Tom's Most Popular Talks
If Socrates had a great sense of humor, huge energy, and amazing stories, if Plato knew modern business and the challenges of your life, if Aristotle had the sensibility of an entrepreneur, tinged with Seinfeld, Leno, and Fallon, you'd have something like Tom Morris on stage. Whether your group is 10 or 10,000 people, Tom can give you the talk of the year, with profound and practical insights you can use, right away. Here, we list some of his most popular topics. For testimonials on how they come across, see the Clients page by clicking above. Preview: From CEOs to front line workers, and college students, people love these sessions!
Tom's recent talks have been given in such diverse spots as Decorah, Iowa, New York, London, Chicago, Hollywood, FL, Indianapolis, San Diego, Las Vegas, Denver, Charleston, Sea Island, Georgia, and Palo Alto, CA.
True Success: The Art of Achievement in Times of Change
This is Tom's most widely requested talk. It's high energy fun, profound, and extremely practical, all at the same time. One major company has asked for this talk more than 60 times, for its various business units. It presents the most universal tools for individual and organizational success, as understood by the great thinkers of the centuries. Many businesses and lives have been changed for the better because of this talk.
We all need ideas we can trust—ideas that have stood the test of time and can help us achieve success in even the most demanding situations. Tom has an unprecedented ability to bring together the wisdom of the ages in a form that people can use right now. This talk presents a simple, powerful and complete framework of seven universal conditions for deeply satisfying, sustainable excellence in all that we do. His now-famous “7 Cs of Success” have fueled extraordinary results in pockets of excellence around the world, and have never been more important than they are today. In a high-energy and entertaining session, Tom will reveal the most fundamental tools for personal and institutional greatness and provide a practical guide for their use every day. This talk leaves people with a new, well-grounded enthusiasm and a determination to use the wisdom they’ve been given. Once they’ve heard it, they'll never be the same.
The 7 Cs of Success
For True Success In Any Endeavor, We Need
C1: A clear CONCEPTION of what we want, a vivid vision, a goal clearly imagined.
C2: A strong CONFIDENCE that we can attain the goal.
C3: A focused CONCENTRATION on what it will take to reach that goal.
C4: A stubborn CONSISTENCY in pursuing our vision.
C5: An emotional COMMITMENT to the importance of what we're doing.
C6: A good CHARACTER to guide us and keep us on a proper course.
C7: A CAPACITY TO ENJOY the process along the way.
Click below for an example of Tom's most basic slides for this talk.
A Winning Culture: The Four Foundations of Greatness
When you take good care of your people, your people take good care of your customers, and your customers take good care of you. The key to it all is a winning culture. So: What creates a great organizational culture? What guides and motivates us to bring our best to every challenge and work powerfully with others every day? Tom shows that the answers to these questions are simple, profound, and transformational. At a time when pressures are high and companies are focusing on the discipline of execution, the main challenge is getting everyone to believe deeply in what they’re doing and to do it with excellence and care every day. As Tom laid out in his classic book If Aristotle Ran General Motors: The New Soul of Business, Aristotle and a few other profound thinkers have revealed four foundations for reaching and maintaining the highest levels of commitment and greatness in our work with other people. It's all about Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and Unity - four things we rarely talk about, and four things that can transform a culture.
In this session, Tom presents those four foundations for a winning culture and offers practical guidelines for putting into practice the greatest wisdom for sustainable greatness. This talk will give you a profound diagnostic tool whose use empowers individuals and organizations in a new way, while strengthening all your most vital relationships beyond what you could have imagined. This is a must-have framework of ideas for leaders at any level, as well as for front line people who need to form strong and resilient client relations.
The Four Foundations are:
Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and Unity.
Tom sums up the four foundations with some concluding advice near the end of a talk.
Plato's Lemonade Stand: Stirring Change Into Something Great
We've all heard the old saying: When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. But no one ever says how to do this. Finally, with the help of the great philosophers, Tom figured it out.
When a major American corporation recently began to go through a period of tumultuous change, top executives knew they had a problem on their hands - How could they keep people focused and upbeat during a very challenging time, while rumors were flying and everyone seemed worried? But they also had an ideal solution. They turned to their favorite philosopher and invited him to create a special talk on how to handle change. The natural reaction of the 700 executives and top managers asked to sit and listen to a talk on this topic, in the midst of their daunting situation, might have been suspicion and genuine cynicism. But Tom won them over completely from the first minute, and gave them an hour of wisdom they could use immediately, delivered in a penetrating and yet humorous way, that drew nothing but rave reviews from everyone present.
