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Thursday, October 26, 2006

In Search of Excellence -- Revisited

The best-selling book "In Search of Excellence" by Tom Peters has been credited to have started the so-called "management guru" industry.

Written originally in 1982, it was one of the first books that aimed to explain company success in a popularized way.

Based on a major McKinsey study, In Search of Excellence identified eight characteristics common for excellent companies:

  1. A bias for action
  2. Close to the customer
  3. Autonomy and entrepreneurship
  4. Productivity through people
  5. Hands-on, value-driven
  6. Stick to the knitting
  7. Simple form, lean staff
  8. Simultaneous loose-tight properties

BOTTOMLINE: While the methodology and raw metrics used in the original research have since proven faked (or at least somewhat fudged, to the author's own admissions), it is interesting to note that the original premise is still the same: "excellent companies seems to have these characteristics in common, and if you focus on them, maybe your company will also become excellent."

Interesting, but not real useful. What small businesses need is not an explanation of WHAT and WHY - they need an explanation of HOW to get there. Read Six Disciplines for Excellence.

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