Achieving Business Excellence with John Spence

A "Must Read" on How to Distinguish Yourself

As most of you know, I am a fanatic reader, and typically get through 10 to 12 books a month as well as several audio books, white papers, magazines, blogs and research reports. Although the great majority of that reading is on strategy, leadership and high-performance teams, I also read a lot of career, self-help, and “personal branding” information as well.  Last week I was visiting one of my very favorite websites called and found an absolutely wonderful manifesto entitled… Continue reading “A "Must Read" on How to Distinguish Yourself” »

How to Have Better Meetings

I just ran across a fantastic post on Mitch Joel’s blog that I felt was too good not to pass along. If you would like several truly excellent ideas on how to improve your meetings than you really need to read this: 15 Ways to Have a Better Meeting AND be sure to read all of the comments – there are several more excellent ideas for improving your meetings among the many comments!!!

And, if you would like to read a great book to help you better understand how social media will impact your life and your business, Mitch’s Six Pixels of Separation would be in my top five.

I also wanted to share a short video I just put together for  my very good friends at, an international consulting and coaching firm of Business Execution Experts. I can tell you with 100% confidence that one of the absolute greatestes challenges most compnaies face today is Effective Execution! They know WHAT to do — they just can’t seem to figure HOW to get thier entire team engaged and focused with discipline, cadence and an ownership mentality.

Well, that is exactly what the folks at specialize in, and I am extremely proud that they are using my book “Awesomely Simple” as one of their key references for assisting thier clients (along with Jim Collins’ Good to Great and other superb books) in taking sound business strategies and turning them into positve action in thier organizations. However, the terminalogy I use in my book around Vision, Mission and Values is slightly different than that used by – so I put together this short video to help their clients (and you) get a very clear handle on what these concepts really mean.  I hope you find this of value… – Core Purpose, Vision, Core Values BHAG from John Spence on Vimeo.

Tom Peters’ Newest Book… ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I admit it… I am an unrepentant Tom Peters fanatic and have been for 20+ years. But even with that said, there have been a few (very few) of Tom’s books that I felt were…uh… “Less-than-excellent”(small “e”).  So it was with a bit of trepidation that I sat down to read his newest book: “The Little BIG Things – 163 Ways to Pursue EXCELLENCE.”

At 507 pages of main text, it is a significant commitment for many readers to undertake the study of this weighty tome… but I promise you it is worth every single page of it! I read it cover-to-cover (twice) in the span of two days of flying to meet with clients. I simply could NOT put it down, as I was greedy to get to the next page of TP wisdom and wise-cracking.

If you are a Tom Peters devote’ you will recognize much (nearly all) of what this book contains… and that is just fine.  It is filled with a relentless parade of “Tom Peters’ Greatest Hits” that keep slapping you in the face and pushing you to think, adjust, change and take action. If you are a business leader of ANY kind – you MUST read this book. I absolutely guarantee that you will find not one… not two… but 20 or 30 game-changing ideas that could truly take your business and your career to a completely new level. As Tom readily admits, a great deal of what is in this book is just plain common sense (very much like my book: Awesomely Simple) but common sense is not always “common practice” in many businesses and this book is jam-packed with incredibly powerful ideas and suggestions that far too many of us simply forget to do. If you read this book carefully, with an earnest desire to make your business better, there is no way you could ever be dissappointed.

As someone who has read a minimum of 100 – 120 business books a year, every year since 1989, (and it all started with In Search Of Excellence) I will tell you with NO hesitation that “The Little BIG Things” is now in my top 5 all-time favorites. YES – it is that good!

Mr. Peters… this one is a complete home run!!!!!!!!!

Some Powerful Feedback About How to Succeed in 2010

Recently I have had the chance to talk to a lot of business people about what they are focused on for survival and success in 2010. During just the last three weeks, I delivered a session for the national sales meeting of a mid-sized industrial manufacturing company, taught two sessions to the combined executive teams and board of directors from 17 different companies, taught a strategic thinking/planning class at the Wharton School of Business to 120 executives from the financial industry and spent three fantastic days at the Inc. Magazine GrowCo event in Orlando, FL with 400+ rabid entrepreneurs… WOW!

So what is the takeaway from all of this interaction? Continue reading “Some Powerful Feedback About How to Succeed in 2010” »

Words of Wisdom

Last week I posted what I felt might have been the most important blog I have ever written. It was entitled “Keys to Success in Business and Life.” This morning I came across a video that really spoke to me and echoed the ideas I shared with you in that blog. This video is about Wisdom – with a capital “W.” It is a moving and poignant piece that really demands you take a few minutes to listen, watch and reflect.  After you view the video, I have pasted in the key ideas from last week’s blog below it so that you can reflect on those words of wisdom as well.  Continue reading “Words of Wisdom” »

A Manifesto on Business Strategy

Several years ago I ran across this really cool website called ChangeThis, where people could submit a “manifesto” on a topic they felt strongly about. I submitted one on business excellence, which became the genesis of my latest book Awesomely Simple. I have just had another manifesto accepted on creating the internal strategies necessary to build a highly successful company. It has some really great ideas in it…

You can read the manifesto here by clicking on the “Full Screen” view, or here is a link to download the PDF.

  Get the PDF

Please feel free to share the manifesto with anyone you feel might find value in the ideas I share. The entire reason for writing a manifesto is to get in the hands of as many people as possible!

Hope you found this helpful – take good care — John

How to Make Better Business Decisions


Over the years I watched a number of very talented and bright leaders make decisions that were highly damaging to their organizations. Although they had the best of intentions, their decisions did not deliver the results they were hoping for. There are numerous reasons this happens and some simple steps you can take to avoid decision pitfalls. Let’s take a look at the traps first and see if you might recognize any of these patterns in your organization.

Lessons Learned from 30 Years of Leadership

I ran across this article this morning on the Harvard Business Publishing website (if you are not already a member, you should be, they have loads of hugely valuable articles and information on the site) and thought that it really hit the nail on the head. This is some extremely sage advice from someone with 25+ years as a high level executive. I think you’re going to find some truly valuable ideas in this wonderful interview… Continue reading “Lessons Learned from 30 Years of Leadership” »

The Three Keys to Success in a Tough Economy

When times are tough, the number one thing that will help you survive is your staff. That’s right. There is no way that you can make it through the current economic turmoil alone; you need your employees (or team if you aren’t running the place) to be motivated and dedicated to helping the business succeed. How do you keep these important people on your side? To me, there are three keys: Honesty, Vision, and Culture. Continue reading “The Three Keys to Success in a Tough Economy” »