Are you going through any sort of major change in your business? Is your industry changing? How are people reacting to the new challenges that are coming their way? Is excitement in the air? Or are too many people worried and negative?
Tom has put together a very wise, engaging, cutting edge, and entertaining presentation on making the most of change. Too many people instinctively become anxious, defensive, and even angry about the changes they face at work and in their lives. Tom draws on the wisdom of the ages to reverse our common emotions about change, and he shows clearly how even unsought and disruptive change can be a precondition for growth, extraordinary accomplishment, and even happiness in our lives.
Here's the feedback from the executive who ran the meeting where Tom first gave this presentation, written ten days after the event:
Tom: You did an outstanding job!! You are the talk of the company right now. I have received numerous calls from other divisions/sectors who heard through the grapevine what a great job you did. Your presentation has made a significant impact on the officers in our sector. We greatly appreciate all of the time and effort you put into making your talk the perfect fit for our audience. I look forward to working with you again in the future. Kelly
Tom has gone on to do this talk for numerous companies and trade associations, and always to great results. It is now the basis for his next nonfiction book.
Bring the wisdom of the ages, with great humor, and a blast of positive energy, into your organization now. Invite Tom to give his talk on change. You’ll be amazed at the changes you see as a result!
Alchemy: The Power to Change
One day Tom got a call. "Our president wants your Lemons to Lemonade talk, but wonders of you could do it without mentioning lemons." Tom thought to himself, "Ah, the sugar water talk," but only said, "Well, that's interesting. Why do you ask?" The caller explained that life and the market was handing their company truck loads of lemons, and they needed tools to deal with the problem, but the president of the company was a bit shy about admitting in public that they faced a very sour situation. He wanted a talk title that was wholly upbeat, but the tools from Tom's Lemonade presentation. What to do?
The answer ended up being fairly simple. Tom drew on an ancient enterprise that allowed a new metaphor to govern his presentation of the tools needed to deal with difficult change. Over many centuries of the human adventure, the quest of the alchemist was to take something ordinary and create out of it something truly extraordinary, or even to take something undesirable, and create something exceptional. There is nothing in our time more ordinary now than the rapid pace of tumultuous change that we increasingly face in so many ways. And it's often, as it first hits us, perceived as strongly undesirable.
Tom created this version of his change talk to deal with the situation, and it was a huge hit.
There are two kinds of change: The change that happens to us, and the change that happens only because of us. How do you respond creatively and powerfully to change that comes your way? How do you best initiate change that needs to be made? As a rare philosopher who is as full of humor and great stories as he is of insights that can change your business and your life, Tom will explain in this talk the changeless wisdom of the ages on dealing well with change. And there are no lemons in sight.
Socrates in Silicon Valley: The Essential Jobs @Work.
The Deep Philosophical Operating System of Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs. What did this man know that we need to know? What were his secrets? What did he do that crosses industries? How can we learn from one of the most unlikely and expansive success stories ever?
Tom digs deep into the myth, mess and magic of Steve Jobs and provides a revolutionary, practical look at what we can adapt from the strange, charismatic and compelling character who basically invented the connected life we all now live. Starting in his parents' garage, Jobs built, in his lifetime, the world's most valuable company. How did he do it? And what can we all do to emulate the best of his practices?
Using great humor, memorable stories and a level of passionate energy that carries on the legacy of Jobs himself, Tom will mesmerize your group and provide the highlight of your meeting.
Steve Jobs was the quintessential California Hippie, with bare feet, long hair, hallucinogenic drugs and a fascination for all things Zen, who believed that the right sort of diet would grant him an exemption from the bathing habits of normal people. And yet, as we know, against all odds, and despite a great many personal flaws, idiosyncrasies, and imperfections, Jobs became a pioneering business visionary and hugely accomplished leader, who ended up practically in a class by himself. The real story of how he did it can now spark people and companies across all industries to new levels of world-class achievement.
Tom has a new take on the amazing success of this modern business icon, and how it can give fresh guidance to leaders at all levels in organizations. Drawing on the principles that catapulted Jobs to the top of the tech world and helped him build Apple into the world's most valuable company, Tom lays out strategies, tactics and actionable takeaways that imbue leaders with the skills necessary to inspire innovation and success and explains how these principles work in a way that no one else can with a level of insight that will leave people immensely excited about trying some of these powerful new ideas right away.
