Wednesday wisdom from Tom Peters

by Michael Haberman on October 24, 2018 · 0 comments


I am a big fan of Tom Peters and I have to admit I am dismayed when I mention his name and people don’t know who he is. In my opinion, he is as influential as a management guru as is Peter Drucker, but then again there is another name many people no longer recognize. I am currently reading Peters’ most recent book The Excellence Dividend, and I subscribe to his newsletter. I received a copy in which Tom talks about the importance of reading, another subject I am passionate about. I have read 25 so far this year and am likely to hit 30 for the year. That does not match Peters’ 100 books, and not all of mine are business related.

An essential habit

Peters says:

We are all under the gun; keeping up is nigh on impossible, but one must try, age twenty-one (last year’s university graduate) or age seventy-five (me).

And the best weapon circa 2018: READ! READ!! READ!!! READ!!!!

Peters quotes a Google study on itself, looking at the qualifications of its employees. Where most people expected to see a wide range of STEM backgrounds they saw something different.

Project Oxygen [data from founding in 1998 to 2013] shocked everyone by concluding that, among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics] expertise comes in dead last. The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others’ different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas. Those traits sound more like what one gains as an English or theater major than as a programmer.

Yes, you read that correctly, the top seven characteristics of people successful at Google were SOFT skills. Peters says these soft skills are the result of being widely read.

The following video is 9 years old but its message is as relevant today as it was then. Pay attention to Tom Peters, even at 75, he is relevant to today’s workers.


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