Catalyst Health, Wellness and Performance Coaching

The Red Bull of Excellence (Tom Peters) discusses health and wellness - #080

April 01, 2020 Tom Peters Season 3 Episode 12
Catalyst Health, Wellness and Performance Coaching
The Red Bull of Excellence (Tom Peters) discusses health and wellness - #080
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Catalyst Health, Wellness and Performance Coaching
The Red Bull of Excellence (Tom Peters) discusses health and wellness - #080
Apr 01, 2020 Season 3 Episode 12
Tom Peters

For almost 40 years, Tom Peters has been identified as one of the world's most influential thinkers. In 1982, he co-authored what became the book that essentially established the management/leadership book genre and he never slowed down. Fortunately for all of us, Tom cares deeply about the value of health & wellness and provided our biggest ! (you'll understand when you listen or if you know about Tom's affinity for !!!) of the month when he agreed to join us for this episode. 

Warning: Dr. Cooper has been an almost lifelong fan of Tom, and he's not hesitant to make that obvious in this episode :-)

Whether you're in charge of an organization looking to enhance our results or a health & wellness coach seeking to grow your impact, you won't want to miss this episode with the Red Bull of Management. Excellence, as Dr. Peters reminds us, is the next 5 minutes!

Show Notes Transcript

For almost 40 years, Tom Peters has been identified as one of the world's most influential thinkers. In 1982, he co-authored what became the book that essentially established the management/leadership book genre and he never slowed down. Fortunately for all of us, Tom cares deeply about the value of health & wellness and provided our biggest ! (you'll understand when you listen or if you know about Tom's affinity for !!!) of the month when he agreed to join us for this episode. 

Warning: Dr. Cooper has been an almost lifelong fan of Tom, and he's not hesitant to make that obvious in this episode :-)

Whether you're in charge of an organization looking to enhance our results or a health & wellness coach seeking to grow your impact, you won't want to miss this episode with the Red Bull of Management. Excellence, as Dr. Peters reminds us, is the next 5 minutes!

Dr. Cooper:   0:08
Welcome to the latest episode of The Catalyst, Health, Wellness and Performance podcast. I'm your host, Dr Bradford Cooper. And while I've never personally met today's guest, I feel like he's been a mentor of mine for about the past three decades. Dr. Tom Peters was the co author of the original business book In Search of Excellence, way back in 1982. A book that's often tagged as one of the best business books ever, if not number one on the list. I picked it up when I was pursuing my MBA back in the early nineties and eventually absorbed seven more of his books over the years. His writing shaped much of my approach to business, both corporately and as an entrepreneur. And those of you who have participated in our wellness coach business planning huddles, you can be pretty sure that at least one of my recommendations to you came directly from Dr Tom Peters. Now, speaking of business, if you find yourself listening to this and you're thinking this whole idea of an accredited, meaningful coach being part of your organizations wellness program would have a positive influence on the lives of your employees team members, feel free to reach out, email us [email protected], we can get some time on the calendar to connect individually. We consistently work closely with other employee wellness program providers so you don't have to start your program over to integrate this type of coaching, this best in class coaching into your current program. It's very easy to do. It can literally be done almost overnight. And if you're a provider listening to this and you'd like to add coaching to what you're, offering this best in class national board certified coaching, we love working with others, so drop me a note and we could talk about details. Now it's time to listen in on the conversation with one of the great business minds over the past 50 years as he shares his thoughts about health, wellness and business on this episode of the Catalyst Health, Wellness and Performance podcast. We've had some amazing guests on the podcast over the 1st 85 episodes or so, but I have probably never been more excited to have a guest than today's guests. Dr Tom Peters. Tom, welcome to the show.

Dr. Peters:   2:17
Thank you very much and thanks for the incredibly over the top introduction.

Dr. Cooper:   2:22
Oh, it gets worse. I'm a big fan. People are going to get that right here. I've got 8 of your books sitting right on my bookshelf next to me here, along with the old Tom Peters exclamation point hat, the work matters. I can even remember, I was thinking about this this morning getting ready for the interview. Your book Reimagined, I remember getting that book. I mean, I can remember where I was when I cracked it open, and my coworkers were looking at me like you're just a weirdo. Like how could you get that excited about a book? But it was powerful stuff. And then you look at your Brand You 50 stuff. I probably recommended that to hundreds, if not thousands of people. I think you have about 16 books that you've published. If you were to look back at one that could be republished today, brand new, nobody had ever seen it before. Which one do you think would be the most impactful in the world we're in right now?

