Tom Peters on Lessons from the writing of the US Constitution

Tom Peters published a note (62 pages) today – and in it he, amongst other things, highlights the lessons learned from the process of writing the US constitution.

Lessons from the summer of 1787:

  • Show up!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Keep showing up!!

  • Control the process through indirect actions, like doing first drafts, writing minutes.

  • Remember the social graces—your emotional “presentation of self” is more important than even “all important”!!!

  • Hang in! Tenacity-relentlessness rules! (Wear the bastards down. No kidding, this is a matchless “success tool.”)

  • There’s no such thing as a “dull meeting.” (No kidding!) Every get together is an opportunity to press your agenda, directly or indirectly.

  • Bite your tongue and listen, listen, listen—even to bores. Nothing wins support like effective listening; it’s the greatest gift you can give anyone!!

  • Sub-committees rule! It’s the little chances to become Master of Something and  perform-influence in a small group setting that lead to the accumulation of power and the ability to control the flow in an area important to you.

  • Continually “illustrate” your ability to perform well at almost any task, build   a towering reputation for reliability.

  • Cool off! No passion, no success! Too much abrasiveness in pursuit of a cause that inflames you kills opportunity to succeed like nothing else. (Folks love to put an abrasive person in his place, even if they agree with him.)

  • Take a punch and keep on trucking. Losses are common—live with ’em, take ’em  with good grace, and then persevere through out-persevering the other guy/s.

  • Grow up, accept life. Life, effectiveness is indeed about horse trading as often as not—and at times consorting with one’s enemies. (“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Keep you passion, stay above the waterline on issues of deep principal—but accept, and embrace, the messy-as-hell “real world”!

  • Remember the black flies! “Little” distractions can change the whole game.

  • Be ready with “Plan B.” Repeat: Nothing in the real world follows the script.

  • Nobody, even George Washington, gets more than about 60% of what they want!

  • Keep your word. A reputation for integrity is priceless.

  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew, even when “can’t miss” opportunities to further your cause arise—overloading and thence compromising effectiveness is a big black eye.

  • Do something! “Small wins,” accumulated regularly, build momentum!

  • Work assiduously on your public presentation skills!