Tuesday, November 16

Is Tom Peters insane?!? 

From a Tom Peters subscriber email yesterday: "Tom Peters, management's "guru of gurus" and best-selling author of In Search of Excellence and, most recently, Re-imagine! Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age, has announced the reorganization of The Tom Peters Company to more effectively serve the corporate market for enterprise transformation services and leadership development.

This re-invention results in the formation of two new entities. One, The Tom Peters Company, chaired by Peters, is devoted exclusively to implementing Tom's ideas about dramatic enterprise reformation. The other, Bluepoint Leadership Development, will focus on the development of outstanding organization leaders through education, training, and coaching."


Isn't this the same guy who is always ranting (brilliantly) about brand and WOW! and revolution in the business world? How revolutionary is "Bluepoint Leadership Development" - and isn't Tom just adding to the noise of commodity training and consulting firms doing commodity work at commodity prices? My guess is that he's having a tough time selling to the middle of Fortune 500 companies with premium-priced training services (like The Leadership Challenge seminars and other off-the-shelf materials that his corps of trainers flies all over to deliver). At the same time, he still commands $60,000 per speech. Thus, to address the disconnect (and keep the keynotes astronomically priced, while making the training more affordable), he needs to separate his name from the lower-cost offering.


Let me take a page from the restaurant business. The finest restaurant in Philadelphia is Le Bec Fin owned by Georges Perrier. The prix fixe lunch is $40 per person, while the prix fixe dinner is triple that price. Surprise: The menu is, for the most part, identical. Dinner is a status symbol. Lunch is an experience (an incredible, delicious - and affordable - experience!). But Monsieur Georges does not rename the restaurant at lunchtime to "The Bluepoint Diner." It's sort of an in-the-know thing. On your 10th wedding anniversary, you take the wife to dinner at Le Bec Fin. When you want to surprise her for no reason, take her to lunch there. Same food, same service, same name, 1/3 the price.

Oh, and guess how they build up their dinner business? You got it - the affordable lunch. So, in my humble opinion, Tom Peters just took a huge misstep in renaming his low-end "restaurant." Sometimes, the last thing we can afford to maintain in business is E-G-O.

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