September 16, 2021 live video discussion on LinkedIn.



Some notes from my scribbles. Paraphrased, hopefully accurate.


  • When radiologists had a photo of the patient, anomalies reduced 80%
  • It’s the little stuff. It adds up.
  • Don’t use big words like disruption. I’ll throw up.
  • MBWA – “4 letters that changed my life.” Management by wandering around, a phrase from former HP CEO John Young. MBWA defines intimacy.
  • General ___ said the key to success is that you must care. Tom’s version: Give-a-shit-ism.
  • We need people who care. Hard is soft. Soft is hard.
  • Management is the most extreme opportunity to change the world. You can change an enormous number of lives.


Employee engagement isn’t working. Why?


  • Hiring. If you want empathy, hire for it. 
  • The #1 asset is the entire cadre of frontline leaders. Frontline managers drive quality, profitability, etc. If you can’t find the right person, leave the slot open for 18 months if you have to.  [The implication is that BAD frontline managers do a lot of damage to quality, profitability, etc.]


  • Your entire strategy depends on something you can’t mandate. Emotion is something for individuals to give, not something for employers to demand.
  • W.H.O. said depression is the #1 disability globally. No demographic is protected from this.
  • Re stress: We cannot keep asking people to continue adapting to untenable circumstances.
  • Emotional agility skills
  • Susan David is from South Africa. The Zulu word for hello is Sawubona, meaning “I see you.”
  • We’re in a tyranny of positivity, where people are expected to feel falsely positive.
  • Important to make a distinction between STRESS and DISAPPOINTMENT.
  • Your emotions are data, signaling things that are important to you.
  • Emotional granularity:
    • Activates readiness potential, what you need to do
    • Tells you what’s important to you.
  • What can’t be automated Skills of adaptability and complexity: empathy, compassion, etc.
  • What closes the gap between intention and reality are emotional skills.
  • People with hearts and souls are still being called resources.
  • The unfortunate feminization of emotion. (Historically, men went to university and learned logic, thus logic = masculine; emotion = feminine.)
  • It’s difficult to be compassionate with other people if you can’t be compassionate with yourself.


  • Process of working together and expected behavior (e.g. teamwork, respect)
  • Business plan review every week
  • Every once in a while someone in the meeting would attack another.
  • After the meeting Alan would go to their office. They might say, they can’t help it.
  • He’d say “It’s OK…. Would you like to move forward (with coaching)…. Or leave?”
  • 80% chose to move forward.

The title of the session was “Has the Concept of the Corporation Died?”  The actual discussion had nothing to do with this title, but it was interesting nonetheless.  The common theme was, to borrow Tom Peters’ phrase “putting people first” — a title more representative of the content would have been “Building a People-First Corporate Culture.”

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