy

his company.”


The 95% Factor: “What I learned from my years as a hostage negotiator is that we do not have to feel powerless—and that bonding is the antidote to the hostage situation.”—George Kohlrieser, Hostage at the Table


The Real World’s “Little” Rule Book



DDE/make friends

WFBuckley/make friends-help friends

Gust/Suck down

Charlie/poker pal-BOF

Eddie (Edward VII)/dance-flatter-mingle-learn the language

Vlad (Putin)/birthday party of outgroup guy’s wife

CIO/finance network

ERP installer/consult-“one line of code”

GE Energy/make friends in risk assessment

GWB/check the invitation list


Hank (Paulson)/60 calls


Delaware/show up

Oppy (Oppenheimer)/snub Lewis Strauss

NM (Mandela)/smile

-$4.3T/tin ear

TP/3M, I’m sorry 4-What do you think?


Banker/after church

Total Bloody Mess/Can they pay back the loan?


Exuberance: The Passion for Life, by Kay Redfield Jamison+

“I believe exuberance is incomparably more important than we acknowledge. If, as has been claimed, enthusiasm finds the opportunities and energy makes the most of them, a mood of mind that yokes the two of them is formidable indeed. …Exuberance is,

at its quick, contagious. As it spreads pell-mell through a group, exuberance excites, it delights, and it dispels tension. It alerts the group to change and possibility.”


Exuberance: The Passion for Life, by Kay Redfield Jamison+

“At a time of weakness and mounting despair inthe democratic world, Roosevelt stood out by his astonishing appetite for life and by his apparently complete freedom from fear of the future; as a man who welcomed the future eagerly as such, and conveyed the feeling that whatever the times might bring, all would be grist to his mill, nothing would be too formidable or crushing to be subdued. He had unheard of energy and gusto … and was a spontaneous, optimistic, pleasure-loving ruler with unparalleled capacity for creating confidence.”

—Isaiah Berlin on FDR


Exuberance: The Passion for Life, by Kay Redfield Jamison+

“A leader is someone who creates infectious enthusiasm.”—Ted Turner

“‘Glorious’ was a term [John] Muir would invoke time and again … despite his conscious attempts to eradicate it from his writing. ‘Glorious’ and ‘joy’ and ‘exhilaration’: no matter how often he scratched out these words once he had written them, they sprang up time and again …”

“To meet Roosevelt, said Churchill, ‘with all his buoyantsparkle, hisiridescence,’ was like ‘opening a bottle of champagne.’ Churchill, who knew both champagne and human nature, recognized ebullient leadership when he saw it.”

“The multitudes were swept forward till their pacewas the same as his.” —Churchill on T.E. Lawrence


*Readily make friends (quality, quantity)

*Likes people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*Body language (esp. open, biiiiiiiiiiiiig,

easy smile)

*“Common touch”

*Listening skills-sensitivity



*Intensity of engagement (“as if there

were no one else in the world”)

*Desperate to make people successful

*Work (and plan) like a demon at

relationships—it’s always theater

*Enthusiasm-energy-exuberance (obvious

appetite for life)

“Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart.”—Henry Clay

“It was much later that I realized Dad’s secret. He gained respect by giving it. He talked and listened to the fourth-grade kids in Spring Valley who shined shoes the same way he talked and listened to a bishop or a college president.He was seriously interested in who you were and what you had to say.”

Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, Respect


“The [Union senior] officers rode past the Confederates smugly without any sign of recognition except by one. ‘When GeneralGrant reached the line of ragged, filthy, bloody, despairing prisoners strung out on each side of the bridge, he lifted his hat and held it over his head until he passed the last man of that living funeral cortege. He was the only officer in that whole train who recognized us as being on the face of the earth.’*”

*quote within a quote from diary of a Confederate soldier


“We behaved as if we were guests in their house. We treated them not as a defeated people, but as allies. Our success became their success.”—“How One Soldier Brought Democracy to Iraq: The Mayor of Ar Rutbah” (MAJ James Gavrilis/USA Special Forces)


“What creates trust, in the end, is the leader’s manifest respect for the followers.”— Jim O’Toole, Leading Change

the deepest human need is the need to be appreciated william james1
“The deepest human need is the need to be appreciated.”—William James

“I wasn’t bowled over by [David Boies] intelligence. … What impressed me was that when he asked a question, he waited for an answer.He not only listened, he made me feel like I was the onlyperson in the room.”—Lawyer Kevin _____, on his first, inadvertent meeting with David Boies, from Marshall Goldsmith, “The One Skill That Separates,” Fast Company, 07.05


“No matter what the situation, [the excellent manager’s] first response is always to think about the individual concerned and how things can be arranged to help that individual experience

success.”—Marcus Buckingham, The One

Thing You Need to Know


“Either love your players or get out of coaching.” —Bobby Dodd, legendary football coach.

“I do not need to like my players, but I must love them.”—Vince Lombardi

“I have always believed that the purpose of the corporation is to be a blessing to the employees.” —Boyd Clarke

“The deepest human need is the need to be appreciated.” —William James


“Ph.D. in leadership. Short course: Make a short list of all things done to you that you abhorred. Don’t do them to others. Ever. Make another list of things done to you that you loved. Do them to others. Always.”— Dee Hock, founder, Visa International