“Is your product ‘lickable’?”
A killer design is a guaranteed way to blow the competition out of the water and make people line up to buy your stuff. And you’ll know that your product is designed well if you “want to lick it.”
This is just one of the quirky yet insightful pieces of advice Tom Peters, co-author of the best-selling In Search of Excellence and “management guru” (as deemed by the New York Times), offers up in his latest book, The Little Big Things: 163 Ways To Pursue Excellence.
The book’s eye-catching (Peters might say, “lickable”) design grabbed our attention, and we found that the book really is filled with great business and leadership wisdom, boiled down to easily-digestible nuggets and presented in Peters’ grandiloquent and thoroughly entertaining style.
We’ve picked out 10 of our favourites, but be advised that the other 153 are worth checking out as well.
An angry customer is a chance for you to go above and beyond to solve their problem and turn them into loyal fans.
'Are you on the active prowl for customers to fix?' asks Peters. 'Make 'over'reacting to problems a keystone in the corporate culture... 'We respond to customer concerns with passion and rapidity and resources in ways that stun-amaze-overwhelm those customers 100 per cent of the time.''
You can't prevent all problems. Look at the ones that arise as an opportunity to earn loyalty... and publicity.
Barack Obama was launched down the path towards becoming America's first African-American president after one 17-minute speech at the 2004 DNC.
'Seventeen minutes! My God: Seventeen minutes! Seventeen good minutes -- and you, too, can move... into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!' Peters exclaims.
From Barack Obama to Steve Jobs, we've all seen how a presentation can change things.
Peters argues that less-than sparkling presentation skills hold back many talented people. Don't be one of them -- launch an all-out effort to master the art of presenting.
Apparently, former Goldman Sachs CEO would call 60 executives during the first week of each new year to wish them a happy one -- without fail.
Acts of Deliberate Relationship Enhancement work: they show people that you've taken the time reach out personally.
'Of course the person on the end of the line will know what you're up to; doesn't matter -- the fact that you made the effort is the big deal!' Peters writes.
Just make sure you're sincere about it.
How many times a day do you ask someone this question?
That number might be a reflection of whether or not you're a good leader.
This phrase 'screams: You are an invaluable person. I respect you. I respect your knowledge. I respect your judgment. I need your help,' and 'This is a... team effort. We rise or fall together.'
There are countless stories of leaders who have made big changes overnight. Don't be intimidated by the scope of your endeavour: Peters argues that big changes are much easier to make than small changes.
Plus: 'Change will take precisely as long as you think it will,' he writes.
Set yourself lofty goals. If you give yourself a short deadline when faced with a big problem, you're likely to find that you've accomplished most or all of the challenge in when the buzzer rings.
Breaking down huge tasks into manageable goals is a powerful tool that can be used in everything you do.
From running a marathon (celebrating the halfway point, the three-quarter mark, and finally the finish) to finishing a project, being able to check off points as you complete them works on a psychological level to keep you going, keep you positive, and keep you focused.
The 'art of milestoning' makes any job easier and the process of getting there more rewarding.
Is the design of your product so awe-inspiring, so magnetic, so gorgeous, that it makes people want to lick it?
It should be.
Peters argues that great design is an underrated yet crucial element of getting people to love your product.
And building a product that's 'lickable' can make people want it -- badly -- whether they need it or not.
Martin Luther King, Jr. 'changed the world -- and died at 39,' writes Peters.
The point? Don't strive for longevity. Don't try to build something that will keep going after you're gone.
Focus on doing everything in your power to make a huge impact -- right now.
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