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Title: In Search of Excellence/1982-2012 Excellence Attribute 1: A Bias For Action! Tom Peters/17 February 2012


1
In Search of Excellence/1982-2012 Excellence
Attribute 1A Bias For Action!Tom
Peters/17 February 2012
2
The research on what became In Search of
Excellence began in 1977. The first publication
of our fledgling effort appeared in BusinessWeek
in July 1978. It included a list of eight
attributes of excellence teased from our
mountain of data. The first of the eight was, Do
it. Fix it. Try it. To our surprise as much as
anyone elses, the eight attributes stayed intact
through a gajillion drafts and presentations and
then the books publication in 1982, though a
word or two did change. Now 1 was A Bias for
Action. This is the 30th anniversary of the
books appearance, and while much has changed, if
I were to update it, A Bias for Action would
retain its 1 spot. If possible, in fact, its
even more important in these destabilized times.
One recent research effort, aimed at advising
bosses on adapting to the whacky now and forever
more times, suggested that the 1 key to success
was experiment fearlessly. Sounds suspiciously
like a bias for action to me!Along the way,
no surprise, Ive collected a ton of stuff on
this dear-to-my-head-and-heart topicin my
MOAP/Mother Of All Presentations the bias for
action animates a prominent section, which is one
of the longest. But I thought that in the process
Id pass this version, un-annotated, along in the
for what its worth category.A Bias for
Action. FIRST in 1982. FIRST in 2012. And no
change predictedfor institutions OR individuals!
3
Overture
4
We have a strategic plan. Its called doing
things. Herb Kelleher
5
Execution is strategy. Fred Malek
6
Can do!U.S. Naval Mobile Construction
Battalions/Seabee motto
7
READY.FIRE!AIM.Ross Perot (vs. Aim! Aim!
Aim!)
8
BLAME NO ONE. EXPECT NOTHING. DO SOMETHING.
            Source Locker room sign posted by
NFL football coach Bill Parcells
9
"Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It's
self-conscious and anything self-conscious is
lousy. You simply must Do things. Ray
Bradbury
10
John Boyd To Be somebody or to Do
somethingBOYD The Fighter Pilot Who Changed
the Art of War (Robert Coram)
11
Fall seven times, stand up eight Japanese
proverb
12
You miss 100 of the shots you never take.
Wayne Gretzky
13
The Action FactionBossidyPerotPeters
WatermanPetersHayekBoydKelleyGrantNelson

14
Bossidy
15
Former GE Vice Chairman-former Allied CEO Larry
Bossidy, a tough-as-they-come operating
executive, wrote, with business guru Ram Charan,
Execution The Discipline of Getting Things Done.
Absurd as it may sound, this may well be the
first primetime book on execution per se. And a
remarkable book it is. And execution is, of
course, first and foremost a bias for action
game!
16
Execution is the job of the business leader.
Larry Bossidy Ram Charan/ Execution The
Discipline of Getting Things Done
17
I saw that leaders placed too much emphasis on
what some call high-level strategy, on
intellectualizing and philosophizing, and not
enough on implementation. People would agree on a
project or initiative, and then nothing would
come of it. Larry Bossidy Ram
Charan/Execution The Discipline of Getting
Things Done
18
The person who is a little less conceptual but
is absolutely determined to succeed will usually
find the right people and get them together to
achieve objectives. Im not knocking education or
looking for dumb people. But if you have to
choose between someone with a staggering IQ and
an elite education whos gliding along, and
someone with a lower IQ but who is absolutely
determined to succeed, youll always do better
with the second person. Larry Bossidy (Larry
Bossidy Ram Charan/ Execution The Discipline
of Getting Things Done)
19
The head of one of the large management
consulting firms asks members of a client
organization, And what do you do that justifies
your being on the payroll? The great majority
answer, I run the accounting department, or I
am in charge of the sales force Only a few
say, Its my job to give our managers the
information they need to make the right
decisions, or I am responsible for finding out
what products the customer will want tomorrow.
The man who focuses on efforts and stresses his
downward authority is a subordinate no matter how
exalted his rank or title. But the man who
focuses on contributions and who takes
responsibility for results, no matter how junior,
is in the most literal sense of the phrase, top
management. He holds himself responsible for the
performance of the whole. Peter Drucker
20
When assessing candidates, the first thing I
looked for was energy and enthusiasm for
execution. Does she talk about the thrill of
getting things done, the obstacles overcome, the
role her people played or does she keep
wandering back to strategy or philosophy?
