Thursday, July 28

Tom Peters digs into Jim Collins - Ouch! 

In a recent phone call with my friend, mentor, and colleague, Michael Ray, he told me that Tom Peters (a Stanford Business School alum and only 2 years younger than Michael, who was a very young professor at that time) really doesn't care for Jim Collins (another Stanford MBA and also an early teacher of our Creativity in Business MBA course). I got to thinking: What could be the cause of this "battle of the super-gurus?"

I'm now rereading through Tom's fabulous book, REIMAGINE, and it's digs like this (in Chapter 2) that might be causing the problem:
In Jim Collins’ latest, Good to Great, the author celebrates “self-effacing, quiet, reserved, even shy” leaders who bring about the big transformations. Examples included.

Fine, Jim.

Psychologist-management expert Michael Maccoby and I have frequently clashed. Not this time. Michael recently wrote of “larger than life leaders” ... e.g.: “egoists, charmers, risktakers with big visions.” Exemplars he cites: Carnegie. Rockefeller. Edison. Ford. Welch. Jobs. Gates.

He, of course, could have added Messier and Middelhoff and Ebbers and Lay. Nonetheless, I’ll still take Michael’s list over Jim’s.

While flying across the U.S. a while back, I got so agitated about “quiet” and “even shy” that I started scribbling madly on the inside back cover of the spy novel I was reading. Here’s what I was able to subsequently decipher from my hen scratches:

T. Paine/ P. Henry/ A. Hamilton/ B. Franklin/ A. Lincoln/ U.S. Grant/ W. T. Sherman/ M.L. King, Jr./ M. Gandhi/ G. Steinem/ W.S. Churchill/ M. Thatcher/ Picasso/ Mozart/ Copernicus/ Newton/ J. Welch/ L. Gerstner/ L. Ellison/ B. Gates/ S. Ballmer/ S. Jobs/ S. McNealy.
By the way, I'm right in there with Peters. Also, he forgot Richard Branson of Virgin, and - I'm bracing myself here - Donald Trump, among others. But hey, the point is that Tom's list is the RIGHT list, even if it's not all-inclusive. To lead people well, it helps to dream big, think big, act big. (It also helps if you're not a jerk and not a crook.) So take Ellison off my list - and not because he's a crook.

As to these two boys duking it out in print - "Jimmy and Tommy: don't make me separate the two of you!!"

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