Dr. Peters:   3:11
Boy, I'm going to give you two answers.

Dr. Cooper:   3:14
Okay.

Dr. Peters:   3:15
I'm gonna cheat. Number one is I'd love the design of Reimagine. And I think we were in the right place at the right time for that book. And I think it is particularly well fit for today. But I'm gonna tell you one that you might not even have. So when the Brand You 50 book came out, it was one of a series of three.

Dr. Cooper:   3:44
Yes, I've got all three.

Dr. Peters:   3:45
The 2nd was called the Wild Project 50 and the 3rd one was called the Professional Service Firm 50. And that one, people could call the most boring. And I do hope that I don't suffer from hopeless arrogance. But I believe if people had taken that little thin book seriously, a whole lot of people wouldn't have lost their jobs. Because the idea of the professional service firm 50 is you're in a middle sized company and they're outsourcing less than right. And you're in a 10 person training department and, you know, outsourcing is a distinct possibility, an extraordinarily distinct possibility. And I said, look, get ahead of the curve. Take that training department, which is in a big company and act as if you were an independent professional service firm providing products and services that would knock the customers socks off and appoint yourself managing director of Training Inc. A six person corporation, which is, you know, within a 35 person HR department, which is in a 500 person division of a gillion dollar company. But I think so many jobs like that went right down the drain and, you know, a lot of it was inevitable, to be sure. But I really fault the imagination of people who were, you know, in department head jobs and couldn't imagine themselves in that form. So I think it could have been the most valuable of the lot.

Dr. Cooper:   5:37
Well, and that's one of the books I've got here. In fact, as you mentioned it I pulled it over and I've just got pen marks all over the place and, you know, circles and asterisks and everything else. And I think for our audience today, not all of them. But a lot of folks listening are trying to build their own wellness coaching business, or they are the head of like you say, a department focused on helping the employees at their company get involved with a wellness program. But let me just repeat that it's a Professional Service Firm 50, Reinventing Work series and it is outstanding. 50 ways to transform your department into a professional service firm, so we'll talk a little bit more about that as we go forward. But I'm glad you brought that up. 

Dr. Peters:   6:17
Read the rest of the subtitle.

Dr. Cooper:   6:20
You got it. 50 ways to transform your "department" into a professional service firm whose trademarks are passion and innovation. And, of course, there's an exclamation point on the end of that.

Dr. Peters:   6:31
Of course there is. Yep.

Dr. Cooper:   6:32
I love it. Love it. Alright, let's go off in the health and wellness arena right now, briefly. In 2008 I've looked back and found you said we are ridiculously under attended issues surrounding prevention and wellness. It's now, a decade later, what are your thoughts on the progress or lack of progress in terms of health and wellness broadly?

Dr. Peters:   6:54
Well, first of all, I do not in any way, shape or form want to pretend to be an expert. I would judge that things are better, but a 1,000,000 miles from optimal. One of the reasons, and you can tell me whether I'm all wet. But, you know, I had a full left knee replacement about two months ago which embeds me right in the middle of the health care system and relative to, you know, the people who are listening to you who are dealing with Medicare and Medicaid. And I know that's the case with the physical therapy group that I'm going to now. What a God awful bureaucratic mess our health care system is. And, you know, I think you could do fabulous work and my physical therapy people are doing fabulous work. But I don't envy you.

Dr. Cooper:   7:49
Right.

Dr. Peters:   7:50
You know, they're working with me in a modest size but very good space and honest to God, and this has got to apply to an insane number I think of the people who are listening to you. They have to spend half their time on their tablets, entering stuff. In my case, I've now had 16 sessions and in order to go another 10 sessions, which they think I need and I think I need, they've got to justify that to Medicare. And that means they've got to give me a test with 100 questions and ask me stuff and it's not that I'm irritated. I'm not actually I want to weep for them, but the amount of a bureaucratic crap that they've got to go through is horrifying. I saw there was a story which is related, that was in the, I live in the so called South Coast of Massachusetts, about 70 miles south of Boston. It was in the Boston Globe, and it came from Massachusetts General Hospital MGH, where I happened to have my surgery. And it said that since tablets had been introduced at bedside, measured and this is not an anecdotal stuff, measured nurse patient eye contact had gone down 70%.

