You Can’t Shrink Your Way to Greatness! Need some Innovation for 2011? Try this!

Marble Sculptor at work in Pucisca

2011 THE Year of “Creative Newness”

This year, from November 27-2010 to November 27, 2011, I have embarked on a challenge with a few close friends. A let’s-see-how-many-books/pages-you-can-read-this-year- challenge. The inspiration has come from President George Bush’s book Decision Points. He and a friend of his embarked on this same challenge and the result was in his own words: “The total [respective] tally [between Karl and me] was 110 to 95 in
books, 40,347 to 37,343 in pages, and 2,275,297 to 2,032,083 in total square inches.”

So in the spirit of innovation and creative learning (via books and practical experiences vs “school” learning) I am currently reading two books. Decision Points and You Can’t Shrink Your Way to Greatness: The Circle of Innovation by Tom Peters.

Can I just say- I am only on page 15, and I think I like Tom Peters style.. ALOT!


The Circle of Innovation is the overarching idea which animates this book. Here’s a quick preview of the 15 stops along the way…

1. DISTANCE IS DEAD. We’re all next-door neighbors. Incrementalism is innovation’s worst enemy. Mid-to long-term: Business is augmenting the top line … not cost minimization.

2. DESTRUCTION IS COOL! CDO… Chief Destruction Officer. Easier to KILL an organization-and repot it-than change it substantially. Learn to swallow it: DESTRUCTION IS JOB NO. 1 (before the competition does it to you)

3. YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT AN ERASER. Forgetting-not learning-is the highest art. Think: ORGANIZED forgetting. STRATEGIC forgetfullness. How? Cherish WASTE… SILLINESS… FAILURE. I.e. Ready. FIRE! Aim.

4. WE ARE ALL MICHELANGELOS. Convert every “jobholder” into a BUSINESS PERSON. Convert every job into a BUSINESS. “Business” is a very different-and more encompassing-word than “empowerment.” Keys: trust/respect/Michelangelos of Housekeeping/Michelangelos of Telemarketing. Boss as … RELENTLESS ARCHITECT OF THE POSSIBILITIES OF HUMAN BEINGS.


6. ALL VALUE COMES FROM THE PROFESSIONAL SERVICES. Make staff units The Vital Centers of Intellectual Capital Accumulation … rather than the prime source of bureaucratic drag. Tool: Turn Purchasing (HR, IS, Finance) into PURCHASING, INC. … a full-fledged professional service firm … devoted to TRANSFORMATIONAL projects/awesome CLIENT service/WOW!

7. THE INTERMEDIARY IS DOOMED. (Big) organizations without employees. EVERY task your organization performs is performed BETTER (higher quality, faster, more imaginatively) by some hyper-fast specialist (somewhere) who lives/eats/sleeps/breathes the narrow task. FLAT is too modest a term. (By far.) We are gutting the “center” of vertical enterprises. THE INTERMEDIARY IS DYING/DEAD! Hail the disintermediated/network “organization” … transparent to its customers (and all members of the value-creation chain).

8. THE SYSTEM IS THE SOLUTION. (1) Systems are the glue … in ephemeral/network “orgs.” (2) Systems-great systems-are not about “nuts and bolts.” they are/can be … BEAUTIFUL. Systems Engineering Dept.? NO! Dept. of Beauty?? YES!! It’s W-A-Y beyond reengineering.

9. CREATE WAVES OF LUST. (Almost) everything works. Quality per se is not the advantage it once (recently) was. So: Just shout “NO!” to … commoditization (of anything)/me-too/look-alikes. Embrace: WOW!!!/lusted-after products and services! Ultimate sin: WHEN WE DO IT “RIGHT”, IT’S STILL PRETTY ORDINARY.

10. TOMMY HILFIGER KNOWS. In a (very) crowded marketplace … branding if (far) more important than ever before. It is … THE AGE OF THE BRAND! (1) Anything can be branded (e.g. chicken, milk). (2) Branding is as much for the very wee outfit as for Levi’s or Nike or Starbucks or Intel (Inside).

