The Tom Peters Seminar
The Race Beyond

Tom Peters started 'twisting heads' with Liberation Management and Thriving on Chaos but the 'raging, inexorable, thunder lizard evangelist' took you 'beyond' everything in his seminar. The Tom Peters Seminar was his first book after he took his 'show' on the road, and the book follows very closely to the 'script,' overheads and the slides of his live performances at the time. It was truly an adventure to 'experience’ Tom Peters in action - it still is!  From the 'Seminar' Tom Peters produced The Pursuit of Wow! and The Circle of Innovation, each reflecting his latest new and improved version of the 'road show' he first captured in The Tom Peters Seminar

You can certainly get the latest in The Circle of Innovation, but it is truly an adventure to get the full treatment and re-trace his incredible logic and 'in-your-face' no-bull impact from at least The Tom Peters Seminar. For the full treatment go through them all - you will find the stories and anecdotes from Liberation Management and Chaos surfacing repeatedly to punctuate his latest performances. But wherever you choose to start the adventure you are guaranteed to have to your head 'twisted'  and receive a major reality check - and that is - after all is said and done - a good thing. So let's check out the highlights of  The Tom Peters Seminar for a taste of what's in store.

First and foremost - see him on tour!

Raging, inexorable, thunder lizard evangelist!” suits him to a tee. He is controversial, outrageous, passionate, funny, and totally absorbed with delivering his ‘beyond’ everything message to anyone who will listen. He does it very well, with no glitz, just a few slides, and his unique firebrand blend of business logic and compulsive energy. 

Crazy times call for crazy organizations.

His basic premise is unwound rationally and logically, and few can disagree. In stable times we need large, stable organizations, with zero standard deviation, McDonaldization, how about ‘Mc-Ordinaries’. In today’s rapidly changing, unpredictable environment, and international economy with literally many hundreds of millions of knowledge workers developing very quickly in the emerging economies, innovation becomes critical. The traditional leading economies must adapt to remain competitive. 

Fast paced! Brain based!

The knowledge era is upon us where value added is derived from ‘intellectual capital,' know how, responsiveness, and service. Witness Nintendo with sales of almost $10 billion and profits of $1 billion. The staggering impact of the age of ‘brain power’ is that in 1992 these numbers translated into pretax profits $1.5 million per employee! Talk about a strategic leveraging of knowledge and brain power!

Tom Peters’ prescription is to out innovate the competition and create the perpetual ‘surprise factory’ - for a fast paced, brain based organizational model of innovation. 

A few ‘beyonds’ to give the flavour of Tom Peters’ message:

Beyond decentralization - break up, obliterate bureaucracies into small, spunky businesses. ‘When was the last time you saw a spirited, obsessed, energetic unit of 3000 people?’

Beyond empowerment - every person is a business person. How about a rapid deployment team of two teamsters handling everything from custom engineering, manufacturing, installation, and ‘relationship management,' and in the process cutting order turnaround time from weeks to hours!

Beyond everything!

Beyond loyalty - developing the mind set of the independent contractor. Work becomes a series of projects, adding value for specific customers internally and externally.

Beyond reengineering - the organization as an intelligent organism, with fluid, independent groups of problem solvers. How about ‘just in time talent,' and organizations without head offices - homeless expertise.

The curious corporation

Beyond learning - the curious corporation, and the age of creation intensification. Quick exercise - make a list of five people you admire; Question 1. Would you hire them? Question 2. Would they come to work for you if you offered them a job?

Is it weird enough?

Beyond TQM  - toward wow! Get kinky, dazzling and excite your customers to stand out in a crowded market with a flood of flawless products. Is it weird enough and crazy enough for the context that is taking place?

Beyond change - to perpetual revolution. Compress ten years of change into months, then take a deep breath and start again. 

A passion for failure? Have there been any great leaps forward without blunders and failures along the way? Revolution and throwing it all up the air and starting with a blank sheet? Can you leap a chasm in two bounds? How about an active strategy of disrupting the status quo to create an unsustainable series of competitive advantages

Tom Peters does ‘push the needle all the way over’ calling for perpetual revolution not change, anarchists not change agents, action, action, action, the pursuit of embarrassing failures, no tepid responses, focus amidst the confusion, always heading in the opposite direction, and perpetually subjecting everything to the IIWE test - is it weird enough?

 
It may be crazy but it all makes sense.
 
Underlying the evangelical rhetoric is a pretty solid set of positive business and human values: a passion for failure/innovation; a thirst for learning; a bias for action; a taste for ambiguity; a contempt for the pompous and inflexible; a willingness to ‘shoot straight’; a belief in the natural curiosity and capability of people; ‘a hankering to be weird’; and a determination not to tolerate dullness and mediocrity.

If you can’t experience him in action his book takes you on the journey ‘beyond.' But keep your hat on - you may end up miles from here!

R. S. 
 

The Tom Peters Seminar
Crazy Times Call For Crazy Organizations,
Vintage Books,
New York, May 1994.

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