Peter Sheahan Profile

Founder & Group CEO of Karrikins Group, Peter Sheahan is known internationally for his innovative business thinking and thought leadership.

Peter has advised leaders from companies as diverse as Apple, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Hyundai, IBM, Pfizer, Wells Fargo, and Cardinal Health. He is the author of 7 books, including Flip, Generation Y, Making it Happen and, his latest, Matter.

One of the very earliest analysts to recognize the revolution in the workplace caused by Generation Y, Peter is in enormous demand for his expertise in change management and employee relationships, particularly with relation to generational change. His groundbreaking book, Generation Y: Thriving (and Surviving) with Generation Y at Work is required reading for business leaders.

Peter’s consulting practice has been employed by the most prestigious of brands, including News Corporation, Google, Coca-Cola, L’Oreal, Harley-Davidson and Ernst & Young. They have chosen him for his ability to move their corporate thinking on so that it is ready for the challenges of today and tomorrow. His popularity is evidenced by the fact that he has given more than 2000 presentations to over 300,000 people across the world.

Continuing to build on his Generation Y work, Peter’s new book, FL!P: How To Turn Everything You Know on its Head–and Succeed Beyond Your Wildest Imaginings explains the dramatic changes which have occurred as a result of Generation Y and the ways in which business can be ready for the next round of transformations.

Beginning his career in accountancy, only to leave after eight days, frustrated with the lack of inspiration, Peter became General Manager of a multi-million dollar Sydney hotel at just 19 years old. He realized that many of the hotel’s young employees needed help to fit into the world of work, and this became the inspiration for his hugely successful programs.

Nowadays Peter works on both sides of the fence; he has helped more than 100,000 Generation Y’ers to see how they can maximize their value in the workplace, but he also assists businesses in adapting themselves to the challenges and opportunities that the generation presents.

Peter has delivered more than 2,500 presentations to over 500,000 people in 20 different countries, and he has been named one of the 25 Most Influential Speakers in the World by the National Speakers Association, and is the youngest person ever to be inducted into their industry Hall of Fame.

  • View Extended/Alternate Bio

    Founder & Group CEO of Karrikins Group, Peter Sheahan is internationally known for his innovative business thinking and thought leadership. With over 120 staff, in 24 cities, across nine countries, Sheahan knows firsthand the challenges of growing a business in the rapidly-changing marketplace.

    Peter, and his firm Karrikins Group, have worked with some of the world’s leading brands, including Apple, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Hyundai, IBM, Pfizer, Wells Fargo, and Cardinal Health. He is the author of seven books including business best-sellers Flip, Generation Y, Making it Happen, and Matter.

    Peter has delivered more than 2,500 presentations to over 500,000 people in 20 different countries. He has been named one of the 25 Most Influential Speakers in the World by the National Speakers Association and is the youngest person ever to be inducted into their industry Hall of Fame.

    Longer Bio:

    Peter Sheahan is a best-selling author, successful business consultant and internationally acclaimed speaker with a reputation for transforming organizations by turning traditional paradigms on their head. Appreciated globally for his cutting-edge insight into workforce trends and generational change, Peter was among the first to uncover the Generation Y revolution in the workplace in his groundbreaking book Generation Y: Thriving (and Surviving) with Generation Y at Work.

    Before even reaching thirty years of age, he built a multi-million dollar consulting practice, attracting top-caliber clients such as News Corporation, Google, Coca-Cola, L’Oreal, Harley Davidson and Ernst & Young. These global brands, among others, have engaged Peter to bring their organizations up to speed on issues of generational change, workplace trends, and rapidly changing employee and consumer expectations.

    Peter’s presentations shift leaders out of the world as it used to exist and into the world as it exists today. He has delivered more than 2,000 presentations to a combined audience of more than 300,000 people in eight different countries. His clients describe his entertaining presentations as “thought provoking”, “insightful” and “inspiring”.

    Peter’s new book, FL!P: How To Turn Everything You Know on Its Head – and Succeed Beyond Your Wildest Imaginings (William Morrow, April 2008), focuses on the four forces of change which are transforming the business landscape. Building on his extensive work on Generation Y, in this book Peter explains the dramatic impacts that changes in technology, consumer market trends, demographics, and social attitudes (the very same changes that made Gen Y what they are) are having on business. Examining the key ‘flips’ leaders need to adopt for the future, this book is both a compelling account of changes that have occurred, and a toolkit for future-proofing your operation against changes to come.

