Tuesday, November 08, 2005

World Class Thinking to the Power of Four

On Thursday and Friday last week I was fortunate to be one of 900 delegates at a very high profile business conference in the International Convention Centre, Birmingham.

The two day event was called "World Class Thinking to the Power of Four" and the four speakers due to attend were Charles Handy, Gary Hamel, Michael Porter and Tom Peters.

Sadly Tom Peters had a health scare and was not allowed to attend by his doctor. Tom was told that he should not take the flight from America to England.
Happily he is now well.

The conference was excellent and Tom's replacement Jonas Riddersdrale from Sweden was an excellent substitute.

Events such as this always give me food for thought - an opportunity to listen to the' great and the good' and learn about how close, or far off my own thinking is! It was well worth going and I came away with lots of thoughts and ideas that I hope will influence my thinking .

My quick feedback summary of the event follows – not everyone who was there will agree me what the hell – that sounds like life!

Prfessor Gary Hamel – excellent and entertaining talk. Very slick, well argued and delivered at a good pace with plenty of specific examples about change and the pace of things.

Professor Michael Porter – obviously excellent technically but I have to say not my favourite topic – I am not a strategy man – I am more of a 'get on with it pragmatist.' He is very knowledgeable and many will have found his session inspiring – I nearly fell asleep I’m afraid.

Charles Handy – excellent presentation – a pragmatist – told some lovely stories and kept things simple. Very relaxed and experienced speaker. I loved the fact he didn’t use any PowerPoint slides – he even used the ‘old’ system of writing on his overheads – not exactly exciting or passionate but very solid and a highly credible Guru in my view.

Jonas Riddersdrale –Entertaining and different – he used some of Tom Peters material – there were some one liners I recognised from TP presentations. He also had some original stuff from Sweden and other parts of Europe. He was well received by the audience and as a stand in I though he was very good.


Olivier Blanchard said...

Your dinosaur and gazelle thing on TP's blog was hilarious. Perfect analogy.

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Olivier - I liked it too!

Rocky said...

It sounds like it was a great event. I know you must be very disappointed that Tom Peters was unable to there, however, it appears as though the event was successful in spite of his absence.

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Rocky

Yep ... disappopinted about Tom but that is life.

Good news is Tom is back in UK in May 2006 and I will be seeing him then - God willing :-)

Sriram said...


Wow! Must have been one hellova day for u!!! Info overload?? Well, am glad u were amidst great business gurus and I hope u had a lot of 'take-aways' frm the seminar.

About Michael Proter, I must say (from what I have heard & read) that he is one hellova guru and I read somewhere that the world's most famous business-school professor is fed up with CEOs who claim that the world changes too fast for their companies to have a long-term strategy. If you want to make a difference as a leader, you've got to make time for strategy, which I believe is SO DAMN RIGHT & TRUE!

Of course, I do agree that “Plans are nothing, Planning is everything” but the whole premise about planning stems from STRATEGY (a long term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal) and organizations inorder to cope up with change in this competitive world would have to have & implement crystal clear strategies to keep moving forward.

Felix Gerena said...

Lucky you are to attend such an event, Trevor. It´s a pity Tom Peters could not be in Birmingham, he was surely one of the main attractions of the event. Jonas Ridderstrale can work as a substitute for he copies Tom Peters materials time and again. Though I would not consider him an original authority. That´s how the world works, some people just copy and are highly recognized, and others make up new things and get no recognition.

Charles Handy is a wise man, I have read some of his articles and I like his style.

Trevor Gay said...

I guess we all have our favorite heroes in management. Charles Handy was the best of this four as far as I am concerned.

I had been looking forward immenseley to seeing Tom Peters - I have not yet seen him 'live.'

Felix - As regards imitations I am with you - Jonas was very good but much of his materal was re-cycled from others I supect.

Hi Sriram - Michael Porter I am sure is technically brillant and obviously extremely knowledgable but not an inspiring speaker.