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Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr., wrote “In Search of Excellence” as a model covering all elements of operations and functions of businesses big and small. In Search of Excellence gives great analysis and interesting examples to back up their theories. This book discusses eight core principles and McKinsey 7-S framework chart provided to companies for success.
The authors break down the topics into specific themes with thoughts and charts for knowledge. Their findings suggest that eight core principles are common for excellent organization; bias for action, close to the customer, autonomy and entrepreneurship, productivity through people, hands on, value driven, stick to knitting, focus on what you do best, simple form lean staff and balance between centralized/decentralized organization. The McKinsey 7-S Framework deals with strategy, structure, style, systems, staff (people), skills, and shared values (culture). Informal organizations can manage executives that are intractable, irrational and intuitive. When 7-S framework chart is used. Meaning that a new manger performance would be like the old manager is ludicrous. The organization of workers must adjust and adapt to the new manager’s way of business.
Peters and Waterman’s does a great job of explaining and giving examples of these eight principles while applying McKinsey 7-S framework chart. When nurturing and reward employees for excellence. Provide a climate of security and creativity in which employees developed loyalty and understanding of corporate values, and in turn developed to their full potential. Those long-term customer relationships based on trust, high quality and value in products and service. Re-inventing your company continuously within a defined sense of mission and social purpose.
The eight principles below demonstrate values that work because they make sense. Growth is really about: the ability to learn and teach. This research was the first of its kind identifying these principles.
The first principle is a bias for action. This is saying "Do it, work it or apply it" When Arby’s has a rush of customers and their supplies for making food are low, one customer would say "You know what, my food is cold" or "You forgot my pickles and onions?" They act and fix the problem, make it over if necessary, and get the problem solved as quickly as possible.
The second Principle is to be close to the customer. This means good service and listening to what the customer has to say. If the producer, Arby’s is not in touch with what the customer wants to eat, then the business will most likely fail.
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The third principle is autonomy and entrepreneurship. This is the innovation principal. Microsoft is known for innovation and they welcome change, and creating new products. For example, Microsoft designed a new program each year that’s effective and user friendly to companies. The constant change and improvement in products and worker friendly cause individuals to buy into its vision. Innovation by Bill Gates and his partners put their corporation on top because of its product line.
The fourth principle is productivity through people. This deals with the individual as the best means for efficiency improvement rather than capital investment. If Arby’s could put everyone in the area of work, they enjoyed (drive-thru, cashier...). Then they could produce more food and maximize their use.
The fifth principle is hands on, value driven. This is the standard setting and enforcing values in a company. This is keeping the manager in touch with the assembly line worker and projecting the company's original ideas, instead of an image of some suited executive lurking in a big, dark office.
The sixth principle is to stick to the knitting. They say that if a company is in the food business, it should not branch off into the wood industry unless there is nowhere else to go. Define yourself and your structure, and then stick to the knitting.
The seventh principle is a simple form, lean staff. This means leaving few people up top to manage a company and keep the form of management simple.
The eighth principle is simultaneous loose-tight properties. This could be described, as the ability for a worker of Arby’s to do their best. This way each person can incorporate the company's values and philosophies into their work.
In addition, for those interested in management theory could learn a new skill from In Search of Excellence. The introduction and management theories were written well and easy to apply.
Peters, Thomas J. and Waterman Jr., Robert H: In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best Run Companies New York: Warner Books, 1984 Reprint 1997.