Dr. Cooper:   9:15
Wow. 

Dr. Peters:   9:16
Now, this is an area where I do know the science pretty well. And, you know, patient eye contact is as good as any pill that's ever been invented. If the nurse and the patient are making contact, you see these studies that say recovery time or number of days in the hospital go down by 20%. And so I was furious when I read that statistic. And then my heart rate went up another 10 or 20 beats when I read that of the stuff that nurses are entering in the tablet at bedside, 50 to 60% of it is billing information. And honest to God, I did not want to go out and shoot somebody. I am not a closet shooter. But well, I wanted to shoot myself because it was tragic because like the people who are listening to us, you know, I'm sure that every hospital as big as MGH has two nurses who don't care very much. But the people I've worked with you know, really do want their patients to improve and have a better life. And, you know, the world is conspiring against them.

Dr. Cooper:   10:36
Well, a lot of folks listening are the health of wellness coaches, so they're actually not integrated into the health care system unless they work for the hospital, providing services maybe for the employees. I love what you're talking about, that personal connection, even if it's telephonic, they're connecting with them individually, focused on that person and not just running through a script or a checklist or something like that. 

Dr. Peters:   11:00
Oh boy, we could spend the rest of our time on that topic alone. There's a book that came out recently called the Techies and the Fuzzies. And the subtitle was something about why the liberal arts will rule Silicon Valley in the future. But the point is, that it is the soft variables, which is the smile and is the disposition which frankly are as important or frankly more important, then the hard stuff and the technical stuff. And particularly, I would think, in an area like wellness, you know, 90% of the wellness issues psychological. You know, if I am doing a good job at home with the exercises that I have learned officially, it's because fundamentally, the therapists who I am working with have really done a fabulous job of making it clear that it's up to me and they've done it in a decent way. And the other thing, which is you know, when I did my original training for my PhD, it involved an awful lot of psychology, and I have got one person who I am working with and honest to God, including my wonderful first grade teacher 100 years ago, this person is the best teacher I have come across. And he really, really knows how to give, you know, I snicker a little bit because I know he's over the top and then he snickers back. But he does the greatest job in the world in absolutely acknowledging every little tiny thing that I do right and encouraging me and so on. And it is again, as you know, wellness with a capital W or physical therapy for a knee, it is a game of inches or hundredths of inches. It is not a game of eight yards and 100 yards for a touchdown.  

Dr. Peters:   13:04
And I love it when I run into somebody like that, my wife and I, which is directly, what you're talking about. My wife and I have a trainer who comes to visit us for an hour each each week, and she's in the same lane. I know how bad a shape I'm in and Jodi makes me feel good. We do say, and I will do this without the full explanation of the word, I assure you. But Jodi and I have this thing because she also pushes me hard, is I say your name is not Jodi. Your name is effing Jodi. She pushes me so hard. And she loves it. And I love it. And, you know, proof of the pudding, which is the kind of evaluation your folks should be making is when Jodi and her husband went off for an anniversary, we sent him both a bottle of champagne to the restaurant we knew that they were going to. Which reminds me, I used to have a newsletter. My company had a newsletter, and I think, one of my favorite stories and we had it for probably 10 years. And so there were a gillion newsletters. One of my favorite stories, which again directly applies to the people who are listening to you and me was a dentist who measured his customer satisfaction by the number of people who brought cookies and pies in to thank him for what he done. And he counted them! I loved it. I thought it was absolutely one of the 10 most brilliant things I've ever heard in my life.  

Dr. Cooper:   14:48
Great. Well, and we have a lot of physical therapists and personal trainers that end up going on to become certified wellness coaches. So I know those listening appreciate you giving the thumbs up and the kudos. I'm glad to hear it's been a good experience. One of things that stood out to me, and I think you shifted this even further over the years. But initially you talked about moving from ready...aim...fire to ready, fire, aim. And I think eventually almost to fire, fire, fire, fire and we'll just adjust on the fly. Can you talk our audience through that, that may not be familiar with it? And maybe where you've landed on that today?

