Five Or Less Words To The Wise
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Five Or Less Words To The Wise

Tom Peters/0911.2010

NOTE:To appreciate this presentation [and ensure that it is not a mess], you need Microsoft fonts:“Showcard Gothic,”“Ravie,”“Chiller”and“Verdana”

EXCELLENCE/Five Or Less Words To The Wise

4 most important words: “What do you think?” (Dave Wheeler @ “Most important 4

words in an organization.”)

4 most important words: “How can I help?” (Boss as CHRO/

Chief Hurdle Removal Officer)

2 most important words: “Thank you!” (Appreciation/


2 most important words: “All yours.” (“Hands-off” delegation/


3 most important words: “I’m going out.” (MBWA/Managing By

Wandering Around/In touch!)

2 most important words: “I’m sorry.” (Power of unconditional

apology = Stunning! Marshall

Goldsmith: #1 exec issue)

5 most important words: “Did you tell the customer?” (Over-


2 most important words: “She says …” (“She” is the customer!)

EXCELLENCE/Five Or Less Words To The Wise

2 most important words: “Yes ma’am.” (Women are more often

than not the best managers.)

2 most important words: “Try it!” (My only “for sure” in 44 years:

Herb Kelleher: “We have a strategic

plan, it’s called doing things.”/Bill

Parcells: “Blame no one. Expect

nothing. Do something.”)

3 most important words: “Try it again!” (My only “for sure” 44


2 most important words: “Good try!” (CELEBRATE “good

failures.” Richard Farson/book:

Whoever Makes the Most Mistakes

Wins. Samuel Beckett: “Fail. Fail again.

Fail better.”)

3 most important words: “At your service.” (Organizations exist

to serve. Period. Leaders live to serve.


4 most important words: “How are we doing?” (To customers,


4 most important words: “How was Mary’s recital?” (Know your

employees’ kids.)

2 most important words: “Let’s party!” (Celebrate “small wins” at

the drop of a hat.)

EXCELLENCE/Five Or Less Words To The Wise

1 most important word: “No.” (“To don’ts” > “To dos”)

1 most important word: “Yes.” (Hey, give it a shot/Anon. quote:

“The best answer is always, ‘What the

hell.’”/Wayne Gretzky: “You miss

100% of the shots you don’t take.”)

2 most important words: “Lunch today?” (“Social stuff” = Secret

to problem/opportunity #1:/XFX/

Cross-functional eXcellence.)

4 most important words: “Thank Dick in accounting.” (Readily/

routinely/relentlessly acknowledge

help from other functions.)

2 most important words: “After you.” (Courtesy rules.)

3 most important words: “Thanks for coming.” (Civility. E.g., boss

acknowledges employee coming to

her/his office.)

2 most important words: “Great smile!” (Note & acknowledge

good attitude.)

1 most important word: “Wow!” (The gold standard … for


1 most important word: “EXCELLENT!” (The … ONLY …

acceptable standard/aspiration.)