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In search of excellence review

In Search of Excellence: Review

In Search of Excellence is a book dealing with many different principles

of economics and what makes big business' excellent. The first idea that Peters

discusses is his chart of the McKinsey 7-S Framework. The graph is very simple

but the ideas are fairly complex. In their research, they found that their

philosophies were too hard to explain and easily forgettable. They made this

Framework to deal with strategy, structure, style, systems, staff (people),

skills, and shared values (culture). This has 7 S's (easy to remember) and a

graphical representation to visualize. This shows the businessman that the

intractable, irrational, intuitive, and informal organization can be managed.

For example, anyone assuming that a new manager of a Taco Bell will perform

exactly as the old manager did is ridiculous. The organization of workers must

adjust and adapt to the new manager's way of business.

Another more main topic of the novel is the Eight Basic Principles.

Their research had shown that the excellent companies had been based on the

basics. The companies had to try to keep things simple. Sometimes, to a big

business, it might seem logical that business should be run more complex the

larger it is. From their research, this is usually not true. The first

pricnciple is a bias for action. This is basically saying "Stop talking and do

something about it." When Taco Bell has a rush of customers and their supplies

for making food are low, they (usually) don't say "You know what, I have no more

cheese" or "Could someone get me some more cheese?" They take action and get the

cheese, make it if necessary, and get the problem solved as quickly as possible.

The second Principle they deal with is to be close to the customer. This

means good service and listening to what the customer has to say. If the

producer, Taco Bell, is not in touch with what the customer wants to eat, then

the business will most likely fail. Although it also refers to customer

satisfaction; quality food made right and curteous service: "Have a nice day and

enjoy your meal!"

The third principle is autonomy and entrepreneurship. This is the

innovation principle. 3M is known for innovation and they welcome the changing

and rearranging of old and new products. For example, my dad took 3M's basic

arthroscopy pump and redesigned it into an in flow-out flow cannula. This

innovation on his part temporarilly set 3M back on its feet in that product line.

The fourth basic principle is productivity through people. This deals

with the indivdual as the best means for efficiency improvement rather than

capital investment. If Taco Bell could put everyone in the area of work they

most enjoyed (drive-thru, washer,...) then they could produce more food and

maximize their utiles.

The fifth basic principle is hands on, value driven. This is the

standard setting and enforcing values in a company. This is keeping the "head

honcho" in touch with the assembly line worker and projecting the company's

original ideas, instead of an image of some suited businessman lurking in a big,

dark office.

The sixth and often obvious principle is to stick to the knitting. The

basically says that if a company is in the food business, it should not branch

off into the wood industry unless they have no where else to expand in the

industry they are already in.

The seventh basic principle is a simple form, lean staff. This means

leaving few people up top to manage a company and keep the form of management


The eighth and final basic principle is simultaneous loose-tight

properties. This is another value-based principle. This could be described as

the ability for a worker of Taco Bell to do his/her job in his/her own way as

they incorporate the company's values and philosophies into their work. These

values demonstrate that they don't just work because they work, but rather

because they just make sense. Peters does a great job of explaining and giving

examples of these eight principles and shows us that we would be foolish to

ignore these principles. Also, we could learn a new skill from the 7 S-Framework,

, which is what growth is really about: the ability to learn and teach.

Source: Essay UK -

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