    Sheahan’s success is driven by his ability to identify areas of untapped potential within organizations, develop the right thought processes and skills required to convert that potential into performance, then engage with key individuals at all levels, motivating them to make it a reality.

    Peter graduated in the top one-percent of students before starting his career in a large international accounting firm. Finding the environment uninspiring, he left his corporate post after only eight days to clean toilets in an Irish pub. Within 18 months, at only 19 years of age, Peter was General Manager of a multi-million dollar Sydney Hotel employing over 30 staff. It was during this time that Peter discovered that many young employees were struggling to make a successful transition from the classroom to work. Peter saw an opportunity to educate young people to apply their skills and talents in a way that was profitable for business, while providing the next generation with a skill-set to sell themselves to prospective employers.

    Since then, Peter has worked with over 100,000 Gen Y-ers in more than 1,500 workshops, seminars and focus groups sessions. While Peter continues to work with this Generation in an educational setting, his focus has since shifted to helping companies understand the markedly different needs and expectations of Generation Y in the workplace. It is his real world experience, coupled with the fact that he is a Gen Y-er himself that makes Peter one of the most sought after keynote speakers in the world on the topics of Generation Y and counter-intuitive thinking.

    Sheahan is a unique and inspiring consultant and corporate speaker whose ideas and experiences are changing the face of the business world.

Peter Sheahan Speaking Videos

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Peter Sheahan's Speech Descriptions

Using his consulting expertise and unrivaled workplace analysis, Peter Sheahan delivers a series of speeches which are essential listening for any leaders who want to reach and then remain on the cutting edge of business. He examines the forces of change that have completely redefined the global marketplace and offers a proactive philosophy that will make your business a change leader, not a follower. All of Peter’s programs can be totally customized for your target audience.

Peter’s expertise as one of the first to identify the challenges and potential of Generation Y makes his talks essential listening for anyone who aspires to take a market share of the $200 billion they spend each year or the $17.8 trillion they will eventually inherit. He lays out the new perspectives and definitions that you will have to take into account if your branding, sales and leadership are to appeal to this new generation.

Another area in which Peter provides fascinating speeches is the ways in which you can find opportunities in a market downturn. Basing his presentation on his bestselling book Fl!p he shows that those who develop their understanding of the changing expectations of customers and the workforce can not only withstand the changes wrought by the financial crisis but also can actually change their market for their own benefit.

Customized Programs
Special needs? We understand! People don’t want choice – they want what they want. Contact us to discuss how Peter can tailor the above presentations to suit your specific needs.

MATTER: Finding opportunity in disruption to create more value and become the obvious choice
As the pace of commoditization accelerates and the emergence of technological disruption threatens our existing business models, we must find ways to remain relevant and differentiated in the hearts and minds of our customers! This inspiring, case-study rich session will show you how to find opportunity in disruption to reverse the downward spiral of commoditization and matter more to your customers than your competition. This journey will require that you:

• Understand the difference between value creation and value extraction
• Move towards the very disruption that challenges you and your customers
• Elevate your Impact in the Five Critical Dimensions that clients and customers value most during times of rapid change
• Elevate your Perspective by learning at the ‘Edge of Disruption’ and becoming a thought leader in the business models of tomorrow
• Elevate your Relationships to position you not just as a trusted adviser but as a strategic partner for your customers
• Act in a way worthy of your desired leadership position

FL!P: How to turn challenge into opportunity and disruption into competitive advantage
The fact that the world is changing is not new to anyone. The more important question is, what do we need to do in the face of change? Whether you are dealing with disruptive technology, shifts in customer expectations, or changes in regulation, as a leader you must apply an innovative approach to effectively navigate disruptive forces. In this provocative, research-based session, we will inspire you to:

• Embrace change and break free from thinking that made you successful in the past but could undermine your success in the future
• Re-think competitive advantage and leverage intangibles to manufacture tangible points of difference in your market
• Improve your margins by driving non-sexy innovation and finding new ways to innovate across the value-chain
• Turn chaos into opportunity by leading the market in response to new regulation, customer expectations, and technological disruption
• Take the intelligent risks required to innovate and drive change within your organization and industry

