The Most Relevant Leadership Lessons For Today With Tom Peters

As the pandemic continues to separate us from one another, today’s leadership lessons are focused on human connection more than ever. If we can have a better grasp of where everyone is coming from, honing those new batches of leaders equipped with the most relevant skills is possible. Dr. Diane Hamilton returns with author Tom Peters to talk about the importance of empathy and leadership perception in every work setting more than the professional skillset, which leads to a much healthier working culture and community. He also talks about how communication adjusts in the virtual setting, how it will cope with the challenges of the future, and the difference between men and women in conversing and level of interaction.

TTL 820 | Leadership Lessons


I’m so glad you joined us because we have Tom Peters here. We all know his work from In Search of Excellence and all of his other books but he’s got a new one and I’m so excited. It’s titled Excellence Now: Extreme Humanism. I’m so excited to talk to Tom and we’re going to do that.

Watch the episode here

Listen to the podcast here

The Most Relevant Leadership Lessons For Today With Tom Peters

I am here with Tom Peters, who is the co-author of In Search of Excellence. Everybody knows his book. It’s amazing but he’s got a new one and I’m excited titled Excellence Now: Extreme Humanism. It is so nice to have you here, Tom.

It is an absolute delight to be here with you. Even we had some slight confusion because the great state of Arizona chooses not to join the rest of us and be on daylight savings.

What is that? I love it though. I never have to change my clock but you guys need to switch it when you come back to Arizona.

Absolutely because I’m a morning person and I love it when there’s light early in the morning. Most people want to hang around for cocktails and have it be late at night or something like that.

I’m so glad we made this work because we had so much fun when you were on the show last time. I loved that we bonded over Monty Python and everything else and John Cleese.

You’re a pretty powerful person. Don’t you think you could get John Cleese and we could do a three-way with him sometime?

I would love to do that but since you’ve met him and turned him down or you didn’t ask him the question, I can’t remember which it was.

I lost my nerve because I could not imagine being in a studio with John Cleese. I figured that I’d go out of my way to fly to England. I sit in front of the camera and I can’t talk.

I would do it if you both agreed to do the silly walks at the same time. I would love that.

[bctt tweet=”Your customers will never be any happier than your employees.” username=””]

I would train for a month for the silly walk.

Would that be the best? I would love it. It’s so nice to have you here and I’d loved our conversation last time we got into so much about curiosity, which of course I love. That’s my background and we got into so many things that you were working on and I’ve talked about. I follow you on Twitter. You’re quite active. I’ll tell you that you have interesting and exciting conversations there.

The thing about Diane is I enjoy it in general but some of the people you get connected with, there was some reason that something was going on and I don’t know whether I should mention Enron or not. Enron, if you recall, had a whistleblower and her name is Sharon Watkins. Sharon sent me a tweet and I responded to her with a direct message. We proceeded to have a several-day conversation. To me, meeting Sharon Watkins was like meeting royalty. There have been dozens of those things over the years where it’s somebody you can’t believe you are talking with. The whole thing is funny.

I had Bethany McLean on my show and she was the one who wrote the book about Enron. I loved that conversation as well, so I know what you’re talking about.

I wanted her name, but they didn’t have room. I did a piece for the Financial Times and it was about McKinsey’s misbehavior. I worked with the Enron villain.

Which one?

Jeff Skilling for a little while. I then got off in the piece on MBAs so on and we were talking about the limitations of IQ and I said, “Bethany’s book was titled, The Smartest Guys in the Room,” which is a clear indication of the limitations of scoring high on a numeric IQ test and scoring incredibly low on a human decency test.

You have to talk to her about that.

It’s cool. The book was great. There was another like one that a guy used to be in the archives, business columnist Joe Nocera and he wrote one on the 2006 crash and it was called All the Devils Are Here. It was basically that there were a million levels of responsibility that went from somebody who was giving mortgages to people who didn’t have jobs all the way up to the people who were giving the bond ratings to the unit to the derivatives and that was great too.

TTL 820 | Leadership Lessons
Excellence Now: Extreme Humanism

You write about some neat, different things, and you research them too. That’s why I was interested to see what you were going to write about in this book. I loved one of your tweets. I was going to go back and look at it but since we had to move this up a little bit it was something like, “It’s the same old stuff.” You had a funny thing that you wrote about but it isn’t the same old stuff. You have new content and new additional insights for leadership in this book. I want to know what made you write this book and who is it aimed at?