Larry Bossidy, Execution
21
WOW!!Observed closely The use of I or we
during a job interview. Source Leonard Berry
Kent Seltman, chapter 6, Hiring for Values,
Management Lessons From Mayo Clinic
22
Execution is a systematic process of rigorously
discussing hows and whats, tenaciously following
through, and ensuring accountability. Larry
Bossidy Ram Charan/ Execution The Discipline
of Getting Things Done
23
The Leaders Seven Essential
BehaviorsKnow your people and your
businessInsist on realismSet clear goals and
prioritiesFollow throughReward the
doersExpand peoples capabilitiesKnow
yourself Source Larry Bossidy Ram
Charan/Execution The Discipline of Getting
Things Done
24
Realism is the heart of execution. Larry
Bossidy Ram Charan/Execution The Discipline
of Getting Things Done
25
(1) Sum of Projects Goal (Vision)
(2) Sum of Milestones Project(3)
Rapid Review Truth-telling
Accountability
26
robust dialogue Larry Bossidy Ram Charan/
Execution The Discipline of Getting Things Done
27
Beware the Cant Do Merchants!Andrew
Higgins, who built landing craft in WWII, refused
to hire graduates of engineering schools. He
believed that they only teach you what you cant
do in engineering school. He started off with 20
employees, and by the middle of the war had
30,000 working for him. He turned out 20,000
landing craft. D.D. Eisenhower told me, Andrew
Higgins won the war for us. He did it without
engineers. Stephen Ambrose/Fast Company
28
"Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It's
self-conscious and anything self-conscious is
lousy. You simply must Do things. Ray
Bradbury
29
Intelligent people can always come up with
intelligent reasons to do nothing. Scott Simon
30
"Never be afraid to try remember ... amateurs
built the ark, professionals built the Titanic."
Author Unknown
31
Ye gads Thomas Stanley has not only found no
correlation between success in school and an
ability to accumulate wealth, hes actually found
a negative correlation. It seems that
school-related evaluations are poor predictors of
economic success, Stanley concluded. What did
predict success was a willingness to take risks.
Yet the success-failure standards of most schools
penalized risk takers. Most educational systems
reward those who play it safe. As a result,
those who do well in school find it hard to take
risks later on.Richard Farson Ralph Keyes,
Whoever Makes the Most Mistakes Wins
32
Tom, we normally start at 615A.M.GE
of coursewhich is my point here sector boss
informs me that hes giving me a breakmy speech
will start at a slovenly 630AM
33
Can do!U.S. Naval Mobile Construction
Battalions/Seabee motto
34
Dick/DAY (Build! Period!)Dan/NIGHT (Flawless
report on what not built)My two Seabee
commanding officers (Vietnam/1966-1968) Richard
Anderson, Daniel ________
35
Execution is strategy. Fred Malek
36
Costco has figured out the big, simple things
and executed with total fanaticism. Charles
Munger, Berkshire Hathaway
37
In real life, strategy is actually very
straightforward. Pick a general direction and
implement like hell. Jack Welch
38
Perot
39
READY.FIRE!AIM.Ross Perot (vs. Aim! Aim!
Aim!)
40
The larger than life H. Ross Perot sold EDS to GM
in the 1980s, and went on the car giants Board.
A few years later he was asked by a Fortune
writer to explain the difference between the two
companies. He said that at EDS the strategy was
marked by unrelenting urgency. He called it
Ready. Fire. Aim. I.e., stop talking and get
on with itnow! By comparison, he said, at GM
the strategy was one of constant delay, or
Ready. Aim. Aim. Aim. Aim . (Alas, well
into the 1st decade of the new century GMs
problems/ unwieldy bureaucracy remained pretty
much unchanged.)
41
1950-1980 R.A.F./Ready. Aim. Fire. 1980-2000
R.F.A./Ready. Fire! Aim. 2000-20?? F.F.F./Fire!
Fire! Fire!
42
We made mistakes, of course. Most of them were
omissions we didnt think of when we initially
wrote the software. We fixed them by doing it
over and over, again and again. We do the same
today. While our competitors are still sucking
their thumbs trying to make the design perfect,
were already on prototype version No. 5. By the
time our rivals are ready with wires and screws,
we are on version No. 10. It gets back to
planning versus acting We act from day one
others plan how to plan for months. Bloomberg
by Bloomberg
43
Burt Rutan wasnt a fighter jock he was an
engineer who had been asked to figure out why the
F-4 Phantom was flying pilots into the ground in
Vietnam. While his fellow engineers attacked such
tasks with calculators, Rutan insisted on
considering the problem in the air. A near-fatal
flight not only led to a critical F-4
modification, it also confirmed for Rutan a
notion he had held ever since he had built model
airplanes as a child. The way to make a better
aircraft wasnt to sit around perfecting a
design, it was to get something up in the air and
see what happens, then try to fix whatever goes
wrong. Eric Abrahamson David Freedman,
Chapter 8, Messy Leadership, from A Perfect
Mess The Hidden Benefits of Disorder
44
What are Rutans management rules? He insists he
doesnt have any. I dont like rules, he says.