ACCELERATED GROWTH: Building organizations and teams capable of sustaining growth through a culture of innovation, courageous leadership, and aligned individuals
As the cliché suggests, you are either growing or you are dying. But in today’s marketplace, it’s no longer about growing or not. It is about growing faster today than we did yesterday, and doing so in spite of the larger base we now operate. In this engaging, case-study rich session, we will unlock the keys to accelerating growth in your team and your organization in order to:

• Help you understand the difference between arbitrary double-digit growth targets and true ambition
• Define the levers you can pull to create a growth-enabled culture defined by innovation, excellence, and accountability
• Provoke you to reflect on the critical role you play as a leader to unleash the necessary appetite for intelligent risk-taking and action orientation required for growth
• Introduce you to the three critical questions required to ensure market relevance and position your organization for accelerated growth
• Orient your thinking towards alignment and the reduction of friction inside your organization

Are your leaders getting the most from their people? Are you attracting and retaining the best possible talent? In Talent Revolution, best-selling author, and architect of dozens of powerful human capital strategies for organizations around the world, Peter Sheahan’s case-study rich session will:

• Help you understand the changing expectations of talent so you can transform organization into a magnet for smart and engaged people
• Explore the changing nature of leadership and outline new models for developing capability in your organization, and driving the alignment of people and strategy
• Share proven approaches to driving collaboration inside and outside your 4 walls and harness the discretionary efforts of people on and off your payroll
• Give you direct insight into what some of the world’s best companies are doing to win the war for talent

In today’s hyper competitive world talent is your source of competitive advantage. this session will put you on the cutting-edge of this critical strategic issue.


Making It Happen: Unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit and turning your good ideas into great results...
There is no shortage of ideas in the world. There is a shortage of people with the ability to transform those ideas into reality. Combining the need for imagination and action, ‘Making it Happen’ will go deep into the secrets of positioning ideas, products and services in a way that makes people not only pay attention, but to part with their time, money and energy. There is no point having a new idea, developing your new strategy or embarking on a journey of transformation if your people can’t make it happen in the real world.

Making Money in the Cracks: Counter- Intuitive Strategies for Finding and Exploiting New Market Opportunities
Unleash innovation in your company by knowing how to find the opportunity in the “white space”. Inspire leaders to take the risks necessary to make money in the white space and discover creative solutions to business problems by facilitating interdisciplinary thought. Attendees will learn how to build structures that not only generate, but shine light on the best ideas in your business and how to break the cultural norms that squash the innovative new ideas you need to thrive.

Moving the Market: Accelerate your impact by influencing how and why buyers make decisions
Ensure that your sales process is sophisticated enough for today’s buyer by capitalizing on the science behind the way people think, act and buy. Learn how the world’s most profitable companies avoid competing on price, and how you can too.

Peter Sheahan on Speaking

…There are massive amounts of untapped potential in every organization on earth. If we could create more courageous and creative leaders in these organizations, we could literally change the world for the better.

SPEAKING.COM: What do you want people to learn/take away from your presentations?

SHEAHAN: Primarily, I want the experience to inspire people to take the risks necessary to have an extraordinary impact on their companies, their clients, and the people and communities in which they exist. I believe that there are massive amounts of untapped potential in every organization on earth. If we could create more courageous and creative leaders in these organizations, we could literally change the world for the better.

Practically speaking, I want the content to guide their path. The uncertainty and ambiguity we all face, and the personal fear we have as a result, paralyzes us from taking action. I aim to do more than just inspire my audience; I shine a light on specific strategies and practices, which will yield consistent and positive results for them, so that people will be more likely to take action after one my sessions. It is for this reason that my sessions are so content rich, customized, and provocative.

SPEAKING.COM: What kind of special prep work do you do prior to an event? How do you prepare for your speaking engagements?

SHEAHAN: I am very proud of the fact that I have been able to build a reputation for deep levels of customization. The number one comment bureaus and event planners receive from clients is that I seem to know more about their industry than they do and that I invested the time and effort to really understand their world and ensure my advice and insight were applicable to them. As a result, they say, the material carries more weight and credibility, and overall the session is more impactful.