I passed my 200th birthday. If you saw a picture of Washington Crossing Delaware in his boat one of the oarsmen was me, which is a long-winded way of saying, I call the book a memoir. As a friend of mine says, A Memoir of Ideas. I do say in the book that the research for In Search of Excellence started more than 40 years ago and I’ve been saying the same damn thing for more than 40 years. My smart elected remark was, “I love it if you will give me royalties off of the new book but I guarantee you that each of the nineteen books says precisely the same thing,” and they do. They fundamentally say, “Behave decently.”

When the COVID crisis came along, my wife who is among other things, a tapestry artist was stitching and knitting masks. I felt like she was doing something useful and I was sitting on my buns in my office. Shelley and I chatted, Shelley is my colleague for more than 25 years and I said, “Why don’t we be audacious and maybe a little egocentric, and go around the podcasters and say, ‘Tom would love to talk to you about leadership in COVID times.’” A lot of people responded. I had a ball. I’m going to read it to you because it’ll only take two seconds from an early page of the book. We call it the Leadership Seven COVID-19. The leadership seven is, be kind, be caring, be patient, be forgiving, be positive, be present, and walk in the other person’s shoes.

I was saying to somebody, “Make me a manager now,” in some organization and we have a Zoom meeting every two days and you always show up on time, which is lovely and I said, “Diane, you’re going to get a low score from me because life is a god awful mess. We have our parents, community, and children. We are not all supposed to be at every meeting on time because stuff happens. I am absolutely delighted if twice a month you miss the meeting. You come late to the meeting, but that’s the way life is now.” It was metaphorical in a way, but it was also deadly serious and relative to at least one part of our conversation. I am always at the end of these things like that COVID-19 list.

I always hold my hands up to my mouth and I always say, “Guess what? It works in the market.” If you have people you have been kind to, the odds are that they are going to behave in a thoughtful way during the workday. John DiJulius wrote a book. He’s a sales guru and owns a bunch of salons so on. The one-liner of his that’s in my book that I love is he said, “Your customers will never be any happier than your employees.” It’s a “one-liner” but it is 99.5% accurate.

You brought up some interesting points because I had taken a job not that long ago where it was off the bat, they go, “Everybody works 70 hours a week but things have gotten worse, so we’re going to have to buckle down.” I was like, “This isn’t the job for me.” In the exit interview, they’re like, “Why would you leave?” How do you get through to people that this is what we’re doing? Zoom meeting after Zoom meeting, they’re overdoing it so much now.

If you continue with my example, you’re the boss and you’re late to some meetings? My 87-year-old mother is having some problems living by herself and we’re not going to be able to start this meeting at 10 AM. I don’t know if we’re going to be able to have it. You and I were talking a little bit before we started. The essence of it, essence is a pretty big word was when all this stuff started, I remember seeing and I don’t remember if it was on Twitter or where it was, which doesn’t matter anyway.

You’re a significant television personality newscaster and you’re now doing your thing from your home. There is Case A and Case B and of course, you are Case B. Case A is me and I’m talking to the planet about all sorts of important things and my four-year-old didn’t care about the clothes. He closed the door, wanders into the setting, and in a visible way, I go like that. You are now the newscaster and your three-year-old pays no attention to the door and walks into the room.

While you’re on the air, you get a big smile on your face and you pick him up and you say, “Jason, I want you to meet a whole bunch of new people,” or what have you or you’re giving him a hug. You could argue that some people would do that in a manipulative fashion but you have raised your credibility with your audience of 1.25 million people by if not an order of magnitude at least four points on a ten scale. It works in the “real world” of non-Zoom but even more because everybody is under pressure. There’s nobody who’s not. We might not all have 87-year-old mothers but stuff is going wrong amidst us. Statistically speaking, if you’ve got a circle of friends in your community of 25 or 30 people, one of them probably had a COVID problem. Humanization always works.

