50 Best Tom Peters Quotes on Business and Leadership

Thomas J. Peters, born on November 7, 1942, in Baltimore, is a renowned American business management author best known for “In Search of Excellence,” co-authored with Robert H. Waterman Jr.

Educated at Cornell and Stanford, Peters was influenced by leading academicians. His PhD work impacted Karl Weick’s 1984 article.

A U.S. Navy veteran with Vietnam deployments, Peters also served under Nixon as a drug-abuse advisor.

He played a crucial role at McKinsey & Company before venturing as an independent consultant.


Dubbed a “Quality Guru” by the British DTI, he received the “Thinkers50” Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.

His writings emphasize effective organizational behavior. Peters continues to write and speak, residing in South Dartmouth, MA.

I have picked some of the top quotes by Tom Peters.

Best Tom Peters Quotes

“Listen to Everyone. Ideas come from everywhere.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“Do it, fix it, try it.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“Test fast, fail fast, adjust fast.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“Reward excellent failures. Punish mediocre successes.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“If you’re not confused, you’re not paying attention.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“Excellent firms don’t believe in excellence – only in constant improvement and constant change.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“If not excellence, what? If not excellence now, when?” ~ (Tom Peters).


“There is no such thing as a minor lapse of integrity.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“Ready, fire, aim. Do it! Make it happen! Action counts. No one ever sat their way to success.” ~ (Tom Peters).

Top Tom Peters Quotes

“Quality involves living the message of the possibility of perfection and infinite improvement, living it day in and day out, decade by decade.” ~ (Tom Peters).


“Good managers have a bias for action.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“Leaders win through logistics. Vision, sure. Strategy, yes. But when you go to war, you need to have both toilet paper and bullets at the right place at the right time. In other words, you must win through superior logistics.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“Never, ever rest on your laurels. Today’s laurels are tomorrow’s compost.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“The thing that keeps a business ahead of the competition is excellence in execution.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“The best leaders are the best notetakers, best askers, and best learners.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“Excellence is not an aspiration. Excellence is what you do in the next five minutes.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“The simple act of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“Hire attitude train skills.” ~ (Tom Peters).

Famous Tom Peters Quotes

“Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me, Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“Learning is a matter of intensity not elapsed time.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“Public Speaking is a skill that can be studied, polished, perfected. Not only can you get good at it, you can get damn good at it and it makes a heck of a difference.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“It’s this simple: You are a brand. You are in charge of your brand. There is no single path to success. And there is no one right way to create the brand called You. Except this: Start today. Or else.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“Brand inside is more important than brand outside for sustained success.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“In McKinsey’s world, all of life is one of two things: strategy or organization.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“Dot the i’s, cross the t’s, answer the phones promptly, send out errorless invoices, and in general never forget that the devil is in the details.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“A passive approach to professional growth will leave you by the wayside.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“To meet the demands of the fast-changing competitive scene, we must simply learn to love change as much as we have hated it in the past.” ~ (Tom Peters).

Popular Tom Peters Quotes

“One percent improvement in 1,000 things is better than 1,000% improvement in one thing.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“Organizations exist to serve. Period. Leaders live to serve. Period.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“Celebrate what you want to see more of.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“Smile if it kills you. The physiology of smiling diffuses a lot of anger and angst. It makes your body and soul feel better.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“Don’t ‘tolerate’ mistakes. Embrace them!” ~ (Tom Peters).

“You will be remembered, in the long haul, for the quality of your work, not the quantity of your work. No one evaluates Picasso based on the number of paintings he churned out.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“There are few things that will take you further in life, than your ability to make a good presentation.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“Community organizing is all about building grassroots support. It’s about identifying the people around you with whom you can create a common, passionate cause. And it’s about ignoring the conventional wisdom of company politics and instead playing the game by very different rules.” ~ (Tom Peters).


“You can’t live life without an eraser.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“The magic formula that successful businesses have discovered is to treat customers like guests and employees like people.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“The dominant culture in most big companies demands punishment for a mistake, no matter how useful, small, invisible…” ~ (Tom Peters).

Inspiring Tom Peters Quotes

“Have you set high standards in the past that make it clear what level of performance you demand?” ~ (Tom Peters).

“Customers perceive service in their own unique, idiosyncratic, emotional, irrational, end-of-the-day, and totally human terms. Perception is all there is!” ~ (Tom Peters).

“Communication is everyone’s panacea for everything.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“You can’t think your way out of a box; you’ve got to act.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“TRUST, not technology, is the issue of the decade.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“In today’s economy there are no experts, no ‘best and brightest’ with all the answers. It’s up to each one of us. The only way to screw up is to not try anything.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“A career is a portfolio of projects that teach you new skills, gain you new expertise, develop new capabilities, grow your colleague set, and constantly reinvent you as a brand.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“One size NEVER fits all. One size fits one. Period.” ~ (Tom Peters).

“An ability to embrace new ideas, routinely challenge old ones, and live with paradox will be the effective leader’s premier trait.” ~ (Tom Peters).

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar