Tom Paterson’s Legacy
Who is Tom Paterson?
In short he is the developer and founder of the LifePlan and StratOp processes.
While Tom, his processes, innovations, leadership development, team building and transformational strategic work have impacted this country in significant and long lasting ways, he is, in some ways, virtually unknown to the general public.
Tom has been associated with some of the worlds greatest business leaders over the last 60 years. He spent nearly thirty-five years working side by side with Peter Drucker. Those who knew the tandem called Peter the “Business Theorist” and Tom the “Process Practician”. During this time Tom developed his organizational theory of “Managing the Whole”, a vision and process that leads to greater organizational effectiveness.
Tom’s innovative accomplishments are numerous, but highlights include: holding the first patent on the ATM pin technology, developing the world’s first lightweight camcorder, working with the Disney brothers to design and engineer Space Mountain, and being commissioned by Ronald Reagan to open up the Chinese economy. Tom had a successful career with IBM, RCA, and others, before launching his own consulting and facilitation business.
Tom, working with Ted Smith of RCA, reflected upon the sorry state of strategic planning. Too many plans were never truly implemented; instead they ended up in large binders collecting dust on someone’s shelf. It became obvious to them that while Planners planned, that alone did not create action! To become successful, the duo began working with leaders to connect planning with operations and finances. Why? Because leaders want to make sound decisions and take action, not just have a plan.
Through that work, Tom developed StratOp for organizations, and later LifePlan for individuals. It’s no wonder then, that Peter Drucker called Tom, “the greatest process thinker in the world”. StratOp eliminates the expensive long drawn out consultant-driven strategic planning process. He created a process that can be facilitated in 2-3 days, the output of which is a strong plan created by the key constituents within the organization and owned by them because they created it. Those who have to “make it happen” are brought into the process. Planning isn’t something done to them, it is something they do together.
Thousands of organizations such as GM, IBM, RCA, McDonnell Douglas, Ingersoll Rand, Disney, Estee Lauder and others, have experienced the StratOp process over the past five decades. Tom’s ideas and methods have sparked the invention of countless products, systems and services that are the very fabric of our society today and has transformed thousands of lives, being the catalyst to help people and organizations unleash and reach their maximum contribution. StratOp Facilitators help organizations help themselves. Organizations get more than a plan; they get the tools needed to turn the plan into a reality. The StratOp process is fully customizable and can be used for all kinds of team problem-solving efforts in business or in not-for-profit organizations.
In Tom’s book, “Living the Life You Were Meant to Live”, he shares his powerful insights with readers from all walks of life. According to Tom, “In order to see where you are going, you need to gain perspective on where you have been and what you have been gifted to be”. “There are times you need to go to the mountaintop to be able to see the terrain below.”
LifePlan is essentially a strategic operating plan for an individual. It is the process of discovering each person’s unique life and gifts. Most people are not living the life they were meant to live because; they have not had the opportunity to learn who they really are, have spent a life doing “what is expected of them” or they may have become players in someone else’s dream, nor do they fully understand and appreciate the unique natural gifts they have been given. When people find themselves at a crossroad in life and are in distress over “what to do next”, LifePlan can help.
Western culture looks to “speed and efficiency” to achieve most of it’s solutions. LifePlan begins with gaining perspective which provides breakthroughs that “speed and efficiency” miss. To climb a mountain, you must start by walking around its perimeter to gain perspective before heading directly to the mountaintop. The Paterson LifePlan Process helps individuals discover “where they are”, “where they want to go” and provides a clear plan for “how to get there”.
Tom was born in 1925 in New Jersey, and was raised in New Hampshire. Today, Tom lives in Fort Collins, CO. He remains focused on passing on his processes to those gifted and passionate about helping individuals and organizations discover and live their unique purpose. Diane and David are blessed to have had the opportunity to work with, learn from, be taught by and associate with Tom Paterson for several years while working in Fort Collins, CO.