[bctt tweet=”If you have people you have been kind to, they will most likely behave in a very thoughtful way during the workday.” username=””]

I got to tell you my favorite either 2 words or 4 words. David Brooks, The New York Times Columnist, wrote a column a couple of years ago. It came out of a book of his and he contrasted what he called Résumé Virtues versus Eulogy Virtues. Résumé Virtues are, “I went to Duke University and I had a 4.2 grade point average. I went to work for Deloitte & Touche. I was promoted six times in the first nine years.” They’re stuff you’ve “accomplished” that you put on a résumé.

In the Eulogy Virtues to state the obvious “Dearly Beloved,” which will not happen for a million years, “Diane passes away.” What do people say at her funeral? They do not say, “Diane was promoted six times during her 23 years of Deloitte & Touche.” I have a slide I use in my presentation, a little PowerPoint slide that has a tomb and on the tomb, it has $11,713,611.19 and under it, it says Net Worth when the market closed on the day that Tom died, which is true. My ex-wife bothered the tombstones in Missoula, so you’re talking to someone who knows tombstones, I said, “I’ve looked at a lot of tombstones, and I’ve never seen one with a net worth on it.”

Résumé Virtues versus Eulogy Virtues and, which is the hard point, for some reason, statistically speaking, unless you were born with a sterling silver spoon, you will spend more time at work than you will even with your family. Your signature in life as a human being is to a significant degree is your working life. The other thing I said during the COVID thing, which I also believe and maybe we’re edging a little bit out of it is I said, “The way you have behaved in the last 90 days and the way you will behave in the next 90 days will be the signature of your adult life.”

We pray this is true. This is a once every 100-year event, we hope, which means you don’t get a second crack at it. The way you behave while the war hits, Rosie the Riveter. She was a socialite. She was not somebody off the streets. The way Rosie behaved and the symbol she became during World War II, that’s who she was. She had a lovely and productive life. Diane has a lovely and productive life so does Tom but the definition is how you behaved when all the yogurt hit the fan.

We’re finding that out now, for sure and it’s an interesting time to see how people are leading and pivoting. I’m looking at that list that you mentioned and I’m wondering, the last one is a lot about empathy, walking in another person’s shoes. I’m curious where curiosity falls since we talked so much about that last time.

Among other things, you may disagree but you have to let me finish my sentence, curiosity follows from the other stuff. If you and I, I’m your boss and if invariably in the olden days, when I walk into the office, you’re there because you have this problem, so you’re always early. Four mornings out of five, you and I have a ten-minute conversation. We may talk a little bit about your spouse, your mother, your community, or what have you but we’re going to get into stuff. To me, there were several things which we talked about. Part of the essence of curiosity is casual chit-chat among people.

There was this big architecture firm that I had in a PBS show and they did this thing that sounds funny, but not and they had it on the floor, I saw the men’s room and the women’s room were next to each other. They put some chairs outside. You come out of the toilet and you sit down for a second. I have a rant, but they were trying to increase the volume of random conversations because that’s where most of the funny little twists, turns, and strands are going to occur.

I don’t want to go this far at all but I remember there was a guy by the name of Dave Bang who wrote a column in Fortune Forever and I don’t remember whether we were going past a prohibition period where people were worried about alcohol more than normal. He said, “There won’t be any more entrepreneurs once we stop the two martini lunches. It’s at the end of the second martini when you believe you can conquer the world and wild stuff started coming out of your mouth.” I’m not promoting Jack Daniels in this conversation.

TTL 820 | Leadership Lessons
Leadership Lessons: In some job degree requirements, you wouldn’t even understand the words in the title of the degree that the person got.


Another has to be empathy. Curiosity to me is people who are interested in everything because as we said, to me, curiosity is horizontal, not vertical. Horizontal, and I was tweeting about this, is one of the reasons that I have been in a tech firm and have 23 code writers working for me. I want one theater major, I want one music major, I want one philosophy major and I want somebody who is as bright as Dickens but for family reasons never did make it through formal schooling.

There was an exchange on Twitter where somebody said that they said, “There was this guy who I was walking with and he worked for the CIA in a sophisticated operation.” He said, “When we put teams together, we always looked for somebody who had a musical background,” because she/he would come at the problem differently. That to me, you’re the probe. That, to me, is the essence of curiosity, somebody who is thinking about Bach, while you’re thinking about third derivative calculus equations.

