Tom Peters: Before you get new thoughts in your head, you have to get old ones out

Tom Peters has been telling businesses, industries and organizations about innovation and evolution for more than 25 years. I came across a PDF deck on my hard drive that I downloaded a few years back and found it just as insightful and instructive today as it was the first time I encountered it.

A couple highlights:

One serious study shows that but a single company on Forbesʼ first List of Giants (the 1917 Forbes 100) outperformed the market between 1917 and 2003. The sole survivor, GE, is marked, not so incidentally, by a powerful, lingering spirit of independence and autonomy. While I admire the instinct to pursue Eternal Glory, I believe the times are better suited for the Ellisonsʼ and Gatesʼ…pursuit of Temporal Glory. (Which may or may not last…but which changes the world permanently.) Put your all into surviving todayʼs tsunamis of change…and let the day after tomorrow take care of itself. Dream big? Absolutely! Aim to change the world? Absolutely! The idea is to set in train events that rattle every cage from here to kingdom come. But as to whether you and yours will be the engineers in charge of that train, circa 2053…who cares?

And …

Visa founder Dee Hock said it best: “The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get the old ones out.” Burn the boats redux, eh? My take: Every enterprise (and every individual) needs a formal (written, for starters!)…Forgetting Strategy. We must be as forceful and systematic about identifying and then dumping yesterdayʼs baggage as we are about acquiring new baggage.

This is great advice for anyone facing the challenge of innovation and evolution, whether you work for a big company or in your basement. There more here.

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5 Responses to “Tom Peters: Before you get new thoughts in your head, you have to get old ones out”

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