Dr. Peters:   15:24
Well, the real point is that relative to your practice or what have you, you've got to test and try new stuff every day.

Dr. Cooper:   15:35
Yes. 

Dr. Peters:   15:37
And you know, I said to you before we went on the air, you know, back to my health care. You picked a good time to have this interview. I just came from an echo stress test, and there was new software that had just been installed yesterday, and the Tech was a wonderful guy with a wonderful attitude. But you could see the tears pouring out of his eyes as he tried to take a particular image and see if he could get it right.

Dr. Peters:   16:05
But the point is, there are things like software, obviously, and that's happening very much in your folks world, and you've got to be playing with them and you've got to be experimenting. And when you play and experiment, the faster you can make the largest number of mistakes, the better. And it's all about improvement. And improvement means trying new stuff and trying new stuff and trying new stuff. That's what ready fire aim means. It means don't sit there. Don't create a grand plan. Just get the heck, there's a woman Linda Kaplan Thalor who was an advertising person and did it well enough and started her own firm that she's in the Advertising Hall of Fame. And she said, we never had a vision. We never had a plan. Our whole goal was to do the absolute positive, best that we could do every minute that we had client contact. And she said, at the top of that list is trying new stuff, testing new stuff, pushing people just a little bit and so on. So I'm definitely a ready fire aim person. I am, believe it or not, there are people this old. I am 77 years old and I have never worked from a plan in my entire life and God willing, never will.

Dr. Cooper:   17:33
I love it, love it, love it. 

Dr. Peters:   17:38
I mean not working with a plan. It sounds kind of outrageous. But the point is, I let experience guide me to where I'm gonna go next.

Dr. Cooper:   17:45
Yes.

Dr. Peters:   17:45
You know, and I hope if there's a plan, it's the plan that Mrs. Kaplan Thalor had, which is to make every minute for the client an incredibly great minute, and there's no issue about that. But, in terms of what I'm working on, or topics that I'm working on, and I'm working on something new now. You know, it's a function of what I trip over and what catches my interest and so on.

Dr. Cooper:   18:12
Well I think there is a huge value for that for these coaches that are trying to find their place in the world and who their clients could be and all that. It doesn't help to lay out a 50 page business plan that's going to sit on your bookshelf. It's that constant trial trial trial error, more error, more error and then wind back around, so love it.

Dr. Peters:   18:29
Absolutely, and somewhere on my bookshelf, and I unfortunately don't know the author's name because I could recommend it if I did. I have a book. It's a thin book, probably 80 or 90 pages really well done. And it's called the One Page Business Plan. And, I really buy that act. It's a general notion of, you know, where you're heading and and then, you know, shut up and get on with it.

Dr. Cooper:   18:54
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Move! Alright, so speaking of move, exclamation points, that has been I don't know if Guinness is aware that you're currently the world record holder in the use of that for published books, but it's part of your brand. It's who you are, but it doesn't, as I was looking back through In Search of Excellence, it doesn't really show up there ever. What's the story on how the exclamation point became almost a mirror image of Tom Peters?

Dr. Peters:   19:22
Well, I will spare you the long story. The reason it wasn't in In Search of Excellence was not that it wasn't in my work, but it was that at the time we decided to tone the book down. And the definition the we is my co author. And he was absolutely right because it was 1982 and the world was not ready for that. We were getting beaten up by the Japanese badly and so on. And it was coming from my working life at Mckinsey. And people wanted words that were powerful, and I think they were powerful. Obviously, a whole lot of people bought the book, but exclamation marks were a bridge too far. One of my friends at Mckinsey actually threatened to quit because one of my drafts of the book basically was rewritten without the exclamation marks. And he said, that's not you. The exclamation mark, I haven't got a good answer. I think it probably came largely from my mom who had enough energy to sink a ship. I've had a lot of people say nice things about me and a lot of people who didn't as well. But I said recently, this is a couple of years ago, I got my favorite complement of all. And it was after a seminar I had given and some guy came up to me and he was probably in his early forties and he said, my God, I cannot wait to be 70 if I can have as much energy as you do. But the point relative to what we're talking about here is a different point. The energy is you know, I am going to use inappropriate language now, the energy is because I give a shit. I really care about this stuff. And I'm irritated because I say to people, if you say thank you to somebody, they will be your slave for life. If you just do these little touches, the human touches and I have a lot of energy, because of how much I'm pissed off that I can't get through. Nothing in any of my books requires an above average IQ. It is very, very basic and very, very straight forward. It is largely about little human touches, and there is nothing that you can't try by mid afternoon today.