Things are so easy to change if you dont write
them down. Rutan feels good management works in
much the same way good aircraft design does
Instead of trying to figure out the best way to
do something and sticking to it, just try out an
approach and keep fixing it. Eric
Abrahamson David Freedman, Chapter 8, Messy
Leadership, from A Perfect Mess The Hidden
Benefits of Disorder
45
Downplaying up-front design, not matching
employees tasks to their experience and
training, eschewing specialization, creating a
culture that glorifies questions and mistakes,
not acting like a CEOhow has all this worked out
for Rutan? Scaled Composites has managed 88
consecutive profitable quarters in an industry
that is perennially profit challenged. The firms
regular clients include NASA and most of the big
aerospace companiesand it is known as the go-to
concern when a need arises for an aircraft that
flies higher or faster or farther or more nimbly
or less expensively than any other has. Scaled
Composites has rolled out 26 new types of
aircraft in 30 years, at a time when giant
aerospace companies struggle to get a single new
aircraft out in a decade. Eric Abrahamson
David Freedman, Chapter 8, Messy Leadership,
A Perfect Mess The Hidden Benefits of Disorder
46
One Rutan principle is not to worry so much
about the formal background of the engineers he
hires or to look for the sorts of specialties
normally sought after by aerospace companies.
Instead, he looks for people who share his
passion for aircraft design and who can work on
anything from a fuselage to a door handle or are
willing to learn how. He then gives those people
free rein. Eric Abrahamson David Freedman,
Chapter 8, Messy Leadership, A Perfect Mess
The Hidden Benefits of Disorder
47
A Rutan principle is that its useful to have
everyone questioning everything the company does
all the time, and especially have people
questioning their own work. Rutan makes sure that
when employees point out their mistakes, theyre
applauded rather than reprimanded. Eric
Abrahamson David Freedman, Chapter 8, Messy
Leadership, A Perfect Mess The Hidden Benefits
of Disorder
48
Culture of PrototypingEffective prototyping
may be the most valuable core competence an
innovative organization can hope to have.
Michael Schrage

49
Think about It!Innovation Reaction to the
PrototypeE.g., No prototype, nothing to
think about.Source Michael Schrage
50
Demo or die! Source This was the approach
championed by Nicholas Negroponte which vaulted
his MIT Media Lab to the forefront of
IT-multimedia innovation. It was his successful
alternative to the traditional MIT-academic
publish or perish. Negropontes
rapid-prototyping version was emblematic of the
times and the pace and the enormity of the
opportunity. (NYTimes/0426.11)
51
This is so simple it sounds stupid, but it is
amazing how few oil people really understand that
you only find oil if you drill wells. You may
think youre finding it when youre drawing maps
and studying logs, but you have to drill.
Source The Hunters, by John Masters, Canadian
O G wildcatter
52
While many people think big oil is responsible
for virtually all new discoveries, over the years
about 80 percent of the oil found in the United
States has been brought in by wildcatters such
as Mr. Findley, says Larry Nation, spokesman for
the American Association of Petroleum
Geologists. WSJ, Wildcat Producer Sparks Oil
Boom in Montana
53
only find oil if you drill ... Source
The Hunters, by John Masters, Canadian O G
wildcatter
54
A man approached JP Morgan, held up an envelope,
and said, Sir, in my hand I hold a guaranteed
formula for success, which I will gladly sell
you for 25,000.Sir, JP Morgan replied, I
do not know what is in the envelope, however if
you show me, and I like it, I give you my word as
a gentleman that I will pay you what you
ask.The man agreed to the terms, and handed
over the envelope.JP Morgan opened it, and
extracted a single sheet of paper. He gave it
one look, a mere glance, then handed the piece of
paper back to the gent.And paid him the
agreed-upon 25,000
55
The miracle formula 1. Every morning,
write a list of the things that need
to be done that day. 2. Do them.
Source Hugh MacLeod/tompeters.com/NPR
56
Never forget implementation boys. In our work
its what I call the missing 98 percent of the
client puzzle. Al McDonald, Managing Director,
McKinsey Company
57
A good plan executed right now beats a great
plan executed next week. Patton
58
We are in a brawl with no rules. Paul Allaire
59
Only answer to We are in a brawl with no
rules S.A.V.
60
ScrewAroundVigorously!TP
61
Axiom We are in a brawl with no rules.
(Allaire)Implication The world will not be
kind to those who play by the rules.
(Peters)Strategy R.F.A./S.A.V. (Perot/Peters)
62
Ever notice that What the hell is always the
right decision? Source a shrewd observation,
attributed to an unknown Hollywood
scriptwriter NB I admit it. I found the quote,
not at a Harvard B. School exec program, but in a
nearby Cambridge novelty shop. Theres a message
herenot least of which is to consider the value
of the 4.00 card vs. a 4,000-a-day program at
the HBS? The card, however, cost a lot more than
4 I ordered a couple of hundred, and give them
away like candies at seminars.
63
We have a strategic plan. Its called doing
things. Herb Kelleher
64
Peters Waterman
65
(No Transcript)
66
Do it. Fix it. Try it.Tom Peters/Business
Week/07.1978 (Principal 1/first publication of
Attributes of Excellence)
67
In Search of Excellence/1982/The Bedrock Eight
Basics 1. A Bias for Action 2. Close to the
Customer 3. Autonomy and Entrepreneurship 4.
