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Project Management InstituteThe Project Leadership EXCELLENCE 40

Tom PetersVie, 24/10/2014 - 01:17

Tom is speaking in Phoenix (+63F temperature shift from Vermont) to the Project Management Institute’s North American Leadership Institute Meeting 2014. “I am excited beyond measure–I’ve been waiting 48 years for this,” he says. “I got my construction engineering masters degree from the civil engineering department at Cornell in June 1965. My thesis was on […]

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The Project Leadership EXCELLENCE 40
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Silent treatment

the economistMié, 22/10/2014 - 20:31

THE SUPREME COURT’S weirdly busy October brings to mind an old Cadillac commercial showing a sedan gliding silently down the highway, driver calm and confident in a hermetic, leather-appointed cabin, while the announcer intones, “quietly doing things very well.” Whether the justices are doing their jobs well depends on your point of view. But there is no disputing that they have been doing their most consequential work in uncharacteristic silence in recent weeks. The justices' moves on gay marriage, abortion and voting rights have been delivered all but wordlessly, as Dahlia Lithwick of Slate recounts. The notable exception to the rule is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the justice who refused to hold her tongue over the weekend, when six of her colleagues permitted Texas to enforce its new photo...Continue reading

Drama, drama

the economistMar, 21/10/2014 - 19:19

NEW YORK is a tough town. An unpredictable one, too. The city has hosted any number of musical dramas that brim with controversy, courtesy of John Adams, an American composer, and Peter Sellars, an American theatre director. One humanised Richard Nixon, a Republican President with a tarnished reputation; another considered the life of Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atom bomb. Both of these operas and others earned polite applause from audiences and indifferent shrugs from nearly everyone else. On Monday night, however, the Metropolitan Opera in New York presented “The Death of Klinghoffer”, a new production of an opera first staged in 1991, with a score from Mr Adams, original direction from Mr Sellars and a libretto by Alice Goodman. The show is about a self-made man from Manhattan’s Lower East Side who makes a fateful voyage on an Italian cruise ship in 1985. Now everyone is up in arms.

The opera takes its name from one Leon Klinghoffer, a successful appliance manufacturer who took his ailing wife of 36 years on a Mediterranean cruise in 1985. The Klinghoffers had the misfortune of boarding the Achille Lauro, along with hundreds...Continue reading

EXCELLENCE Potpourri:A Collection of (Important) Papers

Tom PetersMar, 21/10/2014 - 18:39

I. The Moral Bedrock of Management: Maximizing Human Capital Development II. TRAINING: Investment #1 III. The 34 BFOs/Blinding Flashes of the Obvious: This Is the (OBVIOUS) Stuff I Care About. This Is the (OBVIOUS) Stuff, the Absence of Which Sends Me into a … RAGE IV. Systems Have Their Place: SECOND Place V. PUTTING PEOPLE […]

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A Collection of (Important) Papers
appeared first on Tom Peters.

Uneasy rider

the economistMar, 21/10/2014 - 05:25

THE most improbable bike path in the world is surely on the MacArthur causeway, a road connecting Miami Beach with the city of Miami proper. The road–more a motorway really–has six wide lanes of traffic and a maximum speed limit of 50mph. This being Florida, and speed limits apparently only loosely enforced, in light traffic people travel far faster. And yet driving across it today, your correspondent spotted a lonely cyclist working his way up the road against the traffic. Along the road’s right-hand side, unseparated from the traffic by any physical barriers, was a thin cycle path.

Your correspondent in his day-to-day life cycles everywhere. In Washington, DC, turning left on a main road can be dicey if drivers are not patient. In London, racing lorries at the Elephant and Castle roundabout and the Vauxhall interchange both provided daily adrenaline rushes. Yet he would no more cycle along the MacArthur causeway than he would take up bullfighting. It would be utterly insane.

In 2012 some 120 cyclists were killed in traffic accidents across Florida. That is as many as were killed in Britain in the same year–a country with three times as...Continue reading

Pageants faded

the economistLun, 20/10/2014 - 22:28

IT IS in my power | To o’erthrow law, and in one self-born hour | To plant and o’erwhelm custom,” declares Time in “The Winter’s Tale”. Alas, such fortitude was missing from Georgia Shakespeare, a 29-year-old theatre company dedicated to the bard, which was forced to close its doors on October 8th.

Buckling under accumulated debt of $343,000, Georgia Shakespeare has been in dire need of a Duke Theseus. “We really needed a lead donor,” explains Jennifer Bauer-Lyons, the company’s managing director. A campaign to save the company in 2011 raised more than $500,000 from local arts patrons. But donors—who are regularly squeezed to compensate for the state’s pitiful cultural funding—failed to come up with enough ducats this time around. The Georgia Council for the Arts set aside just $750,000 in total grants for the 2015 fiscal year; at the height of its generosity in 2002 it gave $4.5m. The state ranks 50th in the nation for spending per capita on the arts.

