Robert Tomasko is the Director of the Social Enterprise Program at American University’s School of International Service, which offers one of the first Masters degrees in social entrepreneurship. He also holds a faculty appointment as a Professorial Lecturer, teaching graduate courses in leading social innovation, corporate social responsibility, effective activism, leadership, NGO management, and social entrepreneurship. He also is an author, management consultant, and frequent speaker at management conferences throughout the world.
Over 100,000 copies of his books have been sold, and they have been translated into Chinese, Dutch, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish. His latest book is Bigger Isn't Always Better. It redefines what growth is all about. It demonstrates that real and lasting business growth is more concerned with progress than bigness, and is about reaching full potential, not maximum size. It blends insights from economics and psychology to spotlight the hallmarks shared by leaders of successful and sustainable growthinitiatives.
The Washington Post calls this book “a powerful antidote to Wall Street’s poisonous fixation with gigantism and growth. The book is chock full of good tips and sound advice for managers of any sized operation.” A Harvard Business School review said Bigger Isn’t Always Better is “a useful counterpoint to those who favor the steroids approach to business.” Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Yale School of Management’s senior associate dean, calls it: “an important, wise and practical book.” Babson College President Leonard Schlesinger calls it “a worthwhile read” that is “an insightful and useful antidote to the overly simplistic ‘how-to’ guides.” Tom Peters says it is “marvelous.”
He has written three other well-received business books. Go For Growth, challenges managers to commit their businesses to growth rather than endless cycles of cost cutting and restructuring. In Downsizing: Reshaping Corporation for the Future he urges corporations to eliminate bureaucracy and unneeded work. His Rethinking the Corporation shows managers how to be creators and designers of their organizations - not just operators and cutters. Library Journal called this "one of the best business books of the year."
Mr. Tomasko has spoken about the ideas in these books to several hundred business audiences on six continents, including events sponsored by the American Management Association, Brown Brothers Harriman, Center for Creative Leadership, Confederation of Indian Industry, Conference Board, Daimler-Benz, Edison Electric Institute, Food Marketing Institute, Grocery Manufacturers Association, Hewlett Packard, IBM Brasil, Institute for Management Studies, Management Centre Europe, MOL, National Rural Electric Cooperatives, Newspaper Association of America, NYK Lines, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, Portugal Telecom, President’s Association Canada, Strategic Leadership Forum, Singapore Institute of Management, South African Institute of Personal Management, and US Department of the Treasury.
His experience as a management consultant has included 20 years with Arthur D. Little, Inc. and a partnership at another major international consulting firm, now part of Mercer Management Consulting/Oliver Wyman. He has also been an external advisor to Bain & Co. and Roland Berger. He has advised clients throughout the world on issues of organization and strategy, including Coca-Cola, Exxon, Ford, Marriott, Mitsubishi, Telstra, Yamaha, chemical manufacturers in France and Japan, oil companies in Peru and Thailand, and four of the “Baby Bell" regional telephone companies. His public sector clients include the Auditor General of Canada, US Federal Aviation Administration, US Navy, and UNICEF.
He has helped businesses downsize by redeploying surplus talent, and was part of the Arthur D. Little consulting team that advised Toyota to set-up manufacturing in the U.S. He surveyed the worldwide state-of-the-art in executive education and used this to assist Infosys, one of India’s leading software developers, create a program led by its CEO to develop its next generation of business leaders. He has assisted a mid-western retailer find ways to compete successfully with Wal-Mart. He led an Arthur D. Little, Inc. study of the impact of the US pharmaceutical industry on Puerto Rico’s socioeconomic development, and for seven years he evaluated the performance of the American companies who were signatories of the Sullivan Principles on how well they violated the apartheid laws of South Africa.
For seven years Mr. Tomasko served on the board of directors of Right Associates while it was a rapidly growing NASDAQ company voted one of the "best small companies in America" for four years in a row by Forbes. He chaired the board's Compensation and Finance Committee and led its Succession Planning Committee. He was also a director of a privately held Canadian retailer. Earlier in his career he raised money for Carl Stokes, the first African American mayor of a major US city, and worked at TRW Inc. and the National Urban Coalition to develop programs involving corporations in addressing urban poverty.
Mr. Tomasko's articles have appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and he has been quoted in Business Week, Fortune, Forbes and many other business periodicals. He is a contributing author to the reference book Business: The Ultimate Resource. He is a member of the board of directors of StartingBloc, a competitive fellowship program for young social entrepreneurs that offers institutes in social innovation in cooperation with leading business and public policy schools. He is also a member of the President’s Council of Common Cause.
He holds a masters degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education where he studied organizational learning, and a bachelor of science from Case Institute of Technology. He worked as a research assistant at Harvard Business School and for a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Mr. Tomasko is a member of the Academy of Management and the Association for Psychological Science.
"Your comments and observations were very thoughtful. You covered such a broad range of issues, that everyone seemed to lift his own 'nugget of wisdom' out of your remarks. They provided excellent perspective and stimulation for our subsequent discussions - exactly what we were looking for."
"A lot of management gurus invoke the language of 'empowerment,' 'teamwork,' and 'reengineering.' Robert Tomasko is one of the few who actually know what those words mean."
"You were a major contributor to our meeting. Know that because of you we are better able to operate in, as you would expect, a difficult market. You have helped us grow."
"Your talk was a super-success!!!! You obviously hit a real response chord among a large segment of the audience. Our customers in attendance found your remarks stimulating and thought-provoking."