Since the untimely death of Steve Jobs, you've heard all the stories. But now you can bring into your group the empowering perspectives, attitudes and actions that he lived every day and that can now take you to a new level of leadership excellence and success.
Tom's Keynote Talk to be Featured:
A client's video production company caught Tom backstage, early in the year, after a talk he had just given on the success and leadership secrets of Steve Jobs. The short interview below resulted. Click for six minutes of philosophical reflection on the visionary who brought us Apple, and how this talk came to be.
Tom talks informally about Steve Jobs, in the Green Room backstage:
Coming Soon: The Art of Transformation
When we think of transformation in business, we most often think about turnaround artists, who take something that's floundering or failing and transform it into something that can flourish, or at least perform well. That's the form of the classic transformation story in business. But one of the most overlooked and under appreciated things any business can do is to operate from a platform of great success and launch transformation from there. The winning companies of the future will master exactly this.
Philosopher Tom Morris has researched what it takes for such unusual transformation to happen. And this is not about bad to good, or even good to great. It's about great to extraordinary, even legendary. And it's something the most extraordinary and legendary minds in all of human history have understood.
In this talk, Tom will help you understand the range of forces that hold successful companies back, keeping them from the next levels of astonishing results that their current high accomplishments could be leveraged into. This is a form of leverage understood by Archimedes, when he said, "Give me a place to stand, and a lever long enough, and I can move the world."
This presentation will start a new conversation and help you see how to move your organization into new forms or levels of success, using the wisdom of the ages to leverage your own ideas and energies.
Leadership Magic: Harry Potter and the Wisdom of the Wizards
Great stories have always touched on great ideas. The most surprising thing about the phenomenally successful Harry Potter books may be the amount of real wisdom they contain for excellence in business and life. Tom has been able to extract that wisdom in a way that's profound, engaging, funny, and very practical. The talk is based on his bestselling book If Harry Potter Ran General Electric: Leadership Wisdom from the World of the Wizards.
The number of adults who have read the Potter stories with pleasure and enthusiasm is perhaps unrivalled in the history of books initially identified as children’s literature. Tom is able to show why. In this talk, he reveals that the Harry Potter stories aren’t really about the power of magic at all. They’re about the nearly magical power of the classic virtues – the qualities praised from ancient times by such great thinkers as Plato and Aristotle, including: intelligence, courage, determination, persistence, resourcefulness, flexibility, creativity, fidelity, kindness, and friendship.
Some of the greatest leadership lessons of modern times can be learned in imaginative and powerful ways from the world of the wizards. Their examples are stunningly insightful and vastly more memorable than what can be found in volumes of typical business studies. Tom's presentation does not presuppose any familiarity with the details of J.K. Rowling's stories, but is self-contained, and is of equal interest to enthusiastic Potter fans as well as to people just puzzled over why all the worldwide hoopla has been generated by these stories. As the workforce begins to fill with young adults raised on the Harry Potter stories, Tom's insights will begin to have an even broader impact than ever.
What IS a Balanced Life, and How Do We Get One?
This is Tom's innovative talk on life balance. His first main point is that perfect balance is not an option. His second is that balance is a dynamic dance of adaptation and alteration, based on what you value. The word 'balance' is a verb before it's a noun. Understanding what that means will bring emotional liberation and a new focus on our work.
The first group to request this topic was a big regional hospital whose executives and administrators were in need of more balance. The talk was a hit, and the ideas resonated long afterwards.
Things are better with balance, even when the urgencies of the moment demand terribly unbalance focus and monomaniacal commitment. An underlying dynamic process of rebalancing can make even the most extreme challenges work out better. Invite Tom to speak on this topic and give him a chance to show you how.
Tom customizes every talk to the group he's addressing. But even more customization is available. Nothing is out of bounds to a philosopher. Give Tom the topic of your concern, and he'll come up with a new perspective based on ideas that have stood the test of time.
Clients have requested talks on such topics as:
A Philosophy of Philanthropy,
What Makes for a Great Partnership,
The Truth About Collaborative Excellence,
The Power of Social Connections, and
The Ethics of Decision Making.
And Coming Soon - Curiosity: The Driver of Innovation.
The result has always been a hit.