In order to do this, we have a very rigorous process that includes briefing, content discovery, analyses, and custom presentation development. On average it takes at least 24 hours of high-level executive time, and dozens more from the collective team involved.

It’s not uncommon for my “presentation folder” to have 500 pages of articles, PowerPoint presentations, white papers on an industry, etc. And that is to say nothing of the tens of thousands of pages and research that already exist from our work in the space for over 15 years across 20-plus countries. I have access to this information because my company Karrikins Group has worked with countless companies, across multiple sectors, all over the world. As a result, we have deep expertise and a massive repertoire of experiences and research we can leverage throughout our process.

Here is what we do:

SPEAKING.COM: Have you had any particularly memorable speaking engagements / unusual situations arise while on the road?

SHEAHAN: Ha, yes. I was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and was fortunate enough to be staying in a large suite on the top floor. A penthouse of sorts, or perhaps a Honeymoon Suite, one might say.

Well it turns out there was a matching suite on the other side of the hall, with a room number just ONE away from mine. What’s worse, is somehow the front desk cut the identical key to my room, as for across the hall.

I turned in early since I was speaking the next day, only to be disturbed shortly after midnight by a very active, inebriated, and recently married couple looking to consecrate their vowels. Let’s just say, they were as shocked as me when the groom threw his new wife passionately onto the bed – a bed I happened to be sleeping in.

Now that is a moment I will never forget.

SPEAKING.COM: What types of audiences would most benefit from your message?

SHEAHAN: Senior leaders and entrepreneurs. The vast majority of my insights apply to strategy, disruption, and transformation, so the message is most impactful when audience members are in a position of authority where they can make the decisions and take the necessary risks that I discuss in my sessions.

SPEAKING.COM: Which of your keynote speaking topics are your favorites and why?

SHEAHAN: Flip, and of course, Matter.

Matter, because it highlights specific areas of opportunity that emerge from change and disruption and provides a roadmap to turning those opportunities into value.

Flip, because it deals specifically with how organizations need to respond to disruption, and transform their companies.

Matter and Flip bring together powerful IP that can show a client how to find opportunity in disruption, how to exploit that in the marketplace, and how, by breaking free from the status quo, they can transform their organization to execute on it sustainably over time.

Around the same time, I was feeling a values conflict emerging inside me – a desire to do more meaningful work.

SPEAKING.COM: What inspired you to start doing speaking engagements?

SHEAHAN: I was leading a successful hotel and restaurant in Australia but had been repeatedly frustrated by the lack of employment readiness of the “bright young things” I was hiring to tend bar, wait tables, and keep the place secure. Many of them were college kids and super bright.

Around the same time, I was feeling a values conflict emerging inside me – a desire to do more meaningful work. I am all about lubricating the social lives of the 20 somethings, but this was not what my life was going to be about. That search led me to a seminar by the now late Jim Rohn. I bought the cheapest ticket I could find, behind a cement pylon no less, and I was mildly cynical to be honest.

The experience was transformative. The months that followed were fundamentally different for me personally and professionally. That one hour speech had a meaningful impact on my life.

The idea came to me to bring that experience into schools to solve the employment skills challenge I was facing and Karrikins Group, as we now know it, was born.

Let’s just say, engaging 16-year-olds on a Friday afternoon in a hot school gymnasium was a great training ground for cynical executives in a conference room.

SPEAKING.COM: How do you keep your audience engaged and actively listening during your keynotes? Do you use case studies, personal stories and/or in your speeches?

SHEAHAN: I use case studies that include the stories and drama behind them. I tell stories, but they are about successful strategies and initiative by real work companies. I want people to see actual examples of what I am challenging them to do, as opposed to spouting unproven theories or using my personal adventures in business and life as a metaphor for achievement.

As the result of a highly customized, very provocative and research rich presentation I delivered, we were able to get a critical mass of members onboard and the entire multi-billion dollar industry will be better for it.

SPEAKING.COM: What are some of the successes you’ve helped clients achieve?

