Lean Blog Interviews — 382: Tom Peters on Managing During the Madness of Covid Times and Beyond

https://www.leanblog.org/382 for show notes and more

I’m really excited to be speaking to my guest for Episode #382 of the podcast… he is the legendary Tom Peters — author, speaker, and consultant. His response to me calling him “legendary” at the start of the episode gives you a glimpse into the fun conversation we had on some very important topics.

Today, we’ll be talking about his “Excellence Manifesto 2020” and a theme he has tweeted about a lot, leading amongst the “madness of Covid-19.”

He is the author of 18 books, including:

I’ve been a huge fan of Tom’s since I first saw him give a speech around 1997 or so. The story about Motorola’s “six sigma chocolate chip cookies” (read about it here) stuck with me and my recall of that story leads to Tom talking about the risk of any good program becoming codified and bureaucratic, as we discuss early in the podcast.

Highlights of Tom’s background and early career include:

  • Civil Engineering, Cornell
  • US Navy
  • MBA and PhD at Stanford
  • White House / OMB (Nixon)
  • McKinsey

Virtually all Tom’s written and speech material covering the last 15+ years is available — free to download — at tompeters.com and excellencenow.com.

Much of what Tom says will resonate with Lean practitioners — his focus on people, the need for leaders to really love leading people, and Management by Wandering Around (an approach that might be more like Lean “gemba visits” than you might think).

As with his writing, Tom often speaks in ALL CAPS (which I love). With that does come some mild cursing — like a PG-13 movie, but I still need to give it the Apple Podcasts “explicit” rating I do warn you if you are listening in an open workplace with others (and if you are, wear a mask!).

I hope you enjoy the conversation, whether you listen or watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/7KEqp7vJl9w