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100 Ways to Succeed #109
"Everything in existence tends to deteriorate."—Norberto Odebrecht
Computer terminals at Commerce Bank have a red button on the keyboard. When you (teller) run into a self (bank)-created roadblock to serving the customer, you push the red button. The impediment you discover will be addressed—and if action is taken, and it usually is, you'll get a financial reward for discovering Grunge that had gotten between the customer and an excellent service experience. Commerce calls itself "Yes bank," because it will go to great lengths to be able to say "yes" to damn near any customer request. The bank and its profits have grown like Topsy in a decidedly non-blue ocean—and has so far kept saying "yes" and kept the Grunge to a minimum. As is the case 100% of the time ... the jury is still—and always—out.
My point-suggestion here is that you invent your flavor of Red Buttons for your 3-person department, your 9-person temporary project team, your 17-table restaurant, or your 235-person division. That is, formal tools for identifying Grunge and removing it and getting Everyone in on the GGG—Great Grunge [Removal] Game.
I, in fact, suggest going further. I suggest defining an entire, formal Grunge Removal Process or even "Culture"—that is, in effect, an anti-process process. One needs nothing less than a formal infrastructure to try and keep the "inevitable deterioration" in check—and maybe even reverse it. A host of possibilities are there for the taking (including some gems from the Lane-Welch book reluctantly cited above): an anti-grunge Pledge of Allegiance every morning—and an anti-grunge item on every meeting agenda. A C-level anti-grunge exec: CGRO, Chief Grunge Removal Officer. Rewards for Grunge Removers at all levels, punishments for Grunge Growers at all levels. Devices to continually purge systems and procedures and processes of complexity creep. And Red Buttons for one and all.
Get on with this today—begin by making Grunge Awareness and Grunge Removal a belated New Year's Resolution. (For us "older" folks it starts with bodily Grunge Removal—a Life or Death commitment to diet and exercise and learning to say "no" to stupid requests. I.e., this really is the ultimate Big Deal in both our personal and professional lives.)
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Tom & Bob Waterman coauthored In Search of Excellence in 1982; the book was named by NPR (in 1999) as one of the "Top Three Business Books of the Century," and ranked as the "greatest business book of all time" in a poll by Britain's Bloomsbury Publishing (2002). Tom followed Search with a string of international bestsellers: A Passion for Excellence (1985, with Nancy Austin), Thriving on Chaos (1987), Liberation Management (1992: acclaimed as the "Management Book of the Decade" for the '90s), The Tom Peters Seminar: Crazy Times Call for Crazy Organizations (1993), The Pursuit of WOW! (1994); The Circle of Innovation: You Can't Shrink Your Way to Greatness (1997); and in 1999 a series of books on Reinventing Work: The Brand You50, The Project50 and The Professional Service Firm50. In 2003 Tom and publisher Dorling Kindersley released Re-imagine! Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age; the revolutionary book, an immediate No.1 international best seller, aims to do no less than reinvent the business book through vibrant, energetic presentation of critical ideas.
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