Bring Humanity to the Forefront: Advice for Leadership Success with Tom Peters

Today’s podcast is a little different. I’m sharing the audio from a Daily Dose of OPTIMISM! that I recorded with Tom Peters on LinkedIn Live. Every week, I’m sharing a “Daily Dose,” and I will continue to record live interviews with exceptional leaders on my LinkedIn. So be sure to follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn for resources to help guide you as we face this pandemic together!

Is it time to stop considering people skills a soft skill? In today’s conversation with Tom Petersan incredible businessman, thought leader, and co-author of the influential In Search of Excellencewe chat about the impact that good hiring can have on your organization. In this unprecedented time for leadership, we discuss the idea that that those who will succeed are those who care about people and have built a team of employees who also care about people and work with integrity.

For decades, Tom has stressed the concept that people are important to success; that business people are “people serving people.” And if you’re looking to come out successfully on the other side of this pandemic, think about how you treat your employees. How will you be remembered as a leader? As an organization? 

Join Tom and me in the conversation as we discuss why the hiring process is so critical, and why leaders have to set the precedent at the top, that we’ve got to care for one another.

Watch the LinkedIn Live Conversation with Tom:

Have the Ability to Trust the Team You Hired

We discuss the fact that during this pandemic, leaders had to make the initial transition of working in the office, to flurrying to get people home and safe, to then helping them navigate working from home. As a leader, you have to have faith that you hired people who are capable of working in a way that helps them stay sane and healthy during these times, while also getting the work done. It’s having the ability to trust that your employees have the integrity to do the right work.

Tom believes that hiring based on emotional intelligence is an attribute that needs to be taken more seriously. As I like to say, you have to hire for the light behind the eyes. You have to find out what kind of person you’re hiring; it’s crucial to your success. As Tom says, “If you do the people stuff right, guess what? You make a lot of money.”

If you do the people stuff right, guess what? You make a lot of money. -- @tom_peters #leadership #customerexperience #CX Click To Tweet

Lead by Example

Tom mentions that as a leader, “the skill you need in a crisis is to have developed an incredible group of human beings who have autonomy and who care.” To achieve this, there’s also work to be done by leadership that fosters this behavior; the tone for care has to be set at the top of the organization.

Tom shares an anecdote regarding the CEO of Campbell’s Soup who sent over 30,000 handwritten notes to employees during his 10-year tenure. These notes had an incredible impact on some of the employees. This is similar to the story I like to share from my book, Would You Do That To Your Mother? about Indra Nooyi, the former CEO of PepsiCo who would write letters to the parents of her senior executives, thanking them for the gift of their children to the company. 

Develop practices that enable the frontline to do their job without you being in the way. This helps set your organization up for success. Tom shares the concept of MBWA, “Managing By Wandering Around.” He says that leaders need to be able to hang out with and enjoy the company of the frontline people. “It’s fun,” he says. “If it’s not fun to be in the distribution center at 1 a.m with your team, then reconsider what you’re doing.” Tom goes on to say that “you have to enjoy being around people. Humanity begets profits; the small stuff matters.” 

The tone for care has to be set at the top of the organization. -- @tom_peters #leadership #business #CX Click To Tweet

Don’t Overschedule

Towards the end of our conversation, Tom and I chat about the problem leaders have with being overscheduled. To be an effective leader, try to have 50% of unscheduled time so you can think and also be available for those you need you. 

What Do you Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?

Tom says:

“You can’t be careless with relationships, it’s all you’ve got.”

About Tom Peters

Tom Peters Tom 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. Eighteen books and thirty-five years later, Tom is still at the forefront of the “management guru industry” he single-handedly invented.

Effectively, all of Tom’s written and speech material covering the last 15+ years is available—free to download—at and


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