Consultant, Speaker, and Author
These ideas were, are, and always will be the bedrock and differentiator of excellent enterprise—and subject to constant and remarkably rapid slippage if left untended for even a moment. As a result, Tom still unabashedly hammers, and hammers, and hammers again on these always fresh ideas. If anything, he is more adamant than ever that in a “flat world,” the “eternal basics” must be kept front and center—they must be any leader’s abiding obsession.
15 books later, Tom has also added many a new arrow to his quiver—and cause to his portfolio of rants. For example, he became the first and loudest “guru voice” on the primacy of design as an extraordinary competitive advantage. He became the loudest, and perhaps earliest, voice on the need for employees to re-shape their careers around the idea of “brand you” (every person a “businessperson”) if they are to add useful value to their firms and survive the perils of cutthroat global competition in the labor market. He became the first and loudest “guru voice” on the enormous opportunities in creating products and services to cater to the staggeringly large and absurdly underserved women’s market—and the attendant need for women in senior management to support this thrust. He became one of the earliest to noisily point out the equally large and equally ignored boomer+ market that will dominate global business’s attention for at least the next 25 years. More recently, he has aimed his analytic and oral guns at our largest industry, healthcare; rather than the intricacies of finance, his thrust is the equally or even more important issues surrounding operational excellence—aggressive use of information technology where shortfalls are embarrassing, an abiding emphasis on our very questionable patient safety record, so-called evidence-based medicine, long overdue “patient-centric” care, and the ridiculously under-attended issues surrounding prevention and wellness.
Tom’s presentations are marked not only by his stunning breadth of interests and skill at tailoring his message to suit the needs of widely diverse audiences, but in particular by the contagious passion and energy he brings to his topic. A 20-year-old student in Korea, in May 2008, asked before a crowd of 3,000 gathered in Seoul to discuss design primacy as Korea’s national strategy, “Where do you get your mind-bending passion and energy?”—an amazing tribute to his sustaining vitality and engagement. Perhaps the Bloomsbury Press book, Movers and Shakers: The 100 Most Influential Figures in Modern Business, summed Tom’s work up best. Reviewing the historical contributions of the giants of management thinking and practice, from Machiavelli and J.P. Morgan to Tom and Jack Welch, they said:
“Tom Peters has probably done more than anyone else to shift the debate on management from the confines of boardrooms, academia, and consultancies to a broader, worldwide audience, where it has become the staple diet of the media and managers alike. Peter Drucker has written more and his ideas have withstood a longer test of time, but it is Peters—as consultant, writer, columnist, seminar lecturer, and stage performer—whose energy, style, influence, and ideas have shaped new management thinking.”