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In search of excellence

business

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 simple.

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 - http://www.essay.uk.com/coursework/in-search-of-excellence.php



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