Productivity Through People 5. Hands On,
Value-Driven 6. Stick to the Knitting 7. Simple
Form, Lean Staff 8. Simultaneous Loose-Tight
Properties
68
Peters
69
1/46
70
For me it started in the U.S. Navy in 1966. I
was a junior officer in U.S. Naval Mobile
Construction Battalion NINE, a part of the fabled
U.S. Navy Seabees. The Seabees motto has been,
since birth in 1942, Can do. In my first
deployment to Vietnam, the Can do spirit was
drummed into my head.It took.Life is
hopelessly complex, and to say anything for
sure is a stretch. Ive, in fact, got but one
exception to that ruleone for sure that was
hatched in 1966 and which animates my life and my
work in 2012 46 years later!
71
Lesson46 WTTMSWOnly thing Ive learned for
sure, 1966-2012
72
Whoever Tries The Most Stuff Wins
73
Better yet WTTMSTFW
74
Whoever Tries The Most Stuff The Fastest Wins
75
Better yet WTTMS(ASTMSU)TFW
76
Whoever Tries The Most Stuff (And Screws The
Most Stuff Up) The Fastest Wins
77
Whoever Tries The Most Stuff And Screws The
Most Stuff Up The Fastest Wins!
78
Experiment fearlesslySource BusinessWeek,
Type A Organization Strategies How to Hit a
Moving TargetTactic 1 relentless trial
and error Source Wall Street Journal,
cornerstone of effective approach to
rebalancing company portfolios in the face of
changing and uncertain global economic conditions
(11.08.10)
79
The difference between Bach and his forgotten
peers isnt necessarily that he had a better
ratio of hits to misses. The difference is that
the mediocre might have a dozen ideas, while
Bach, in his lifetime, created more than a
thousand full-fledged musical compositions. A
genius is a genius, psychologist Paul Simonton
maintains, because he can put together such a
staggering number of insights, ideas, theories,
random observations, and unexpected connections
that he almost inevitably ends up with something
great. Quality, Simonton writes, is a
probabilistic function of quantity. Malcolm
Gladwell, Creation Myth, New Yorker, 0516.11
80
Quality is a probabilistic function of quantity.
81
WD40
82
WaterDisplacement40 TriesThe magic potion
includes 40 in its nameit took the inventor 40
tries to get it right!
83
Hayek
84
F.A. Hayek, Nobel prize winner in economics,
said, in effect, that economic growth is a
function of getting a lot of stuff going and
winning (growing) courtesy the law of large
numbers. Much of the secret is the absence of a
planlet lotsa stuff happen, and some
unimaginable great stuff will be part of the
picture.
85
Economic Progress/Growth Spontaneous Discovery
ProcessF.A. Hayek
86
Rapid Trial and Error Heart of the
scientific method Engine of natural
selection Basis for economic growth Key to
business success
87
What makes God laugh?
88
People making plans!
89
The Mess Is The Message! Period!
90
By indirections find directions out. Hamlet,
II. i
91
Containerization is a remarkable achievement.
No one foresaw how the box would transform
everything it touchedfrom ships and ports to
patterns of global trade. Containerization is a
monument to the most powerful law in economics,
that of unanticipated consequences. This
history ought to be humbling to fans of modern
management methods. Careful planning and thorough
analysis, those business school basics, may have
their place, but they provide little guidance in
the face of disruptive changes that alter an
industrys very fundamentals. Marc Levinson,
author of The Box How the Shipping Container
Made the World Smaller and the World Economy
Bigger (2006 was the 50th anniversary of
containerization)
92
No one rises so high as he who knows not where
he is going. Cromwell
93
My only goal is to have no goals. The goal,
every time, is that film, that very moment.
Bernardo Bertolucci
94
We normally shoot a few takes, even if the first
one is terrific because what Im really hoping
for is a mistake. I think that most of the
really great moments in my films were not
planned. They were things that naturally occurred
and we said, Wow, look at thatthats something
we want to keep. Thats when you hit the truth
button with the audience. Robert Altman, on
his Academy Award winning Gosford Park
95
Surprise, Transformation Excellence Through
Spontaneous Discovery
96
The Limits of Systems Thinking Surprise,
Transformation Excellence Through Spontaneous
Discovery (1 of 2) This summer 2009 was the
summer of brush clearing. And, it turned out,
much more. It started as simple exercise. After
a day or two, scratches from head to toe, and
enjoyment, I set myself a goal of clearing a
little space to get a better view of one of the
farm ponds. That revealed something else to my
surprise. At a casual dinner, I sat next to a
landscaper, and we got to talking about our farm
and my skills with clipper, saw, etc. In
particular, she suggested that I do some clearing
around a few of our big boulders. Intrigued, I
set about clearing, on our main trail, around a
couple of said boulders. I was again amazed at
the result. That in turn led to attacking some
dense brush and brambles around some barely
visible rocks that had always intrigued mewhich
led to finding, in effect, a great place for a
more or less Zen garden, as weve taken to
calling it. Which led to more and more. And
more. (Especially a rock wall, a hundred or so
yards long, that is a massive wondernext year
Ill move up the hill behind itI can already
begin to imagine what Ill discover, though my
hunch will be mostly wrong, and end up leading
me somewhere else.)
