By Thomas J Peters and Robert N. Waterman Jr.
In Search Of
In Search of Excellence is an international
bestselling book written by Tom Peters
and Robert H. Waterman, Jr. First published
in 1982 it is one of the biggest selling and
most widely read business books ever,
selling 3 million copies in its first four years,
and being the most widely held library book
in the United States from 1989 to 2006. The
book explores the art and science
of management used by leading 1980s
companies with records of long-term
profitability and continuing innovation.
This is about getting things done. There must be a free flow of information and open
communication. The open and informal organization is more flexible and is able to
take quicker action to institute changes needed to keep up in today's business world.
Lesson One : A Bias for Action :
Management needs to get out of the office
and out and about to communicate with
the people of the organization. Small
groups, or action oriented task forces can
tackle projects or problems quickly and
not get bogged down in bureaucracy.
Don't be afraid to experiment. Successful companies who want to get things done are
not afraid to try things, to experiment. Again, the flexible and informal organization is
the context in which "trying something new" will work.
Lesson Two : Close to the Customer
It's obvious that businesses need customers, but many forget about their customers.
Successful companies have an obsession about the customer, usually pertaining to quality,
reliability, or service. Excellent product quality and reliability will make a satisfied customer.
Great service will keep the customer coming back.
Lesson Three : Autonomy and Entrepreneurship
Sometimes it takes a Champion to take an idea or process and keep at it through numerous
failures until success is reached. The organization that is flexible and supportive of the creative
process will be successful in the long run. The excellent company must foster in-house
competition, with intense communication and be able to tolerate failure.
Lesson Four : Productivity through People
People need to be treated as adults. If workers are treated as partners, with dignity
and respect this will create the primary source of productivity gains.
Companies that develop a philosophy
and live the philosophy that involves
everyone within the organization with
the overall success of the company will
become better for it.
Management by wandering around and
an apparent lack of rigid command chains
will foster better communication and
exchange of ideas. This will eventually
Lesson Five : Hands On, Value Driven
Excellent companies make a serious effort to shape values. The right values, clearly expressed,
will help define the organization. It is difficult to teach values through written policy statements.
Stories, myths, and legends will go a long way to transmit the organizations value system. The
values of an organization compare to the vision of today's modern companies.
Lesson Six : Stick to the Knitting
Do not champion mindlessly holding on to yesterday, diversification is a good thing. But
organizations that branch out remaining somewhat close to their primary skill will be more
Many acquisitions take up important time of top executives as they try to learn and control the
new company and the synergy that was thought to exist does not pan out. Excellent companies
acquire in an experimental way, buying small or starting new, willing to get out if it fails.
Lesson Seven : Simple Form, Lean Staff
The size of a company can make it complex, but you need to work at making things
understandable for the tens, hundreds or thousands who are the people who are
making things happen, few administrative layers and few people at the upper levels.
Excellent companies are flexible when
dealing with fast changing conditions.
A company needs to be efficient in the
basics, innovative on a regular basis
and responsive to threats.
Lesson Eight : Simultaneous loose-tight properties
This is the coexistence of the firm's central direction and individual's autonomy. Companies
that are loose- tight may be rigidly controlled, but they still foster entrepreneurship and
innovation within the ranks. The climate will foster dedication to the core values of the
company, while tolerating and empowering those same employees.