Such stinginess seems amiss in one of the South’s richest cities—particularly one with such a long love affair with Shakespeare. As...Continue reading

Childish arguments

the economistVie, 17/10/2014 - 16:24

A FEW weeks ago I was talking with an advertising professional who had been discussing potential campaigns with Greenpeace, the environmental group. We both admitted that these days, our reactions to people scaling buildings and unveiling banners range from apathy to mild annoyance. Those tactics seem to belong to another era, before the mass institutionalisation of flash-mobs; they lack the hook needed to achieve virality. Over the past few months, however, Greenpeace has staged a wickedly clever campaign that feels entirely of this moment: a part-online, part-meatspace twist on memes from "The Lego Movie", aimed at convincing the Danish toymaker to cut its longstanding promotion deal with Shell, an Anglo-Dutch oil company, in protest against the company's drilling in arctic waters. On October 9th Lego gave in, announcing it...Continue reading

#McKQ50

Tom PetersJue, 16/10/2014 - 22:08

Don’t miss the interview at McKinsey.com, “Tom Peters on leading the 21st Century.” On the 50th Anniversary of the McKinsey Quarterly, they interviewed Tom, and the conversation basically covers his outlook on the next 50 years. Use the link above to find the online version of the interview, which includes several short video clips and […]

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Seizing some control

the economistJue, 16/10/2014 - 18:55

ON JANUARY 1st 29-year-old Brittany Maynard (pictured) was diagnosed with brain cancer. On November 1st she plans to end her life by ingesting a lethal medication prescribed by her physician. Only five states (Vermont, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and New Mexico) recognise the right to die, so Ms Maynard relocated from California to Oregon to secure this right. This is a move that many Americans are unable to make.

Assisted suicide has been legal in a few European countries for years. But progress in America has been halting: in 1997 the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the constitution does not include the right to suicide. Aid-in-dying has ideological affinities with other issues where personal autonomy and liberty are at stake—same-sex marriage, for instance, or a woman’s right to an abortion. Yet many Americans have long been uncomfortable with sanctioning suicide. This seems to be changing. Now more than two-thirds of Americans support aid-in-dying laws for the terminally ill and mentally competent. Death with dignity legislation is now pending in seven states.

But why have Americans held out for so long? And what...Continue reading

A shifting power balance

the economistJue, 16/10/2014 - 14:53

OUR correspondents discuss what might happen if Republicans win the Senate in November’s mid-term elections.  Will America find common ground or succumb to political paralysis?

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Do unto others

the economistMié, 15/10/2014 - 16:39

IN THE 1930s Father Charles Coughlin was among the most popular figures in America. Roughly 30m listeners, at his peak, tuned in to hear his weekly radio broadcasts, which were carried by CBS—then among the biggest American radio networks. Though he began by broadcasting his weekly sermons, he quickly moved into politics. I suppose you would call him an economic populist: he advocated, among other things, unionisation, shrinking government and reducing taxes, abolishing the Federal Reserve, nationalising resources and seizing private wealth during wartime. Yet as war drew nearer, he returned to one subject again and again: Jews. He held them responsible for communism and the war; he reprinted "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion", a classic anti-Semitic text; and he warned: "When we get through with the Jews in America, they'll think the treatment they received in Germany was nothing." Eventually, his broadcasters grew tired of him, the Church warned him away from politics...Continue reading

Wake us up when it's over

the economistLun, 13/10/2014 - 19:30

IOWA’S Senate race is a knife-edge contest between two sharply differing candidates that could well decide which party controls the United States Senate after November. As a key swing state in presidential elections, Iowa also plays host to aspiring candidates in trip after trip. Local voters ultimately have the power to affect the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans and indeed billions of people worldwide.

That is the view from Washington anyway. In Iowa, the importance of the imminent Senate race is not so obvious. Of a dozen or so people quizzed by your correspondent in a park in Davenport, on the western banks of the Mississippi river, just a couple could name both of the candidates. A couple more had formed an opinion from the attack ads that air continuously on every local television station. A few expressed the (arguably reasonable) view that Washington is broken, and politicians never represent their constituents, so why bother. Across Iowa, as across most of the United States, the reaction to these elections seems to be an enormous collective shrug.