97
The Limits of Systems Thinking Surprise,
Transformation Excellence Through Spontaneous
Discovery (2 of 2) To make a long story
short I now have a new hobby, and maybe, ye
gads, my lifes work for years to come. This
winter Ill do a little, but I also plan to read
up on outdoor spaces, Zen gardens, etc visit
some rock gardensspaces close by or amidst my
travels and, indeed, concoct a more or less plan
(rough sketches) for next springs
activitiesthough Im sure that what I do will
move forward mostly by what I discover as I move
forward. (what discovers itself may actually be a
better way to put ittheres a hidden hand
here.) As Im beginning to see it, this is at
least a 10-year projectmaybe even a
multi-generation project. I proceeded by trial
and error and instinct, and each experiment led
to/suggested another experiment (or 2 or 10) and
to a greater understanding of potentialthe
plan, though there was none, made itself. And
it was far, far better (more ambitious, more
interesting, more satisfying) than I would have
imagined. In fact, the result to date bears
little or no relationship to what I was thinking
about at the starta trivial self-designed chore
may become the engine of my next decade the
brushcutting project is now leading Susan and I
to view our entire property, and what it might
represent, in a new light. I was able to do much
more than Id dreamedoverall, and project by
project. Systems thinking? It would have killed
the whole thing. Is everything connected to
every thing else? Well, sure. But I had no idea
how everything was connected to everything else
until I began (thank you, Michael Schrage)
serious play.
98
I proceeded by trial and error and instinct, and
each experiment led to/suggested another
experiment (or 2 or 10) and to a greater
understanding of potentialthe plan, though
there was none, made itself. And it was far, far
better (more ambitious, more interesting, more
satisfying) than I would have imagined. In fact,
the result to date bears little or no
relationship to what I was thinking about at the
starta trivial self-designed chore may become
the engine of my next decade the brushcutting
project is now leading Susan and I to view our
entire property, and what it might
become-represent, in a new light.
99
Boyd
100
He who has the quickest O.O.D.A. Loops
wins!Observe. Orient. Decide. Act. /Col. John
Boyd
101
John Boyd was called by some the most important
military strategist since Sun Tzu. The core idea
he presents is keep moving, keep zigging and
zaggingthe opponent is kept off balance and in a
constantly reactive mode.I do not equate
business competition with warfare e.g., theres
plenty of room for me and my competitors and
overall industry growth is good for all of us. On
the other hand, the Boyd concept is soundand in
a gyrating world can usefully apply to many if
not most settings.
102
OODA Loop/Boyd CycleUnraveling the
competition/ Quick Transients/ Quick Tempo (NOT
JUST SPEED!)/ Agility/ So quick it is
disconcerting (adversary over-reacts or
under-reacts)/ Winners used tactics that caused
the enemy to unravel before the fight (NEVER
HEAD TO HEAD)BOYD The Fighter Pilot Who
Changed the Art of War (Robert Coram)
103
Fast TransientsButtonhook turn (YF16
could flick from one maneuver to another faster
than any aircraft)BOYD The Fighter Pilot Who
Changed the Art of War (Robert Coram)
104
Blitzkrieg is far more than lightning thrusts
that most people think of when they hear the
term rather it was all about high operational
tempo and the rapid exploitation of opportunity.
Robert Coram, Boyd Re-arrange the mind of the
enemy T.E. Lawrence Float like a butterfly,
sting like a bee Ali BOYD The Fighter Pilot
Who Changed the Art of War (Robert Coram)
105
F86 vs. MiG/Korea/101Bubble canopy (360 degree
view)Full hydraulic controls (The F86 driver
could go from one maneuver to another faster than
the MiG driver)MiG faster in raw
acceleration and turning ability F86 quicker
in changing maneuversBOYD The Fighter Pilot
Who Changed the Art of War (Robert Coram)
106
The stuff has got to be implicit. If it is
explicit, you cant do it fast enough.BOYD
The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War
(Robert Coram)
107
Kelley
108
Fail faster. Succeed Sooner.David
Kelley/IDEO
109
Making mistakes is often considered
anathemaespecially when one is in school.How
absurd!How sick!We advance ONLY THROUGH
ERROR TRIAL.
110
Fail. Forward. Fast.High Tech CEO,
Pennsylvania
111
No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail
better.Samuel Beckett
112
The secret of fast progress is inefficiency,
fast and furious and numerous failures.Kevin
Kelly
113
Natural selection is death. ... Without huge
amounts of death, organisms do not change over
time. ... Death is the mother of structure. ...
