The renowned business strategist and author, Tom Peters visited NZ a few years ago.  Typically his writings are aimed at bigger businesses, however this time he presented a paper in which he outlined 56 ideas that any and all companies should consider incorporating into their culture, to create a sustainable aim of EXCELLENCE.

Here are a few I have chosen at random.  If you want the full list, drop me an email at and I will forward you the whole article.

“Thank you.” Minimum several times a day. Measure it! Recognition for contributions or support is of inestimable value in cementing relationships—and inducing future contributions and word-of-mouth support. By the way, you can practice “thank yous”—proffering thereof is a learnable skill. And a measurable one. Bottom line: This must become habit-ritual in order to be successful.

Apologize. Even if “they” are “mostly” to blame. Apologize if you are 10% to blame. Apologize especially if it hurts, if the person you’re apologizing to is an “enemy.” Measure it: set time aside weekly for “three-minute calls,” mostly to apologize: I contend that for every ruptured relationship there was a time when a “mere” three-minute call would have gone a long way toward turning things around.

Hire enthusiasm. “Nothing is more contagious than enthusiasm.”—Samuel Taylor Coleridge. “I am a dispenser of enthusiasm.”—Ben Zander, symphony conductor. Measure this trait in hiring and promotions. Take it very seriously—and, as usual, model it.

Hiring: Would you like to go to lunch with him-her? 100% of jobs. We must test personability and breadth in every serious candidate for any and all jobs. You need not “fall in love” with a candidate, but good chemistry matters.

Call a customer. Right now. (Stop reading this—make the call now!)

Hang out with interesting new people. Measure it! You simply must press yourself on this—and measure it religiously for yourself and others!! You are what you eat— your pool of associates forms you, mostly inadvertently. You must carefully control your contacts to give yourself fresh food.

Work on first and last impressions as if your life depended on it—it does. Walt Disney, in its parks operations, spends in ordinate time and money on parking lots and the hiring and training and development of parking lot attendants. The research is crystal clear: Beginnings and endings play a huge role in our perception of a product or service. (E.g., for professional service firms, the reception area and receptionist are of extraordinary importance.

That is a sample of the suggested “soft” systems that Tom Peters suggests are the true (and achievable) basis for excellence in a company.  Interesting?  If you want more contact me at or visit my website at