Without much doubt, Peter Drucker and Tom Peters have shaped the idea of modern management more than any others over the last six decades. Drucker is said to have “invented” management as a discipline worthy of study—in particular, he gave management of large firms the essential tools to deal with their post-World War II enormity, complexity, and growing global reach. Tom Peters, in turn, led the way in preparing management for the current era of staggering change, starting in the mid-1970s.
The likes of Fortune, the Economist, the New Yorker and the Los Angeles Times have said Tom is the “uber-guru” of management and inventor of the enormous “management guru industry,” that “in no small part, what American corporations have become is what Peters has encouraged them to be,” that Tom is “the father of the post-modern corporation,” and that “we live in a Tom Peters world.”
In particular, in 1982, with the publication of In Search of Excellence, Tom and Bob Waterman helped American firms deal with a crushing competitive challenge to their primacy by getting them away from strategies based on just the numbers, and re-focused on the basic drivers of all successful businesses throughout time: people, customers, values or “culture” (“the way we do things around here”), action-execution, a perpetual self-renewing entrepreneurial spirit.
As “obvious” as these ideas are, they 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, in a “flat world,” that the “eternal basics” must be kept front and center—must be any leader’s abiding obsession.
You can visit his website at http://www.tompeters.com .