It took four billion years of death ... to invent
the human mind ... The Cobra Event
114
The Silicon Valley of today is built less atop
the spires of earlier triumphs than upon the
rubble of earlier debacles.Paul Saffo, tech
futurist, Palo Alto
115
He was not afraid to failDavid Glass,
former CEO, Walmart, to TP, on Sam Waltons
principal success secret
116
Reward excellent failures. Punish mediocre
successes.Phil Daniels, Sydney exec
117
If people tell me they skied all day and never
fell down, I tell them to try a different
mountain. Michael Bloomberg (BW/0625.07)
118
In business, you reward people for taking risks.
When it doesnt work out you promote thembecause
they were willing to try new things. If people
tell me they skied all day and never fell down,
I tell them to try a different mountain.
Michael Bloomberg (BW/0625.07)
119
No man ever became great ... except through many
and great mistakes. William Gladstone (from
Timeless Wisdom, compiled by Gary Fenchuk)
120
I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my
career I have lost almost 300 games 26 times I
have been trusted to take the game winning
shotand missed. I have failed over and over and
over again in my life. And that is why I
succeed. Michael Jordan
121
and that is why I succeed
122
Read It!Richard Farson Ralph Keyes Whoever
Makes the Most Mistakes Wins The Paradox of
Innovation
123
"A man's errors are his portals of discovery."
James Joyce
124
"Barn's burnt down now I can see the moon."
Masahide, Japanese poet
125
It is not enough to tolerate failureyou must
celebrate failure. Richard Farson (Whoever
Makes the Most Mistakes Wins)
126
Grant
127
The only way to whip an army is to go out and
fight it. GrantSource John Mosier, Grant
128
U.S. Grant (Ulysses Simpson or Unconditional
Surrender Grant) is arguably Americas most
effective general. While others dithered, Grant
succeeded by, regardless of circumstances, such
as an undermanned force, gettin on with
gettin128128 on. He was on the moveand come
hell and high water he would never move in any
direction other than forward. The latter sounds
like a vacuous nostrumbut to Grant it was the
essence of his character and thence success.)
129
Grantfrom the seminal biography byJean
Edward Smith
130
A generation of American officers had been
schooled to believe the art of generalship
required rigid adherence to certain textbook
theorems./151 The nature of Grants greatness
has been a riddle to many observers. did not
hedge his bets disregarded explicit
instructions nothing to fall back on
violating every maxim held dear by the military
profession new dimension ability to learn from
the battlefield finished near the bottom of his
West Point class in tactics carried the fight
to the enemy maintain the momentum of the
attack military greatness is the ability to
recognize and respond to opportunities
presented./152-3 Grant had an aversion to
digging in./153 Grant had an intangible
advantage. He knew what he wanted./153 Grants
seven-mile dash changed the course of the
war./157 The one who attacks first will be
victorious./158 dogged/159 unconditional
surrender/162 simplicity and
determination/166 quickness of mind that
allowed him to make on the spot adjustments
his battles were not elegant set-piece
operations/166 other Union general preferred
preparation to execution became a friend of
detail suffered from the slows /170 Message
to Halleck from McClellan Do not hesitate to
arrest him following great victory/172
learned how to withstand attacks from the rear
Army politics/179
131
He never credited the enemy with the capacity
to take the offensive./185 tenacity like
Wellington/187 I havent despaired of whipping
them yet at avery low point/195 Both sides
seemed defeated and whoever assumed the offensive
was sure to win./200 inchoate bond between
Grant and soldiers/201 The genius of Grants
command style lay in its simplicity. Grant never
burdened his division commanders with excessive
detail. no elaborate staff conferences, no
written orders prescribing deployment. Grant
recognized the battlefield was in flux. By not
specifying movements in detail, he left his
subordinate commanders free to exploit whatever
opportunities developed./202 If anyone other
than Grant had been in command, the Union army
certainly would have retreated./204 Lincoln
(urged to fire Grant) I cant spare this man
he fights./205 Grant turned defeat into Union
victory./206 moved on intuition, which he
often could not explain or justify./208
instinctive recognition that victory lay in
relentlessly hounding a defeated army into
surrender./213 Nathan Bedford Forrest,
successful Confederate commander amenable to no
known rules of procedure, was a law unto himself
for all military acts, and was constantly doing
the unexpected at all times and places./213
132
The genius of Grants command style lay in its
simplicity. Grant never burdened his division
commanders with excessive detail. no elaborate
staff conferences, no written orders prescribing
deployment. Grant recognized the battlefield
was in flux. By not specifying movements in
detail, he left his subordinate commanders free
to exploit whatever opportunities developed.
