The Art of Leadership

"The Art of ..." conferences are "designed to explore the intersection where art and skill meet business." This Canada-based event production company enlisted Tom for their Art of Leadership Conference, held today in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

At the gathering, Tom presented a PPT titled "The Leadership 24"—24 aspects of excellent leadership or habits of excellent leaders—that he recommends. Try one out. Doesn't work for you? Try something else ... just do something.

Leadership 24: The Art of Leadership Conference, Calgary
The Art of Leadership, Long Version

Working the Room

The key to engaging an audience is to make a human connection. Tom explains exactly how he does this in a conversation with colleague Shelley Dolley in the latest in our Off the Cuff video series.

You can find the video at YouTube (time: 2 minutes 57 seconds).

Nissan North America 2015

Today's event is Nissan North America's 2015 Annual National Dealer Advisory Board Seminar, in Atlanta. This is an opportunity for Tom to speak to the kind of group he loves—a group of quintessential SMEs—auto dealerships. Collectively, they have great potential for growth and change. We know they'll be inspired by Tom!

Slide presentations are here:
Nissan North America's 2015 Dealer Advisory Board Seminar
Nissan North America 2015, Long Version

Opportunity to See Tom Live

If you live in the Northwest United States, you are within driving distance (albeit a long drive) of an upcoming Tom appearance: The Art Of Leadership Conference in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on 11 September 2015. If you've never seen Tom live, we'd recommend you consider making the trip. We can almost guarantee you'd come away energized, inspired, and ready to get back to work!

Tailoring Speeches

Longtime member of Tom Peters' staff Shelley Dolley posed questions to Tom that she frequently gets asked by other business speakers. Many crave insights into Tom's tricks of the trade. As part of our Off the Cuff series of videos, Tom tells us what the keys to successful speaking are. In this video, he shares with Shelley how he ensures he never gives the same speech twice.

You can find the video at YouTube (time: 2 minutes 33 seconds).

Brett Steenbarger Expounds on Tom’s Stance Against Vision

Brett Steenbarger, a contributor at Forbes, has taken a couple of Tom's tweets and expanded on them with great insight.

Tom tweeted, "Thinking ahead is great, but it becomes more than it is when when you sprinkle Holy Water and enshrine it as Vision." In response to reaction to this pronouncement, Tom went on to post, "Drucker said he'd never met a good leader who was 'charismatic.' I'd like to ban words like 'charismatic' and 'vision.'" (Read the tweetstream here.)

Steenbarger captured the essence of Tom's meaning and made it clearer to the rest of us in his article of July 26 on We highly recommend his in-depth commentary on the subject of vision, "The Foresight of Leadership." He does an excellent job of supporting Tom's view that a vision may not be the key to success. Thank you, Brett!

In Defense of PowerPoint
A Book
Not a “Book”

I am about to unleash a book on you.
A book—not a "book."
Said book (not "book") is in PowerPoint.

My colleagues insist that not everybody is like me.
Not everybody dotes on PowerPoint.

I mainly give speeches.
My speeches are based on PowerPoint presentations.
Fact: I "do" PowerPoint.
Fact: I "am" PowerPoint.

My book (not "book") is a long one.
It—almost literally—consists of "everything I've learned" about effective (EXCELLENT!) and ineffective (un-Excellent) organizations in the last 49 years.

It is 1,918 PowerPoint slides long.
About 40% of those slides are gray-background explanatory text.
That's probably 50,000+ words of text.
Add in the slides and the text may run, say, 80,000 words.
Which translates roughly into 275 pages of "real" book-format text.

I am not a total sadist.
When we release the book—very soon—you will indeed find THE WORKS as I call it—a single 1,918-slide set.
But you will also find 11 separate PowerPoint presentations which are the 11 chapters (not "chapters") of the book.

Of course the main thing is that I hope you read it and discuss it and use it—and steal like crazy from it at will.

For better or for worse, it's the (VERY) best I can do.
And since I "do" PowerPoint, that's the way it will come to you.

Coming soon to various nooks and crannies, including, obviously, this site:

(NB: Did you know I wrote my first blogpost 11 years ago next month—August 2004? It was the day after the youthful Illinois Senatorial candidate Barack Obama made his debut at the Democratic Convention in Boston, which resulted in the nomination of John Kerry. My Post #1 was not in any way political. I simply said that I give speeches for a living, and that was one helluva speech!! Like or dislike the President, I sure as heck got the "good speech" part right. Four years after the post, that precocious youngster was headed for the White House. And, to more or less repeat, like him or dislike him, he's in the White House. And you and I aren't.)

Oh yeah, one last thing.
I "do" PowerPoint.
And I also "do" ... EXCELLENCE.
So remember my mantra:

EXCELLENCE is NOT an "aspiration."
EXCELLENCE is NOT a long-term goal.
EXCELLENCE is manifest in the next ... FIVE MINUTES.
Or not.


I do not believe it.
I just (a few days ago) posted my ... 50,000th tweet.


Who woulda thunk?

There are ideas I care about. And twitter is a great platform to have an ongoing discussion with (mostly) likeminded colleagues. Thousands upon thousands thereof.

It adds up to a lot of time.
Too much?

BUT ... the transmission of ideas to a wide audience is how I have spent the last 38 years of my life—38 years ago, 1977, was when the McKinsey project that led to In Search of Excellence was launched.


Top 50 Social Employee Advocacy Leaders

Tom is proud to be included among the honorees on this list: The Top 50 Social Employee Advocacy Leaders (SEAL) on Twitter. We think it's a great accomplishment for a thinker born before the baby boomers to be in the forefront of an issue born with the Millennials.

The 15-Second “Pep talk”
(And more)

Summary to a colleague of my recent 15-minute speech ("pep talk"):

Don't worry about '21st century leadership' (my assigned topic). If you are just decent to people, listen instead of talk, respect and encourage them, are religious about 'managing by wandering around,' most things will work out. And I said that, in the end, taking good care of people was the only thing worthy of a tombstone epitaph. My closing line, 'My ex-father-in-law carved tombstones. Nobody ever gets their net worth carved on their tombstone.'"

The 15-second version of the 15-minute talk, in the form of a tweet:

Do your MBWA and take good care of people. No one has their net worth on their tombstone."

More tweets inspired by the short talk:

Listening rules. Listening effectively is a "profession" as much as neurosurgery—though much more powerful than neurosurgery.

Listening is the ultimate mark of respect.
Listening is the ultimate motivator.
Listening is the ultimate source of knowledge.

Listening is the ultimate—and only trustworthy—"culture barometer."

Listening rocks, rolls, and rules. Do your MBWA first thing this morning, last thing in the afternoon.

(Response tweet from Leslie Ann Howard: "When two people are talking, only one is communicating, the person who is listening.")

If you think "small talk" is small, then resign your leadership role this morning.

Friendships are the lubricant of effective leadership. So says Bill George. So said Dwight David Eisenhower.

Being pleasant is not antithetical to being tough-minded. In fact, though it's counterintuitive, they are handmaidens.

Internal impatience is a virtue. External impatience is a vice.

SIN OF "SEND." Edgy email? Hold it for 6 hours before sending.


Puzzled at work? Discover ways to put Tom’s ideas into Action.