For those of us who grew up reading Tom Peters, it is always exciting when he puts out a new book. Such was the case with me a couple of months ago when Excellence Now: Extreme Humanism was published. I bought and read it with great anticipation. In fact, I based several of my recent columns on some of the ideas from this book.
As always, Peters is right on the mark. This is the perfect book for our times. Reading it will help us meet the challenges we are facing today. I would even go as far as to say that with all the staffing challenges we are facing, everyone who has a business and needs to hire people needs to use this book as the primer for our times.
In Excellence Now, Peters explains how to find, treat, and retain good people. He discusses how to treat the front-line leaders—the ones that the people on the floor report to.
He often quotes the late Southwest Airlines founder Herb Kelleher, who advised us to treat our people the same way we want them to treat our customers.
He starts his book by stating that it is a culmination of “a 43-year journey of hope,” and the “summa” of all his work through those 43 years.
I believe this book can be summed up in two words: “People first.” People first when it comes to our employees, people first when it comes to our customers, and even people first when it comes to the people we compete against. You can never go wrong by treating people with respect.
When it comes to hiring and retaining employees, Peters says, “People really first. Business has to give people enriching, rewarding lives, or it is simply not worth doing.”
He throws out with extreme prejudice Milton Friedman’s idiotic self-declared axiom that the business of business is to make the shareholders’ money in favor of saying that business is all about the people.
Peters, as he always does, promotes the two vastly ignored markets: seniors and women. This makes a lot of sense. Seniors have disposable income and women make most of today’s household buying decisions. But in a business world that stills caters to outdated conventional wisdom, these two groups are often overlooked.
Now, on to the younger folks, the people who are starting to run our businesses and other organizations. Young people must be acknowledged. The book actually focuses on this group more than any other. This is the group for the most part that is demanding more meaning in their lives. This is the group that needs to be treated with “extreme humanism.” Whether we like it or not, those companies who have famously treated their employees like second-class citizens are already starting to suffer. They are already feeling the pain of not finding enough people, young or old, to put up with their 20th century views of the labor force and how staff should be treated.
Don’t face the current challenges of staffing without arming yourself with some solid hiring tactics. Right now, that means buying and reading Tom Peters’ new book, Excellence Now: Extreme Humanism.
Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.
Excellence Now: Extreme Humanism
Author: Tom Peters
Publisher: Networlding Publishing