Jean Edward Smith/GRANT
133
The commanding general would be in the
field/228 Lincoln What I want, and what the
people want, is generals who will fight battles
and win victories. Grant has done this and I
propose to stand by him./231 retains his hold
upon the affections of his men/232 Grants
moral couragehis willingness to choose a path
frrom which there could be no returnset him
apart from most commanders were Grant and Lee
were uniquely willing to take full responsibility
for their actions./233 modest honest
nothing could perturb never faltered /233
plan was breathtakingly simple but fraught with
peril/235 demonstrating the flexibility that
had become his hallmark/238 But like any West
Point trained general, he had difficulty
comprehending what Grant was up to /240
recognized the value of momentum throw off
balance blitzkreig traveling light
headquarters in the saddle/243 acted as
quartermaster/243 rushed away so that he
couldnt receive Hallecks order like Lord
Nelson telescope to his blind eye pressing
ahead on his own/245 focus on the enemys
weakness rather than his own/250
134
recognized the value of momentum throw
opponent off balance blitzkreig traveling
light headquarters in the saddle Jean Edward
Smith/GRANT
135
TP Metabolic ManagementLeader consciously
responsible for tempo/momentum/metabolic rate of
the organization
136
"The art of war is simple enough. Find out where
your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can.
Strike at him as hard as you can and as often as
you can, and keep moving on." Grant, courtesy
Richard Cauley at tompeters,com (original source
unknown)
137
The art of war does not require complicated
maneuvers the simplest are the best, and common
sense is fundamental. From which one might wonder
how it is generals make blunders it is because
they try to be clever. Napoleon on Simplicity,
from Napoleon on Project Management by Jerry
Manas.
138
Napoleon six winning principles Exactitude
(sweat the details). Speed. Flexibility.
Simplicity. Character. Moral Force. Simplicity
The art of war does not require complicated
maneuvers the simplest are the best, and common
sense is fundamental. From which one might wonder
how it is generals make blunders it is because
they try to be clever. Character A military
leader must possess as much character as
intellect. Men who have a great deal of
intelligence and little character are the least
suited. It is preferable to have much character
and little intellect. Source Jerry Manas,
Napoleon on Project Management
139
Above all the troops appreciated Grants
unassuming manner. Most generals went about
attended by a retinue of immaculately tailored
staff officers. Grant usually rode alone, except
for an orderly or two to carry messages if the
need arose. Another soldier said the soldiers
looked on Grant as a friendly partner, not an
arbitrary commander. Instead of cheering as he
rode by, they would greet him as they would
sddress one of their neighbors at home. Good
morning, General, Pleasant day, General
There was no nonsense, no sentiment only a plain
businessman of the republic, there for the one
single purpose of getting that command over the
river in the shortest time possible. Grant
5-feet 8-inches with a slouch/232 After the
victory at Chattanooga The Union senior
officers rode past the Confederates smugly
without any sign of recognition except by one.
When General Grant 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./ 281
Grant was unhappy about going into winter
quarters. He saw no reason to keep the army idle,
and the pause would give the rebels time to
reorganize./282
140
The Union senior officers rode past the
Confederates smugly without any sign of
recognition except by one. When General Grant
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
141
From LEE KENNETTs SHERMAN Grant tended to be
a simple listener when these two strategies for
taking Vicksburg were being discussed. His own
preference may have been impelled as much by
natural inclination as by any arguments he heard.
He wrote afterward One of my superstitions had
always been when I started to go anywhere or to
do anything, not to turn back, or stop, until the
thing intended was accomplished./ 202
142
One of my superstitions had always been when I
started to go anywhere or to do anything, not to
turn back, or stop, until the thing intended was
accomplished. Grant
143
This adolescent incident of getting from
point A to point B is notable not only because
it underlines Grants fearless horsemanship and
his determination, but also it is the first known
example of a very important peculiarity of his
character Grant had an extreme, almost phobic
dislike of turning back and retracing his steps.
If he set out for somewhere, he would get there
somehow, whatever the difficulties that lay in
his way. This idiosyncrasy would turn out to be
one the factors that made him such a formidable
general. Grant would always, always press
onturning back was not an option for him.
Michael Korda, Ulysses Grant
144
CWVA to MBWA In these days of telegraph and
steam I can command while traveling and visiting
about. U.S. GrantManaging By Wandering
Around HP circa 1980Source Ulysses S. Grant,
by Geoffrey Perret
145
TPs take Intuition takes precedence (listen
attentively but act on intuition) Move today gt
perfect plan tomorrow subsequent Patton line
Great advantage When moving, you know what
youre up to and youre moving the one sitting
still is, thence, always reactive Boyd
quickest O.O.D.A. loops/Observe. Orient. Decide.
Act. Disorient enemy Action! ... Keep moving!
Engage! Offense! weakness-strength cant
even imagine enemy counter-attacking little
conception of defense Momentum! . Keep em
off balance Adjust Adapt Opportunism!