After watching both Democrat and Republican candidates debate...Continue reading

Tom in the Media

Tom PetersVie, 10/10/2014 - 17:41

Mitch Joel of Twist Image did a “Six Pixels of Separation” podcast with Tom on the state of business today. You can find it on iTunes as SPOS # 429, or here at twistimage.com. Listing Tom as one of 22 Thinkers to Follow on Twitter, Drake Baer at Business Insider writes this: “Unlike other members […]

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So far, so fast

the economistJue, 09/10/2014 - 20:08

AS MORE and more states allow gay marriage, Jonathan Rauch explains how the revolution in America's attitudes to homosexuality came about and how it affected him

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How this week's cover came about

the economistJue, 09/10/2014 - 18:08

GROWING up in Arizona in the 1970s, Jonathan Rauch was so desperate to be "normal" that he convinced himself he wasn't gay. His obsession with muscular men, he told himself, sprang from envy of their good looks. He tried and tried to find women attractive, which was "like searching through a tank of octopuses in hopes of finding one to marry". He did not admit the obvious truth to himself—let alone other people—until he was 25. 

Fast-forward to 1996: Jon was in London thinking up cover stories for The Economist. One of his most outlandish was "Let them wed"—an editorial urging governments everywhere to allow same-sex marriage. At the time, it never occurred to Jon that his wish might come true in his own lifetime. Yet now he is married to the man he loves and living in Virginia, where gay marriage was legalised once and for all this week. 

We invited Jon to write an account of how America came to embrace gay marriage, weaving his own...Continue reading

Beards behind bars

the economistMié, 08/10/2014 - 18:37

ON OCTOBER 7th the Supreme Court heard its first religious-liberty case since recognising, in June, the right of some pious employers not to pay for some types of birth control for their staff. This time, in Holt v Hobbs, the aggrieved party is Gregory Holt, a Muslim inmate in Arkansas who says his faith requires him to wear a half-inch beard. Arkansas forbids this, arguing that a beard could be used to hide drugs, blades or telephone SIM cards.

Mr Holt, who was jailed for breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s house and slitting her throat, says he is in a “state of war” with the prison barber. He argues that the ban on beards violates his rights under a law that says prisons may only impinge on inmates’ religious lives if there is a “compelling governmental interest” at stake and they use the “least restrictive means” of pursuing it. He notes that Arkansas allows quarter-inch beards for inmates with skin conditions, and that 43 other states allow them for all...Continue reading

Bully for Me!I’m The Cleverest Person in the Room!

Tom PetersMar, 07/10/2014 - 19:42

Last week, I attended a memorial service for one of my great mentors, the generally acclaimed #1 leadership guru (and extraordinary humanist) (and leader in his own right) Warren Bennis. About 15 of his friends and colleagues spoke—myself included. It was eerie: We each—without exception—said the same thing, albeit in slightly different words. Warren made […]

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I’m The Cleverest Person in the Room!
appeared first on Tom Peters.

An interactive guide

the economistMar, 07/10/2014 - 17:06

THE big prize in America’s mid-term elections, which will be held on November 4th, is control of the US Senate. The Republicans are expected to hold on to their majority in the House of Representatives without difficulty, but the Senate is very much in play. All pollsters expect Democrats to lose seats, and most expect the Republicans to capture a narrow majority. Check out our interactive map for a handy guide to what is happening in each of the 33 states where Senate seats are up for grabs.

Why did they take a pass?

the economistMar, 07/10/2014 - 03:40

NEVER has a US Supreme Court decision not to hear a case had such a quick and profound impact on the rights of so many Americans. By refusing today to grant any of the seven petitions challenging three pro-gay marriage decisions by federal appellate courts, the justices cleared the way for same-sex nuptials in Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Utah, bringing the number of states waving a rainbow flag to 24, plus the District of Columbia. As Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog calculates, that number will likely balloon to 35 once the circuit rulings are implemented in other states within their districts and the Ninth Circuit, the country’s most liberal federal-appeals court, decides on the constitutionality of Nevada’s same-sex marriage ban. 

Why did the justices refuse to weigh in? Few predicted this decision, and Mr Denniston offers a list of reasons why: lawyers on both sides wanted the court to step in; the justices signalled a willingness to debate the matter both last...Continue reading

What ever happened to Wendy Davis?

the economistLun, 06/10/2014 - 23:03

LAST week Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott, the major party candidates to replace Rick Perry as Texas governor, met for their second and final televised debate before the general election next month. The stakes were high for Ms Davis, a Democratic state senator from Fort Worth, and her spirited performance suggested that she knew as much. She attacked Mr Abbott, the attorney general, as one of a handful of longtime Republican incumbents who have prioritised insiders over ordinary Texans. (This critique was well-timed, coming just after the State Auditor’s Office announced that the state had distributed some $222m in incentives to companies that had failed to fill out the necessary paperwork.) Ms Davis also held her own in an exchange over standardised testing, although she dodged several questions about how she proposed to pay for her own education proposals, such as...Continue reading

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