You’re talking a lot about Range. I love the book Range because you can get so much from so many different areas. A lot of this is what I talked about with other people on the show because all of these things you mentioned are important to being a caring and successful leader. The ones who are successful have shown a lot of these qualities that you’re talking about. A lot of people are unnerved by having to go back to what’s going to be next. In the Wall Street Journal, “We’re going to work at home.” Are we going to be doing both? What do you foresee for leadership? Is it going to be as challenging? Is it a different setting than we’ve had for 2020? What’s next?

It’s going to be both in part because the pandemic coincided among other things with the exponential growth of artificial intelligence and tools to allow us to be together when we’re not together, get better and better and better with every passing day. Both are a no-brainer. There are a lot of things I could say, but the one I would say, and I knew better because I’m well trained in psychology, particularly well trained for an engineer.

When I started doing podcasts, for example, I’m one of those people who doesn’t have to be two inches apart but I got to see you and have my face de facto touching your face and I thought, “I can’t do that in a podcast.” I was wrong because take this conversation for example. This conversation, in the best sense of the word, is as emotional and conversational and laden with meaning as it would be maybe more than if I was sitting at the end of the table and you were four chairs down.

It’s a fascinating thing. My brother-in-law is a teacher and we were talking about this. He said, which I loved for a lot of reasons, “I can teach kids in a room and I can teach kids by Zoom but I can’t do a mix of kids in the room and Zoom. In order to be a teacher, I’ve got to make serious eye contact with you. I can’t have the eye contact you and I are having now and at the same time be looking down at fourteen people sitting in their chairs.” I thought it was brilliant either insight, observation, or what have you.

The other thing I said related to all this and your question, which also has to do with curiosity is and this may change in a few years, there are no experts. You have to experiment. You’ve got to figure it out for yourself. As with any new product, you’re going to make 173 mistakes before you get a ritual that works. I know there will be 257.6 books about work from home within a few years, but now they aren’t and play with it. It’s relative to what you’re saying before. Acknowledge to your teammates that you’re playing with it. Say to them, “This Zoom thing is new to me. I have no idea in the world what we’re doing? I have no other idea whether this is going to be a bust or genius and we’ll all try.” There’s this horrible thing that makes me sick in my stomach.

Using software that records the airtime of each of the people in your meeting, and having a screen where you look at it. That is Theory X on steroids. Any good leader worth her or his salt is working to induce the quiet person in the corner with a frown to give us your meaning. One thing that’s not trivial to you nor is it to me, and I saw this, and this popped up on Twitter as well. It was a research that said in settings like Zoom, who talks the most? Men or women? The consistent “theory” was women, those chatty people, the reality was by a big margin it was the, “I’ve got to show my face and make my mark egocentric boy.” I thought it was the greatest thing in the world.

[bctt tweet=”Unless you were born with a Sterling silver spoon, you would spend more time at work than with your family. ” username=””]

Did you happen to see that research at Oxford about the curiosity of how men are 2.5 times more likely to ask questions? I know you do a lot of things with comments about women should run the world and all this stuff. You are pro-women and I thought you’d probably find this curiosity data interesting. Women don’t want to raise their hand until there are six questions asked where men will ask a lot more questions. They’re late to getting to the question asking part after watching a seminar or something that. Do you think this because we’re later to the party, in leadership then and in business in general or do you think that’s an innate thing? I’m curious what you think about how women don’t talk as much on Zoom.

I’ve got to tell you one tiny story that once again, came off Twitter, which is relevant to our conversation. I almost got ill because I was laughing so far. I’m a salesperson, male, you are a customer, female. I want to learn more about your needs, so I’m asking you questions. I’ve asked you four questions and you’ve replied, and in the middle of your reply, I’ve always interrupted you. I asked the fifth question and Diane sits there and just sits there. Finally, I say, “Aren’t you going to answer?” Diane says, “You always answer your own questions anyway. I thought I’d wait.” I hate to use language like this but I almost peed my pants because I was laughing so hard.

The answer is I’ve done an amazing amount of reading, but I do happen to be male and it has to do with all those things that you’ve experienced since you were part of organizations of women who are supposed to behave in a slightly different way. Maybe not so slightly different and I believe it’s a pretty solid combination, from my reading. There are a wonderful book and woman at the University of San Francisco, California, which is a wonderful medical school and she is a neuropsychiatrist and she wrote an incredible book called The Female Brain.