Constantly revise in accordance with conditions
and opportunities in the field life excellence
at Plan B Doggedness Relentless!! trait
shaped in early childhhood Never retreat
Simplicity! Wide latitude for division
commanders minimum written orders, conferences,
etc keep his own council HQ is Grant his
horse no retinue! commune with soldiers/exude
quiet confidence/Approachable decent
Self-accountability! Evade orders (or ignore)
Share harm hardship total victory/ demand
unconditional surrenderGs first claim to fame
Nelson other Admirals avoid loss, friend and
foe as in Grants case vs Nelsons seek victory
Life 101 politics between the Generals
E.g., Grant Halleck
146
Re-lent-less
147
It is no use saying We are doing our best. You
have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.
Winston Churchill
148
Success seems to be largely a matter of
hanging on after others have let go. William
Feather, author, entrepreneur
149
If Richard Holbrooke calls and asks you for
something, just say Yes. If you say No,
youll eventually get to yes, but the journey
will be very painful. Henry Kissinger on the
late diplomat-problemsolver Richard Holbrooke
150
72/1/5/909
151
Success/Suffrage Elizabeth Cady Stanton
(1815-1902), Lucretia Mott, Martha Wright, Mary
Ann McClintock, Jane Hunt (Lunch/Seneca Falls,
NY/07.13.1848) 72 years, 1 month, 5 days, 909
elections (08.18.1920/Nashville, TN) The 20th
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (which gave
women the right to vote)
152
Nelson
153
On NELSON other admirals more frightened of
losing than anxious to win
154
U.S. Grant and Horatio Nelson were cut to the
same measure from the same bolt of cloth.
Immediate forward action was their virtually
religious watchword. Moreover, and among other
things, both were known for their love, returned,
of their soldiers and sailorsand the leeway for
action they gave to their subordinate commanders.

155
The Nelson
Bakers Dozen 1. Simple-clear scheme (Plan)
(Not wildly imaginative) (Patton A good plan
executed with vigor right now tops a perfect
plan executed next week.)2. SOARING/BOLD/CLEAR/U
NEQUIVOCAL/WORTHY/NOBLE/INSPIRING
GOAL/MISSION/PURPOSE/QUEST3.
Conversation Engagement of All Leaders4.
Leeway for Leaders Select the Best/Dip
Deep/Initiative demanded/Accountability
swift/Micromanagement absent5. LED BY LOVE
(Lambert), NOT AUTHORITY (Identify with
sailors!)6. Instinct/Seize the
Moment/Impetuosity (Boyds OODA Loops React
more quickly than opponent, destroy his
world view)7. VIGOR! (Zander leader as
Dispenser of Enthusiasm)8. Peerless Basic
Skills/Mastery of Craft (Seamanship)9.
Workaholic! (Duty first, second, and third)10.
LEAD BY CONFIDENT DETERMINED CONTINUOUS
VISIBLE EXAMPLE (In Harms Way) (Gandhi
You must be the change you wish to see in the
world/ Giuliani Show up!)11. Genius
(Transform the world to conform to their ideas,
Triumph over rules) (Gandhi,
Lee-Singapore) , not Greatness (Make the most of
their world) 12. Luck! (Right time, right
place survivor) (Lucky Eagle vs Bold
Eagle) 13. Others principal shortcoming
ADMIRALS MORE FRIGHTENED OF LOSING THAN
ANXIOUS TO WIN Source Andrew Lambert, Nelson
Britannias God of War
156
Nelsons Way A Bakers
Dozen/Short 1. Simple scheme. 2. Noble
purpose! 3. Engage others. 4. Find great talent,
let it soar! 5. Lead by Love! 6. Trust your gut,
not the focus group Seize the Moment! 7. Vigor!
8. Master your craft. 9. Work harder than the
next person. 10. Show the way, walk the talk,
exude confidence! Start a Passion
Epidemic! 11. Change the rules Create your own
game! 12. Shake of the pain, get back up off the
ground, the timing may well be right
tomorrow! (E.g., Get lucky!) 13. By hook or by
crook, quash your fear of failure, savor your
quirkiness and participate fully in the
fray! Source Andrew Lambert, Nelson
Britannias God of War
157
Insubordinate (when it comes to
delays)/NAction-oriented/Offense/Total
victory/NRelentlessTroop Commander par
Excellence/NLeeway to Commanders/N
158
He above all encouraged (and prepared) his
subordinates to seize the initiative whenever
necessary, particularly in the fog of war and
the men who served under him knew what he
expected. Jay Tolson, on The Nelson Touch,
The Battle That Changed The World
159
FisherismsDo right and damn the
odds.Stagnation is the curse of life.The best
is the cheapest.Emotion can sway the world.Mad
things come off.Haste in all things.Any fool
can obey orders.History is a record of exploded
ideas. Life is phrases.Source Jan Morris,
Fishers Face, Or, Getting to Know the Admiral
160
We must have no tinkering! No pandering to
sentiment! No regard for susceptibilities! We
must be ruthless, relentless, and remorseless.
Jan Morris, Fishers Face, Or, Getting to Know
the Admiral
161
Q.E.D. You miss 100 of the shots you never
take. Wayne Gretzky
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