Dr. Cooper:   21:53
Tom, I'm loving this. Speaking of that, excellence is the next five minutes. That's something that you've been talking a little bit more about even more recently in your recent book that we're going to touch on in a second. But I love that statement you talk about how our excellence is the next five minutes. Could you take us on a deeper dive into that?

Dr. Peters:   22:12
It involves a slight grudge. I'll be it, one should never have a grudge with one's publisher. My last book was called The Excellence Dividend, and that's because they wanted it to be whatever whatever the subtitle. I wanted the title of that book to be Excellence is the Next Five Minutes, and the point of it is people think of excellence as a Mount Everest that you have to climb and so on and my whole point that your approach to life, your approach to the way things get done, your approach to what you're doing is purely a function of what you do in the next five minutes, and I'll give you a little example. I mean, one of the things I say, is excellence is your next seven line email. Or excellence is your next two line text or what have you? And let me give you a little tiny example and tell me if this resonates with you. We have an accountant. My wife and I have an accountant who helps us with some stuff. And, you know, we communicate back and forth and I have a lot of typographical errors in my emails, because A I'm a lousy typist and B, I go too fast. And if I send you an e mail, I'm probably just gonna write you the text about yeah, you know, talk to you tomorrow morning at 11 o'clock.  

Dr. Peters:   23:36
Every email that I get from the people on this staff begins with Hi Tom comma space and then the texts. And then at the end it says, thanks comma space, Barbara or Dale or whoever it is and that, you know, I have no idea how people who are listening to us will react. But that hit me right between the eyes. It was just that little teeny effort to humanize it. The little teeny effort that suggested thoughtfulness rather than I'm running behind schedule for seven minutes. I want you to know this thing, but then let's get on with life. It's that, you know, people are either at this point going to turn it off or whatever, but when I get the Hi Tom, it was like a giant gillian Watt lamp going off in my face. And and I said to somebody, and I actually tested this with a shrink. I said, if a person who is a manager or a leader gives me ten 10 line e mails, I can do a technically correct, complete psychiatric analysis of that person. And a shrink friend of mine said, well, you may be exaggerating a little bit, but you're 90% on the mark. It's the thoughtfulness, the care. I mean, go back to the typos. Typos are awful. A typo says, I don't care, you know, I'm going so fast, and I know we're all hassled and so on. But, you know, and the people are gonna listen to this and say, I'm crazy. I'm not crazy. Typographical error says I don't care enough to do it right.  

Dr. Peters:   25:30
And you know, as I said, I'm in the middle of physical therapy. It is the tiny adjustments that they help me make and so on that make all the difference in the world. And I have no doubt that 99% of your wellness coaches could certainly agree with that. But it's the tiny stuff that gives away who you are. My mother was a Southerner. She came from Virginia and she taught me to say thank you. I said to somebody, if you want to understand my mother, we would be opening Christmas presents and halfway through, she would come to a stop and force me to send thank you notes to all of the people who had sent the first half of the and the truth of the matter is just between you and me and the audience, that's a little bit of an exaggeration, but not much. And she did make me say thank you. There was this guy and I wrote about him in the last book. Uh, what's his name? Conan. Uh, first name. I can't remember. He was the chief executive officer of Campbell Soup and he was chief executive officer for 10 years. In 10 years, he sent 30,000 hand written, thank you notes to people, mainly lower level employees. And that's basically 15 per working day for 10 years.

Dr. Cooper:   26:55
Wow.

