How to thrive in turbulent times

Oct 1, 04

This Month

Tom Peters in his recent book Re Imagine! writes: “…the epitaph I most hope to avoid is ‘He would have done some really cool stuff but his boss wouldn’t let him.'” Instead he wants it to read “He was a player”.

This issue has been inspired by the same book.

Lets get on to the playing field and play… play to best of our abilities!

Read on and hopefully get inspired as well.

Thank you,

Jigyasa (

How to Thrive in Turbulent Times

“You must be the change you wish to see in your life.”
Mahatma Gandhi

“If you don’t like change, you’ll like irrelevance even less.”
General Shinseki

“Distinct or Extinct. Life in the ‘brand you’ world is not Optional.”
Tom Peters

Welcome to the turbulent times! At one end of the spectrum white collar jobs are shrinking or getting outsourced, mergers and acquisitions are the order of the day and companies are disappearing into the blue faster than light; while on other end, technology is enabling us to do our jobs in ways we never once dreamt of. Ray Kurzweil, inventor and futurist predicts that there will be one thousand times more technological changes in the 21st century than there were in the 20th century!

So what does all this bode for people in organizations? For us?

Success today demands that we are passionate, innovative, determined to make a difference, agile, life long learners and inspired!

How does one achieve that? Here are some ideas:
Every day, every moment, seek out and do work that you passionately believe in, believe that it makes a difference to your organization, your department.

Steve Jobs believes that Apple is on a mission to change the world and he likewise convinced John Sculley at Pepsi to join him in this mission.

We don’t have to look at the famous or the rich. All of us have experienced great service in the hands of a hairdresser, baby sitter, cab driver or an attendant in a hospital or hotel. Many have amazed us with their attitude towards work, their belief in how they are adding value even though none of them would verbalize the passion in as many words.

Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced as Me-high Chick-sent-me-high) who has been studying creative people and their constant state of “happiness” has this to say; “We have all experienced times when, instead of being buffeted by anonymous forces, we do feel in control of our actions, masters of our own fate. On the rare occasions that it happens, we feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment that is long cherished and that becomes a landmark in memory for what life should be like. This is what we mean by optimal experience.”

Seek out those experiences!
Determine what is unique about you, about your work.

Anita Roddick started The Body Shop as a means to a livelihood, yet her central belief even then was her concern for the environment and a fervent desire to do something about it through her business. Back in 1976 it was certainly radical and unique. Even now, she continues to question herself, “How can I bring values into an industry that is certainly not values-laden? The only way I can do it, is to perhaps bring back an idea for a trading initiative with an economically impoverished community in Mexico or Africa, or find inspiration for a new company commitment.”
Figure out how you can make a difference

In 1999, Time hailed Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, as the “Hero for the Planet” because of his leadership in environmental work and his efforts to affect social change. When Chouinard started out, his only desire was to make better tools to climb mountains. When he realized the damage hard steel pitons were doing to the mountains, he switched to making aluminium chocks that could be wedged in and out of cracks in the rocks by hand. Although unknown to the American consumers, they started educating their customers on its benefits. Today, Patagonia pledges 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment. Among its many initiatives to protect the environment, it has switched to using organic cotton because cotton conventionally produced is one of agriculture’s most environmentally destructive activities.

If you find these ideas a tad difficult to follow, you could simply follow the advice given by Phil Knight (founder of Nike) to Scott Bedbury, the man behind the marketing success of Starbucks and Nike, “Just do great things”.

Or if you need a mantra, use one recommended by Tom Peters in his marvelous book, Re-Imagine! It sums the attitude we need to do “wow” work.

We will… survive.
We will… thrive.
We will… do WOW work.
We will… seek out pioneering clients.
We will… fully automate the grunge that Dilbert so perceptively maligns.
We will… focus on the things that make us special and distinct
We will… push to the hilt the things at which we are BIP (Best in Planet).
We will… start NOW!
This… minute.

Recommended Reading


Good Business, Leadership, Flow and the Making of Meaning, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Re-Imagine, by Tom Peters
Brand You 50, by Tom Peters
The professional service firm 50, by Tom Peters
The New Pioneers : The men and women who are transforming the workplace and marketplace, by Thomas Petzinger, Jr


Tom Peters Manifesto (pdf):
Tom Peters article in Fast Company Magazine on Wow projects:


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