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"Hard is soft. Soft is hard." Lessons from the master

High Performance CPA firm I love this quote by Tom Peters in his latest, just-released book, The Little Big Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence.

This is what our own research at the Business Learning Institute has turned up: The "soft" skills are the hardest to master, the least invested in, and the most needed in the CPA world, especially in this post-recession economy. Period.

In the graphic, notice the "turn" where the ball hits the floor. This is where the shift from mostly technical training should change to mostly leadership training. From concrete and verifiable to strategic and intangible. Like the momentum from lifting the ball higher before you drop it, investment in leadership, management, relationship building, consultative selling, etc., will lead to a higher reflexive bounce. Your organization will gain higher performance and beat your competition and achieve higher performance.

What about the recession and cost-cutting? Tom gives a few stories (and rants) about companies that increased investment in people development (the "soft stuff") during the recession and have come out eliminating big competitors or roaring out of the recession now (see People Nos. 96, 97, 98, 99). He even makes a great case to shift 15 percent of your capital / IT budget to human capital development (your people) and think about what you would get in return. It got me thinking ...

As for the book -- buy it, share it and keep it close by as a reminder and reference. I am only about one-third in and love it. I can't wait to see Tom Peters live in New York at the Reset Business forum on April 20, 2010. Stay tuned for tweets and blog posts from that session.

Thanks Tom. The hard is soft and the soft is HARD. 

Here's a great related interview with David Meerman Scott, along with his blog post, Tom Peters talks about The Little Big Things:

David Meerman Scott interviews Tom Peters from David Meerman Scott on Vimeo.

If you want more of Tom Peters:

What do you think? Is the hard soft and the soft hard?

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