One little piece of it, which is only indirectly related but I love it so much by the age of five days, Diane, was making three times more eye contact with her fellow human beings than I was. It’s that community thing. One thing I have to say, and I am going all over the place, my apologies. There’s a wonderful book that we have to talk about, and it’s called Compassionomics and it’s about compassion in health care, pays off, and builds healthier people which is terrific. What was I going to say?

I made eye contact as a baby.

This is about eye contact but it was something I was going to say from the book. The eye contact thing is unbelievable. The two gentlemen who wrote it are MDs and they are hard-ass researchers. I love the title of the book Compassionomics because it means MBAs can ignore it. They came up with lots of studies with the magic number 37. If Dr. Diane is talking to a cancer patient, Tom, who’s in a bad way, and Dr. Diane makes 37 or more seconds of direct eye contact, I will have fewer complications. I will get out of the hospital 25% sooner and a jillion other variables. I have a neighbor and she teaches in a med school and tries to teach medical students communication skills. Right at the top of the list are things like eye contact.

I did a TV show. We did this wonderful high school principal and we were filming it. I remember I didn’t know this was coming. We go into the classroom. His name was Dennis Littky and he wants to talk to Diane. It was one of those old school chairs. You’re too young to remember them probably. Dennis goes into the classroom and he’s going to have a conversation with Diane. He gets down on his knees and I said, “What the hell was that all about?” He said, “If I’m going to have a serious conversation with Diane, we have to have our faces on the same level.” When I look down at Diane, the whole chemistry of the conversation becomes different. It’s true. Stuff like that, to me, is like bombs bursting in the air because it’s important.

The other thing Dennis did, which is great, is he was a high school principal with his kids. He had speakers once a week or once a month. Did he go for diversity? He was in a small New Hampshire town. He had a guy who was a canoe builder. He had people who did every damn thing that you could imagine. He wanted the kids to get a flavor of who the human being was and also the intellectual process that a canoe maker would talk about in the world of canoes. That seems to be a lot different from you know 6th, 7th, 8th-grade math.

TTL 820 | Leadership Lessons
Leadership Lessons: The most important part of perception is talking, working, and hanging out with people who can come into the world with a different perspective.


You have many interesting stories. I remember this from last time. I’m curious, is this book going to include a lot of these stories or are you going in a different direction? I haven’t had a chance to see it. By the way, I’m honored that I got you on the day of the launch. I haven’t had it yet. I am teaching a class at a technology school. I’m going to share this in the class when I do this team session. What can you teach them? They’re starting their own companies. They’re trying to come up with a technology-based system. What is the most important thing they could learn about leadership? They’re designing their structure and doing all those things in their mind. What can they learn from your book that I can share with them?

I hope the book is reflected in our conversation. We’ve never met in person. We’ve only had an hour together. We’re having an attractive human conversation. It feels like we’re second cousins, if not first cousins. People may have that instinct. I’m going to read you something that is from the book that is indirectly related. The good news is it has to do with technology. This is about Google. Google employees tend to be Stanford Computer Science graduates with IQs of a minimum of 600 who loves to code and haven’t looked up from their computer for years.

Project Oxygen, a data from founding 1998 to 2013, shocked everyone at Google by concluding that among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees STEM expertise comes in dead last. The seven top characteristics of success of Google’s most successful employees are all soft skills, being a good coach, communicating, listening well, possessing insights into others including others different points of view, having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues.

Project Aristotle further supports the importance of soft skills. Google takes pride in its A-teams established with top scientists, each with the most specialized knowledge and able to throw down one cutting edge idea after another. Its data analysis revealed, however, that the company’s most important and productive innovation came from B-teams comprised of employees that don’t always have to be the smartest in the room. Project Aristotle shows that the best teams at Google exhibit a range of soft skills, equality, generosity, curiosity toward the ideas of others, and so on. That’s Google. There is no tougher technology organization around than Google. The magic is these soft skills.

