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John Kotter Explains His 8-Step Process of Change In Our New Release

John Kotter on Change and Leadership

Recently, Dini and I sat down with John Kotter in his office with a video crew. We asked him if he could outline his eight-step process of change. We thought it would be a great supplement to the videos we distribute featuring John.

Well, the results were fantastic! We have put this material on a new DVD release. Our name for the program is "Transform Your Organization!" In a way, we see this as a video workbook. It’s filled with practical advice and tips for any manager, team leader, or executive who is involved with organizational change.

The video workbook is laid out simply. John introduces his eight-step model for change in the first video clip. He then outlines each of the eight steps of change in the following eight clips. With each step, he provides tips for implementation (and also ideas for avoiding pitfalls). On the DVD, you can view the entire program or choose any one of the video clips to watch on its own.

We priced this inexpensively so any manager, team leader, or executive can get it as a personal reference tool. You can learn more at our website. You can also see a preview of "Step 1: Increase Urgency" there, too.

Posted under What’s New, John Kotter, Leadership, Corporate Strategy by Stewart on Apr 28, 2010 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

Lessons from Toyota

The recent spate of problem with Toyota caused me to think. While the news is still coming out, it does seem that the folks at Toyota were not as forthcoming as they could (and should) have been about the problem with the accelerator pedals. It is also clear that the company may have been so focused on keeping costs down that they may have lost sight of their strong commitment to quality. No matter what, I do think we can learn something from the Toyota experience... Here are some of the things I’ve learned.

Worry about complacency. Complacency is your enemy. When things seem to be too good to be true, that may be when you need to be most on your guard. I think Toyota was complacent and that allowed them to become lazy about their legendary quality and customer standards. It is interesting that both Tom Peters and John Kotter also speak about the perils of complacency (in a number of different videos, book and articles). You need to be on your guard and always be asking yourself, "Are we living up to our highest standards - and upholding our reputation?"

The bottom line isn’t the bottom line: The true bottom line is the customer. If you don’t have customers, you don’t have anything. I think that Toyota may have become so focused on keeping costs down that they may have compromised quality. The American car companies had this problem in earlier decades (and we know what happened to them). It is important to focus in the bottom line, but you also need to be equally committed to maintaining your standards. If you compromise your standards for short-term gain, you will suffer... eventually. It might take some time, but the problems will arise.

Reputations are hard to build and easy to lose. Toyota has taken a big hit in the press. For decades they worked very hard to maintain the highest standards. They had an iron clad reputation. And the barrage of problems with car mats, accelerator pedals, and runaway acceleration (compounded by the reporting delays) has hit them hard. They are the butt of jokes on late night television. Sales are down and people are concerned. All of this happened in a matter of weeks. Think about it: Decades to build a reputation and weeks to damage it. Toyota may (and most likely will) regain its reputation, but it will take the company a while to do it.

Posted under Miscellaneous Thoughts, Leadership, Management, Corporate Strategy by Stewart on Apr 16, 2010 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

Tom Peters New Book: The Little BIG Things!

The LIttle BIG Things by Tom Peters

More great book news! Tom Peters book "The Little BIG Things: 163 Ways To Pursue Excellence" is now available. As many of you know, Tom Peters has been consolidating a lot of his best ideas into "Success Tips" for his blog. These tips distill so many of the ideas that Tom has developed through his practice.

After accumulating hundreds of these ideas (over several years), Tom decided to aggregate the best of these into a book. In it, you will find ideas for improved customer service and leadership. Tom also shares ideas on innovation, excellence, and organizational strategy. I particularly like Tom’s advice on improving your communication abilities, and honing your leadership skills.

These are 163 great ideas... and they are motivational, insightful, fun to read, and eminently useable (and, for that matter, sensible). If you’re interested in Tom’s new book, click here to see the link on

As many of you already know, Tom has also put a lot of these great ideas into a training video series. We shot over 90 of Tom’s "Little BIG Things" over three fun and fascinating days. I confess that we spent as much time chatting and laughing as we did shooting Tom’s segments. Free previews are available here: The Little BIG Things DVD series.

Posted under Best Sellers, What’s New, Customer Service, Tom Peters, Leadership, Management by Stewart on Mar 10, 2010 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

Lessons from my favorite Christmas movies!

I love Christmas movies. Every year I watch them with my family... and every year I still love them. But did you know that you could actually use these movies to help with your leadership, management, and customer service? Well you can... Here’s a sampling:

Miracle on 34th Street

Everyone seems so focused on the "commercial" from Mr. Macy and Mr. Gimbel all the way throughout New York City... But Macy’s Santa, aptly named Kris Kringle (and wonderfully played by Edmund Gwenn) really gets it. He helps customers get what they want - even when it’s something that Macy’s doesn’t carry. Customers are so delighted that they become loyal customers of Macy’s. Now that’s customer service! Couldn’t we all learn from Macy’s Kris Kringle? Give it a try!

Love Actually

I love this newer Christmas movie. In it, we hear a lot of stories about love, the holidays, and people. But it is the opening of the movie that gets me. In it, we hear the voice of the Prime Minister of England (played by Hugh Grant) saying, "Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow airport. General opinion makes out that we live in a world of hatred and greed. I don’t see that. Seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy but it’s always there. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, none of the phone calls from people on board were messages of hate or revenge, they were all messages of love. lf you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around."

It’s a great quote, but it also got me thinking of the interview I had with Herb Kelleher (for the film "The Excellence Files.") Herb said, "We’d rather be a company motivated by love than fear." You don’t often hear CEOs speak of love, but it is hard to argue with success. Herb Kelleher built the most successful airline in the world. And he did it by empowering, respecting and valuing (or even loving) his employees. Maybe it is all about love! (By the way, if you watch this movie, make sure to watch the deleted scenes, they’re funny and heartwarming).

It’s a Wonderful Life

OK, there are so many wonderful lessons in this movie it’s hard to focus in on one. The one I like the best is that you can’t do it alone. As many of you already know so well, George Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart) is in a pickle. He thinks he has to solve the problems on his own and even considers suicide... But the town comes to the rescue and helps George out. I love the scene at the end when everyone from Bedford Falls gathers in George Bailey’s living room to show support. I also love it because it reminds all of us that we can’t do everything alone. It is the collaboration of groups that make a difference. Teamwork really does matter - at work, at home, and in the community. It’s a nice lesson to remember at work - all year long.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph doesn’t seem to "fit into the crowd" because he has a red nose. In fact, there is an entire island of toys that seem to be ignored because they don’t fit in. But, as we know, Rudolph’s nose turns out to be a huge asset to Santa during the "Storm of the Century." Well, we know through research that diverse teams perform better than the teams that are all made up of the same kind of people. Maybe we should be looking for the "misfits" and the Rudolph’s for our next team at work. You never know, it might make the difference in your next project.

So, next time you watch your favorite Christmas movie, remember: There may be more to the movie that you love than you think!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and I hope that the New Year brings you much joy and success.

Posted under Customer Service, Miscellaneous Thoughts, Training Ideas, Leadership, Management by Stewart on Dec 17, 2009 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment» X

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