SHEAHAN: A recent example is an association client whose members operate in a rapidly emerging but high risk health and human consumption market. At present, they are mostly unregulated but consumer sentiment and legislative appetite is changing and with it their regulatory reality.

They had a once in an industry lifetime chance to get ahead of this change and self-regulate. They needed massive levels of buy in and commitment from their membership in order for that to happen in an authentic way. If they did it right, and set a new standard in the industry, they would be able to guide and lead the development of the regulation instead of having it enforced upon them by outside parties.

They had failed to get enough support to move the needle on this issue for over seven years. However, as the result of a highly customized, very provocative and research rich presentation I delivered, we were able to get a critical mass of members onboard and the entire multi-billion dollar industry will be better for it. For that level of impact to be catalyzed in 90 minutes is a powerful idea. And considering the underlying purpose of our work at Karrikins Group, it makes this a very memorable engagement indeed.

What was memorable though is not just the impact but how nervous I was in advance. Exclusive Interview with Peter Sheahan
Competitive Strategy with Peter Sheahan
In this interview, Peter Sheahan discusses:
  • How to become "the obvious choice" in your industry.
  • The proven benefits of competing on value instead of price.
  • Research-based strategies that create greater value for customers and clients.
    Read the Full Interview
  • "We are facing unprecedented levels of disruption in almost every industry imaginable. Competition and therefore strategy look different today than they have in the past."
    - Peter Sheahan

    What People are Saying about Seeing Peter Speak

    Rating Entries

    “Peter, you amaze me. Your ability and willingness to customize material that resonates with audiences and reinforces brand goals is incredible. As the executive producer of countless conferences for owners, general managers and directors of sales for the Hilton portfolio of brands, I’ve hired speakers that range from ex-presidents to mountain climbers to Nobel Laureate economists. You deliver more bang for the buck than all of them! Your performance for my client last week was right on target, and the material was 90 per cent new from the material you used with another of my clients just ten months ago. Thanks for always helping me look good and deliver results for my clients!”
    Jane O. Pierotti,
    Counterpoint, Inc.

    “For the last few years, News Corporation America has been engaging Peter Sheahan to transform the way its leaders think about their business, and the talent within it. From the creative′s in the editing rooms of LA, to the Chairman himself in New York, Peter has had a profound impact on this company. There is no shortage of people who can entertain an audience. There is also no shortage of academics, conducting insightful research. It is very rare, however, to find someone who is engaging on the platform and whose work is clearly based on ground-breaking research and genuine insight into what makes a business and its leaders successful in today′s uncertain market place.
    Peter Sheahan is one of those people. Arguably the world leading expert in generational change, I have no hesitation recommending Peter to any organization looking to drive innovation deeper in their company, and wanting to inspire their leaders to think differently and take the necessary risk to future-proof the business.”
    Tiffany LaBanca,
    Senior Vice President, Internal Communications
    News Corporation

    “Peter joined us in Seattle to film a series of short videos to educate managers across Microsoft about generational change and it impact on the way we do business. His recordings were jam packed full of energy, insight and practical strategies any leader could use.
    Peter has built an excellent reputation around the world as the leader in his field, and our partnership together has proven this to me personally. I have no hesitation recommending Peter to any business looking to understand their new customers and staff, and to future proof their organization against the inevitable change they bring.”
    Maryann Prouty,
    Global Program Manager – MACH
    Microsoft Corporation

    “Peter has worked with some of our most senior leaders, almost all of our North American distribution partners and some of our most edgy businesses such as Webex too. Peter understands not only the forces of change in the modern business landscape, but the mindset the leader needs to adapt to future proof themselves against that change. His sessions are content rich, extremely thought provoking and inspiring all at the same time.
    Peter can be relied upon to deliver genuine insight that moves his audience to action. These are exciting, and of course challenging times. Peter is just the right kind of thinker to help organizations profit from the opportunities which inevitably arise in such a turbulent economic environment.”
    Naomi Chavez Peters,
    Communications & Development Director
    Cisco Systems, Inc.