Dr. Peters:   26:55
It is just a wow. And, you know, the other one, which, you know, I'm sure, given the nature of the industry, there are an awful lot of people who are a long, long, long, long, long way from 77. But yes, it may be 2020. But there is power to a hand written note, and there's almost more power because you never get it. You know, I had a guy who years ago who was a division general manager at 3M. And he had listened to me lecture about this stuff, and he attended a seminar of mine, and he came up to me at one point, and he said, I've got one for you. He said, I just had my retirement party, and a guy came up to me half in tears to thank me for a thank you note that I had sent him a dozen years ago that he still had taped to the wall of his cubicle You know, I said in my book, the most powerful word in the English language is acknowledgement. And you know, a lot of the people who are also listening to us are running their own shops with 1/2 a dozen people or two people are eight people or what have you, and this came from somebody at somebody on Twitter. And the guy who you know, has a proven track record, said the four most important words in any organization are What do you think? What can you tell me? What have you learned? What do you think? And that's acknowledgement. It's acknowledgment that I care enough about you that I want to hear what the heck you have to say.

Dr. Cooper:   28:39
Perfect. Perfect. That leads nicely into the next question. Your latest book, Excellence Dividend, it's pretty pertinent to wellness right now, because a lot of it is becoming "automated". I don't know if that works or not, but with AI based techs, websites, apps that theoretically help create these behavior change things that we're trying to do as coaches. What advice would you give to the health and wellness coach or the wellness program manager who believes in the importance of that personal connection that one on one, that relationship with a coach, but is facing basically ever cheaper costs with this automation process that's going on around the coaching.

Dr. Peters:   29:20
Yeah, well, obviously, I can't give a pat answer to that. I mean, first of all, to acknowledge the power of it. The smartest human beings on earth are working for Facebook. They all have PhDs in computer science from Stanford and their whole life is about making micro adjustments to code so that they will hook you and me a little bit more than they have in the past. And obviously, a lot of the wellness process is about hooking people on habits. And in wellness, it's for the best of reasons. Sometimes on Facebook, often in fact, it's not for the best of reasons, but to begin with, I will not do anything other than acknowledge the power of those tools because wellness people are in the micro habit business. So use the best tools to the maximum extent possible. Now again, I don't know the demographics of who's listening to us. But I would use those tools. I would not avoid them in any way. Bust your back to have the personal contact. And yes, I know I didn't grow up with an iPhone from birth, and I understand the power of the device. But face to face communication, back to those nurses who have lost it, face to face communication is worth its weight in gold. And if I am running a wellness program, I am going to move heaven and earth to use the tools, but keep the personalized part of it. And I think it's gonna be a win.

Dr. Cooper:   31:06
Very good, very good. 

Dr. Peters:   31:07
Well what's your reaction to what I said because you're in the middle of this?

Dr. Cooper:   31:11
Yeah, we generally agree. Where I'm struggling with it is we have the technology and I'll be the first to tell you, we use the technology. That's part of who we are, but we see that being supportive to the coaching versus the other way around. A lot of models now are building the model around the technology and saying, oh yeah, and there's a little bit of coaching over here, and end up having 1 or 2% of their employees actually engage with a coach, and we just see that model as off its rocker. We start with the coach, start with that personal relationship and then support that with all these other wonderful, amazing, incredible tools. But I think people have flipped the model in the wrong direction, and we're trying to flip it back to say, wait a minute, you're missing the most important part.

Dr. Peters:   32:00
Yeah, no, I wish there was something higher than 100% because I so much agree with that, there's a tech, somewhat technical version of that, albeit not very sophisticated. And that is IA vs. AI. AI is artificial intelligence, which means artificial intelligence, which is meant to displace human beings IA stands for intelligence augmented. And that means that who you are is augmented by the tool. The tool doesn't take your place. And I think that's exactly what,

Dr. Cooper:   32:36
Ohhh, exactly. 

Dr. Peters:   32:39
I like that one distinction, and I think that's exactly what we're talking about. One of the people who I wrote about, and made a big deal of in the Excellence Dividend is a bank, and almost all the banks are closing their branches, and this bank is absolutely creating the world's best branches. He's turned them into entertainment centers. He makes them excited. The employees have incredible attitudes to help the customer, whatever the customer's problem is. So yeah, I think it's totally, absolutely nutty beyond belief to put the technology before the person. And if I'm wrong, I'm willing to be wrong. But I still want to spend my life in a way where I get to be around people. I can't live without it. I said to somebody, and my mom may have been part of this as well. I'm one of those people who loves to talk to strangers, and my wife said, why do you always talk to cab drivers when we happen to be in Washington? And I said, well, because half the cab drivers in Washington are Ethiopians. They have been through starvation. They have been through revolution. There was probably a second cousin who was assassinated three blocks away. Their life is so much more interesting than our life and you know, because we're all spoiled brats by comparison.  