11. BECOME A CONNOISSEUR OF TALENT. RECRUIT DIVERSITY! HIRE CRAZIES! Make REVOLUTIONARY RENEWAL everyone’s (LITERAL) Job No.1. We are … ALL … RDAs … Rapidly Depreciating Assets. Therefore: (Continuing) Vitality = (Continuing) Commitment to (Bold/Formal) Renewal Programs … by … EVERYONE.

12. IT’S A WOMAN’S WORLD. Women purchase/are purchasing agents for well over half the U.S. GDP (commercial and consumer goods). Almost no BigCo. “gets it” -financial services, healthcare, autos, business services, etc., etc. I.e., “gets” catering-to-women-as-premier-purchasers. WHY?? It takes TOTAL TRANSFORMATION-not a “woman’s initiative”-to take advantage of this bizarrely neglected COMMERCIAL OPPORTUNITY NO.1.

13. LITTLE THINGS ARE THE ONLY THINGS. As markets get more and more (and more) crowded … DESIGN is often the best “tool”-in services and manufacturing- for sustainable differentiation. Sad fact: Most companies do anything but OBSESS (e.g., Braun-like, Sony-like) on design. Personal design sensitization is Step No. 1: Home in on (OPEN YOUR EYES TO) the pervasive role that design plays in everything-signage, forms, typeface, color (a big deal), etc., etc.

14. LOVE ALL, SERVE All. Even today (WHY??WHY??WHY???) a ridiculously small number of sizable firms seek a sustainable edge through incredible service-Disney- or Caterpillar-style. To get from (tawdry) here to (olympian) there takes a wholesale commitment to nothing less than reconceiving the way business is done in  your market/niche.

15. WE’RE HERE TO LIVE LIFE OUT LOUD. Transformational leaders will eschew “hands off.” They will be bizarrely focused … tell the truth … and live life on the LUNATIC FRINGE. I.e., revolutionary times call for revolutionary zeal/leaders.

You Can’t Shrink Your Way to Greatness: Circle of Innovation by Tom Peters published 1997 pages xvi-xviii)

My Friends,

I have never typed i.e. or e.g. so many times in such a short spanned document! Tom Peters truly is as creative in his story telling as he is in his writing! I am encouraged to read this work, both on the premise that this is where the market is going-and-that it was written 13 years ago! We still have not “tapped” into all of the creative bullet-points that he has so articulately (and creatively) expressed.

The Lord God is a CREATOR and the devil is a counterfeiter. If you have the opportunity to sit down and drill deeper into these 15 bullet-points in order to “create” a new and improved creative and innovative “YOU” than DO IT! The word that I received last month from the Lord in regards to 2011 is that 2011 year is that it is the year of “Creative Newness”. It is time my friends, to delve into the Creative Spirit of God and create something NEW! “New for me” is not enough-this next year-NEW for EVERYONE is our battle cry!

My Prayer Today-

Lord God let your children feel the presence of You in all their ideas today and this coming year. Give them ideas and show them where we as an economy are going. Give them key insight into the future and what needs to happen next for them and this WORLD. We desire to hasten the return of your Son Jesus, and we believe that it is through creative expressions of You and Your Love, that this will occur. The end time transfer has begun, and we are creative enough and willing enough IN YOU to advance in faith-during this Creative and New Year! In Your Son Jesus’ name AMEN!

God Bless you today as you do everything excellent and new!

Love Always,


Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:23 NLT

Jessica Heilman is an author, wife, mother of 5 who periodically posts excerpts from books that she is currently reading. She blogs daily on life, family, and her walk with Christ in a modern and Biblically-applicable way. She believes that the Bible is timeless, and that it is THE foundational reading for the 21rst Century in regards to wholehearted living. Her mission daily: to do everything she possibly can to hasten the return of Christ.

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