Seeing Tom Peters in London

Posted on 22/09/2009


A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity on the 3rd of September to see the legendary Tom Peters speak at the London Business Forum. It was an amazing event, as he took us through his thinking on why the soft stuff is actually really the hard stuff. He even went further and said that his first act as president would be to abolish all MBA schools – interesting comment given the audience. He further emphasized that strategy is execution and that in his experience it is where over 90% of the success is found.

To share the experience with you, I thought we could all participate in an exercise together for the next 5 days, which can start whenever you first read this page. There are four items I would like you to measure, or get someone else to help you measure. After each one I have included a quote from his presentation for context.

  1. How long (in seconds) it takes you to interrupt people when they start talking
    • “A doctor interrupts their patients after … 18 seconds” Source: Jerome Groupman, How Doctors Think
  2. How many times do you ask ‘What do you think’ when a group or individual is presenting information
    • “The four most important words in any organization are … ‘What do you think?’ ” Source: courtesy Dave Wheeler, posted at
  3. How many times do you say thank you in a day?
    • “The deepest human need is the need to be appreciated.” Source: William James
  4. How many times you apologise?
    • “I regard apologizing as the most magical, healing, restorative gesture human beings can make. It is the centerpiece of my work with executives who want to get better.” Source: Marshall Goldsmith, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful

Let’s give this two weeks to allow for everyone to take a count and then I will share with you my counts and tell you Tom’s recommended numbers! Feel free to share your insights and counts over the next two weeks. For his full presentation and the audio it is at this link, it is worth a listen. I found another good one on Youtube as well, that you might find interesting

Also have you checked out the new wiki format? It is very cool, lots of neat upgrades – and you can also ‘follow’ me, which allows you to get updates on when I post and when comments are made – click on my picture below to follow.

I have added my playlist from the evening train, albeit somewhat cooler than last time:

  • La Femme d’Argent – Air
  • Blue Lines – Massive Attack
  • Surface to Air – Chemical Brothers
  • Midnight in a Perfect World – DJ Shadow
  • Little Fluffy Clouds – The Orb
  • It Could be Sweet – Portishead
  • Shadows of Ourselves – Thirvery Corporation
  • Aftermath – Tricky
  • Open Up – Leftfield
  • Trigger Hippie – Morcheeba