Dr. Peters:   34:05
And, you know, I was in a grocery store the other day and ran into a woman in the aisle, I was just picking up paper towels and so on. So this is a woman I don't know. She was I guarantee you, nowhere near me too but we ended up with a five minute discussion about padded toilet paper versus unpadded toilet paper. And it's just people are, I dare not say this and probably it's even inappropriate relative to your business model in the wellness business. There's a software company that again I wrote about in the new book and the no, it's a pharmaceutical company, for God's sakes, one of the new biotech companies. And the CEO said, we only hire nice people, and he said, that's as true for a chemist job as it is for a receptionist job. He said, when you get up to those chemist jobs, the reality is it requires a PhD. But there are a lot of PhDs. Don't hire the jerk. And you know I have long been a Southwest Airlines fan, and I was a great pal of the recently deceased Herb Kelleher, who started it, and Colleen Barrett was his president and Colleen said, when we're hiring somebody, we look for listening, caring, smiling, saying thank you and being warm. And she said, that is as true for the pilots and the mechanics as it is for the in flight or gate personnel. And I think that's 80% of their difference. You know, they're getting a little bit corporate now that unfortunately, Herb is going away, and I think some of that's evaporating. But the great Southwest Airlines that I love, really, and it's wonderful terms listening, caring, smiling, saying thank you and being warm and being nice, particularly in the wellness business. Because again, per what we were saying before, with or without software, you're trying to get me to do things which for 2% of the audience who are the fitness nuts, you know they not only need to be not encouraged, you gotta tell him to back off in some sense. But for the other 98% of us, you know, urging us on to new heights 1/8 of an inch at a time.

Dr. Cooper:   36:35
You talk about Southwest, but that's exactly what we look at with US Corporate Wellness. We hire coaches, and that's what we're looking for. It's nice that they have X Y Z background, but the first and foremost, it's can they listen? Can they connect? Do they smile? You know, are they the person you'd want to spend time with? Because because that's what they're doing. 

Dr. Peters:   36:57
Yeah, and I loved what this guy said in the pharmaceutical company, and he said, so I interview you and you are the hottest shot biochemist that has ever been produced by, you know, Duke University or what have you. And I am just so enthralled by you I can't see straight. But he said, we have a process and I finished the interview. And yes, I'm the CEO. But then you have to do what he calls run the gauntlet. And he said running the gauntlet is 15 short interviews with 15 different people, and it starts with the receptionist. And if the guy who cleans up afterwards is there at the time it includes him or her and you know as well as people who are managers and other staffers. But, he said, any single one of those people can veto that fancy 4.0 average PhD biochemist from Duke University.

Dr. Cooper:   37:50
Love it. Just two more. You're consistently talking about reimagine, reinvent, innovate. I'd love to hear, kind of flip the mirror around. How do you are you doing that in your own life? Your own business, this year? Now?

Dr. Peters:   38:07
Do you want to hear the personal answer to that?

Dr. Cooper:   38:09
Yes, bring it!

Dr. Peters:   38:11
Well, it's to keep from getting a divorce is the answer. My wife, and she's right, has gone absolutely crazy, bonkers bananas, and when we see the picture from Australia, we know why, over climate change, sustainability and so on. And she has threatened me with divorce if I do not get a lot more sustainability into the stuff that I am writing and preaching these days. And I think she is absolutely right. So if you walked into my office right now, I mean, yes, I use my ibooks and my kindles, but you would see a pile of hardback books that talk about sustainability, which, incidentally, is wellness on another plane. No plastics straws, nobody listening to us is allowed to use a plastic straw again. Can we have that as an iron clad agreement?

Dr. Cooper:   39:06
Some low hanging fruit? 