This does you no good but I hope I can say something that does. My bias is if I want that in my company, attribute number one of every employee you hire is empathy. There’s a quote in the book from a guy who is the CEO of a biotech company and he said, “The most important part of the company is our culture. To continue that culture, we only hire nice people.” He puts an asterisk, which is the important part. He said, “Some of the degree requirements for some of our jobs, you wouldn’t even understand the words that were in the title of the degree that person got.” He said, “I learned the secret. Even though it is the most sophisticated and bizarre technology or skill, there are a lot of people around who have that skill. Don’t hire the jerks.” It’s not that we want this in people who are at the front desk in a hotel, but he said, “It’s true among the scientists. Don’t hire the jerks.”

There’s another wonderful thing like that and it applies to the people you’re talking to. Every list that you read always has the Mayo Clinic at or near the top of effective health care centers. There are a couple of guys who wrote a book called Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic. The one I loved best is you are one of the great kidney specialists that there is and we need one of you. I’m interviewing you and we have a 45-minute conversation. There’s a dirty little secret that you don’t know of and I know whether I do it on my hand or whether I do it on my iPhone. During the conversation, I am counting the number of times you use the word, “We,” and talk about my people and I, my team and I, and the number of times that you use the word, “I.” If I speak the ways, Diane, the smartest and the best of the lot don’t get hired.

This patient-centric team medicine came out of the mouth of Dr. Mayo in 1914. There is a woman surgeon who works in the big Mayo Clinic. I’m not meaning it literally but she is a surgeon so she’s taught straight. She said, “I am 100 times more powerful here than I was in my last job because everything we do, we do together and learn from each other together, and so on.” I love the book. There’s this young kid, an MD, and he’s doing whatever he’s doing or she’s doing whatever she’s doing. She gets a call and the call comes from Surgeon Diane, who is in the OR.

Surgeon Diane, who’s a big deal, says, “Tom, I’m at a turning point here. I can go one of two ways. Let me explain it to you a little bit. I’m not sure what I’m going to do. What do you think?” The guy said, “I’m Tom, the new kid on the block, and this famous surgeon is asking my advice.” It wasn’t superficial. This wasn’t a quiz. He was testing an idea. Tom is a smart boy. He wanted to see what this person who wasn’t a normal part of his club said. Those are the things that your younger entrepreneurs ought to look for in every employee starting with employee number one. If they were a bigger company, I would then say, “Multiply that by 100 when you’re promoting somebody into a first-line managerial job.”

That’s such great advice. I have many questions because I wrote my dissertation on emotional intelligence. Of course, you wouldn’t write down that. I love to talk about this. Perception, of course, was my last book. Where does perception fit into all of this? When I was studying it, I saw it as IQ, EQ, CQ for curiosity quotient, and CQ for cultural quotient combined. It’s building that empathy and all the things that we need to do to see things from other people’s vantage points. We see that people are having a hard time. They’re split politically and all these different things. How can we work on our perception in leadership?

[bctt tweet=”Attribute number one of every employee you hire is empathy.  ” username=””]

I’m not an idiot. I’m not going to comment on the horrifying, terrifying divisions that seem to have erupted. A, I don’t have the answers. B, that would have to be a two-hour discussion over a good California Chardonnay. There’s a problem because I don’t drink. Not because it’s immoral, I don’t drink because I thought it was a good thing. Eventually, I decided, “Time’s up.” I have two answers. I have not studied it the way you have. Perception, EQ, and CQ go hand in hand. One thing I do have to say that would be valuable to a young entrepreneur, though it’s tough medicine, young Diane or old Diane, either way, your self-perception is wrong. There may be miracle people and you may be one of those miracle people.

Another story. Some researchers did a quantitative analysis of meetings. I’m the guy who’s the head of the meeting. We have a 45-minute meeting. You’re the researcher and this was your issue. At the end of the meeting, you said, “Tom, how many times were you interrupted and how many times did you interrupt people?” I wasn’t trying to BS you because I’m the boss. I’m the one who hired you for God’s sake. I said, “I was probably interrupted at least 7 or 8 times. I will admit that I interrupted a couple of times myself.” You got the numbers right but it was reversed. The real count said, “Tom interrupted seven times and been interrupted twice.” That’s self-perception. It wasn’t a lie. It would be lovely if he was trying to BS you. That’s what was loaded into his head. I had a horrible example of that. A person who I know well, who was a senior person in a big company, was headed for one level higher. Before they promoted him, they did all these heavy-weight 360s and so on. This is a maximum 1% exaggeration. He thought he was beloved and he was universally despised.