    “Peter Sheahan is a sharp business mind. He understands the business model itself, and the role talent plays in driving its success. A long-way from the group hug style approach to talent that plagues many advisers in this space, Peter will cut the heart of what makes you a great place to work, and outline the best strategies for telling the world. He has a clear understanding of what drives human behaviour, and always offers a thoroughly researched perspective on your main competitors, and where you are positioned in the mind of the people you want to attract and retain.
    Whether it is strategic guidance, or creative stimulation Peter Sheahan is a powerful partner on your journey to building a powerful employer brand.”
    Amanda Fleming,
    Chief People Officer
    Pizza Hut

    “Thank you for your thought provoking presentation at Google′s HQ in Mountain View A number of Google staffers reached out to say how much they enjoyed your thought/discussion provoking presentation. You gave us great insight into the minds of literally hundreds of potential Googlers. For us to better understand how to motivate and develop that talent will certainly be key to our continued success.”
    Sue Polo,
    Engineering and Operations Staffing Manager

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    Books by Peter Sheahan:

    MATTER: Move Beyond the Competition, Create More Value and Become the Obvious Choice

    How do you become the obvious choice in the hearts and minds of your customers, employees, and community? The answer is value. You either create more value than your competitors or you don’t. The more important question is how?

    In this case study-rich, and highly insightful book, Peter Sheahan and Julie Williamson PhD unpack for you the results of a multi-year, multi-industry study which answers the following questions:
    • What constitutes value in the mind of your most important customers?
    • Where are opportunities to create more value found?
    • What capabilities are needed in your organization to find and exploit those opportunities over and over again, even as the market changes and disruption continues?

    You will be given a road map to finding your most valuable edge of disruption, develop the tools for building the relationships required to influence and partner with the right customers and clients, and find the inspiration and courage to lean into complexity and solve the higher order problems your clients face.

    MAKING IT HAPPEN: Turning your Good Ideas into Great Results

    The world is not short of ideas, but it is short of people who know how to carry them out.

    Making It Happen unravels the process of taking a good idea and turning it into a successful venture. Peter Sheahan guides the reader through the five competencies that will enable you understand and utilize the forces that drive buyers’ behavior, break through mental barriers and effectively position your offer in the market. Whether you are looking to start a business, get promoted or launch a social movement, this book will streamline your thinking so you can finally turn your good ideas into great results.

    The five competencies are:
    • Packaging: Turning your aspiration into a commercial offer
    • Positioning: Aligning your offer with a market need
    • Influence: Convincing the buyer to buy what he or she needs from you, NOW
    • Acceleration: Rapidly increase demand for what you offer with proportionately less time and effort
    • Reinvention: Expanding your impact into new and exciting areas

    FL!P: How to Turn Everything You Know on Its Head – and Succeed Beyond Your Wildest Imagining

    The thinking that has made us successful to date will not in the future; in many cases, it will hinder us. The expectations of customers and staff are changing rapidly and leaders need to keep pace. Fl!p will show them how.

    Emphasizing a new philosophy for leadership, Fl!p will offer a counterintuitive approach to innovation and change, and inspire leaders to take the intelligent risks required to find and exploit new value in the coming years.

    Specifically it addresses the following challenging ideas:
    • Action Creates Clarity — To move forward, you must act in spite of ambiguity
    • Fast, Good, Cheap: Pick 3 — The acceleration of competitive advantages into competitive necessities
    • Superficial Is Anything But — The emergence of intangibles as the only source of sustainable competitive advantage
    • Business Is Personal — The emergence of relationships and connectivity in a world of data and information overload
    • Find It On The Fringe — To win mass-market success, be courageous and seek genuine differentiation on the fringe of mainstream positioning and practices
    • To Get Control, Give It Up — Embrace new business models and leadership styles anchored in influence and trust, not compliance and control

    Generation Y

    Peter Sheahan and the Karrikins Group work with hundreds of thousands of members of Generation Y and Generation Z every year. It is this real world experience that Peter draws upon in this groundbreaking book on Gen Y. You cannot change a group of people you don’t understand. This book addresses that gap. This international bestseller is referred to as the “Bible” for understanding this influential generation.

    Generation Y comprises the highly influential segment of the population born between 1978 and 1994. This book, by the same name, specifically covers the following issues:
    • Their mindset (and what caused it)
    • How to attract and retain them as customers and staff
    • Strategies for communicating to and engaging with them
    • Their impact on organizational development and leadership styles

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