Dr. Peters:   39:08
Yeah, absolutely. But it's again, the point is, which is what we've talked about this entire discussion. It's little habits. Just the fact that she has made me awake, which is a lot more important than any book that I've read, made me awake means I'm paying attention to little things where collectively, again, as wellness people know much better than I do, you can make a huge difference. Nobody goes from from, you know, being barely able to walk to winning the 100 yard dash at the next Olympics. You make it 1/8 of a step at a time. And I seen some people in my wellness clinic who are, you know, morbidly obese. And I've watched my wonderful coaches working with them and, you know, treating them with the same care, same thoughtfulness and and just getting them to go along an extra eighth of an inch. And I will also say, that not everybody, not all of my physical therapists and there are probably 10 of them in the office. Not all of them are skinny as a rail, and that is even helpful. Seriously, you know, it's a little intimidating to work with a bunch of people, all of whom look like Arnold Schwarzenegger when he was winning world championships.  

Dr. Peters:   40:30
Sure. Yeah, it makes it more real. It's more authentic.

Dr. Peters:   40:32
It's real. And again, the wellness thing is about micrometers and it's all really and it's about being around, you know, really people. And, you know, I love this place that I'm working in, they're all very, very different. But they're exceptionally thoughtful and, you know, they look different. They're short, they're tall, they're men, they're women. Half of the women are much stronger than the other than everybody except one monster man who is trying to straighten my leg out and tries to kill me each time I come in. But we have a wonderful rapport as he does it.

Dr. Cooper:   41:07
Last question, Tom, and really appreciate your time today. Just wide open, any final words of wisdom for those that are either trying to improve their own health and wellness or trying to help others do the same?

Dr. Peters:   41:19
Well, let me say, and I'm not putting down 90% of the rest of the world. If you are in the wellness business, and I am sorry to say that I don't spend a lot of time in church, but I will say you're really doing the Lord's work. You are helping human beings get better, extend their life. Even more important than extending it, which is half irrelevant is making every day a little bit better. And so, you know, back to our nurses with the tablets. There's a lot of bureaucratic nonsense and so on. But you have an opportunity. The other thing I want to say to any given wellness coach, if you stay in this business for 10 years or 15 years, you will save a lot more lives than any surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital. You know, God bless her or him who is the surgeon, and God bless the guy who did my knee. But you have the opportunity to dramatically reshape the lives over a 10 year period of 1000 people. And I don't care how good that surgeon is, he can only do four knees a day!

Dr. Cooper:   42:43
Yeah.

Dr. Peters:   42:44
And as I said, I'm not religious with a capital R in any way, shape or form, but it really is. You're a blessing to people if you do your jobs right, get inside their heads and make them feel better about themselves as human beings. You know, it's one of the reasons I'm delighted to talk to you is I can't think of a greater profession other than probably nursing. And I say that to health care people, I was talking to a big group and, you know, they're all overwhelmed by bureaucracy. And I said, I know that an awful lot of your day is BS and you know, God bless the insurance company guy down the road. But I said, unlike the average bureaucrat in the tall building in Boston, when you come to work, even if you're an accountant at the hospital, you get to directly improve the lives of hundreds of people, and boy what a gift that is. Why ever those who are listening to us chose the wellness business, you know, you picked a good one.

Dr. Cooper:   43:45
Great way to wrap up. I really appreciate it, Tom. I know your schedule is over the top. I appreciate you taking the time for us. Thanks again.

Dr. Peters:   43:54
Thank you. My pleasure.

Dr. Cooper:   44:04
That was fun. There's always a risk, obviously, when you finally speak with someone you've looked up to for 30 years, that'll end up being a disappointment. Thankfully, that wasn't the case here, was it? The 77 year old they call the Red Bull of Management Thinking still has just as much or maybe more energy and passion for creating positive change as he had at age 39 when his original bestseller hit the book stands. A  big, big time thank you to Tom Peters and to Shelly Dolly for helping coordinate our busy schedules and actually make this thing happen. Thank you also to each one of you who have taken the time to subscribe to the podcast, especially those of you who have shared it with others, left a positive review. It helps other people find us. Our audience has grown four times over the last 12 months, and that's on you. So thank you, thank you, thank you. I cannot tell you how much we appreciate that. If you ever need anything, you can find us a CatalystCoachingInstitute.com or email us at [email protected] Now it's time to go after better. One decision, one step, one moment at a time, Tom reminded us, excellence is the next five minutes. Better is too, let's make the next five minutes count. Thanks, as always, for joining us. This is Dr Bradford Cooper signing off. Make it a great rest of your day and I'll speak with you soon on the next episode of the Catalyst Health, Wellness and Performance Podcast.