It’s a big difference.

Go to a shrink before you do personal harm at some level. You may have studied this. I studied it and have re-studied it. Anybody who has any job ought to study cognitive biases. I googled Wikipedia and Wikipedia has a cognitive bias piece. I laughed hard. I was almost hysterical. They listed 159 cognitive biases, which I thought was a little high. The point is that we don’t know the degree to which that’s part of the process. The best and the most important part of perception is talking, working, and hanging out with a whole lot of people who can come at the world with a different perspective or can help you a lot in understanding the way that you thought you were in a good place and you came across as a grouch.

I saw that Susan Cain reviewed your book and said such great things. You talked about coming from different places. She, of course, looks at it from an introverted standpoint. You’re looking at many different reviews from people who had such wonderful things to say about your new book. I was not surprised. Every time we talk, I have so much fun. I was looking forward to this.

My only last comment is about Susan Cain. I always make it clear. I said, “Susan Cain called me an idiot and I will love her forever as a result of that.” I crossed Delaware with Washington. He said with no ego, “I am incredibly well-educated in psych and social psych. That’s what my PhD from Stanford is in.” I thought, “I knew my crap.” Her discussion of introversion and introverts flipped my world upside down. This is 50% of the population who are dismissed, ignored, underplayed. Relative to your great love in life, they tend to be significantly more curious because they don’t always quick fire and have an answer within 2.25 seconds after they speak. I love the book. I’ve met her. She’s fantastic. One of the greatest dinners with my wife was at someplace, we were overseas, and it was Susan, me, and Dan Pink.

I had the pleasure of being able to tell her, face to face, “Susan, I know you think I’m an idiot but I’m trying.” It was de facto. I felt embarrassed, as I read the book, about how incredibly well-trained I was and how far I had agreed to which I had missed the boat and missed the ball on that dimension. Isn’t nothing more strategic than this introvert-extrovert. I loved all the stuff that came up. If you have a meeting and you tell people to spend twenty minutes brainstorming, the extroverts come up with 27 ideas, 26.5 of which are half-assed. The introverts come up with three ideas, all three of which are good. A slight exaggeration but they’re accurate.

Ken Fisher agreed with you when I interviewed him. It changed his life. It’s a great book. I’m excited to read it. I am excited that it came out. I was happy to have a chance to interview you. We had so much fun the last time. I’m looking forward to the Silly Walks interview. Can you get John ready for that?


TTL 820 | Leadership Lessons
Leadership Lessons: Extroverts may come up with 27 ideas, 26 and a half of which are half-assed. When introverts come up with three ideas, all three of them are good.


Thank you so much and congratulations and good luck. I’m looking forward to the success of your book.

Thank you for all of those kind words.

You’re welcome.

I like to thank Tom for being my guest. He was on the show one other time. He’s fun and interesting to talk to. If you missed that episode, you can catch it at I love that about this because I go back and I think, “I know I learned that from Tom in this interview or that interview.” Take some time to explore the site because there’s so much on there. We’re getting close to 1,200 people on the show. It’s a real wealth of knowledge. Tom’s information was great.

In the last show, we talked about curiosity in much more detail. Between this show and that one, you can learn so much about leadership. I always learn so much from him and I enjoyed having him on the show. Also, on the site, you can find out more about The Curiosity Code book and The Curiosity Code Assessment. You can also take The Curiosity Code Index there and become certified to do that as well if you’re a consultant or HR professional and you want to become certified. The same is true for The Perception Power Index. You can find out more about the book The Power of Perception that I co-authored with Dr. Maja Zelihic. All that is on the site as well. You can take all kinds of assessments.

If you don’t see anything, at the top, there’s a drop-down menu. You can also look at the bottom of the site for more assessments. We have the DISC and emotional intelligence and other assessments you can take in addition to The Power of Perception and The Curiosity Code Index assessments there. I hope you take some time to explore and I hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.

Important links:

About Tom Peters

TTL 820 | Leadership LessonsTom Peters is co-author of In Search of Excellence—the book that changed the way the world does business, and often tagged as the best business book ever. He has a new book that is sure to be another on his long list of bestsellers, titled Excellence Now: Extreme Humanism.



Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!

Join the Take The Lead community today:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *