In Search of Excellence Lessons From America's Best Run Companies by Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman
When this book came out in 1982 it was a bestselling business book. The copyright on the book I read was 2004. This book has stood the test of time. I found out about it when I was reading How The Mighty Fall by Jim Collins. Jim Collins wrote the bestselling business book, Good To Great.
There seem to be a lot of worthwhile ideas in this book. It is not just a collection of 43 top companies, and eight business success principles backed by a ton of statistics. This book is full of entertaining examples and implementable ideas.
The writers counter the idea of rigid organization charts, pure numbers, and closed door management styles. The book reminds to be close to the customer and pay attention. The authors make the claim that it is more important to pay close attention to what people are doing than to go to extremes of reward or punishment.
The management examples in this book come from real companies. Hewlett Packard uses MBWA (Management by Wandering Around). Proctor and Gamble use the principle of limiting most memos and reports to a single page. Both of these are things I see every day where I work.
There are some striking almost counterintuitive ideas in this book. The authors claim that focusing on pure numbers leads to cost cutting but not necessarily improvements in sales. The cost of customer service and sales preparation are often hard to quantify.
This was an entertaining book on how to improve business performance. The authors claim the main source of business improvement is human factors; customer service, action orientation, values, entrepreneurship, productivity, and openness. The book was very easy to follow. There was an extensive bibliography and index. Reading it was informative. It made me think.