Book – In Search of Excellence

excellence.pngThis book was written more than 30 years ago… remarkably, it describes the challenges which many companies are facing today.  Communism collapsed, companies described in the book transformed (though many performed better than communism 😉  ), Japanese competition was replaced with Chinese, and technology made our work lives easier or more difficult (depending on perspective).

The issues described in the book are not application of technology, what, as business community is discovering, is not as difficult as “people and process.”  And “People and Process” seem to struggle catching up with everything else.  Would we be able to progress as a society?  Or, would understanding of “People and Process” be the competitive advantage in the future?  As it seem to have been for a few thousands years…

  • communication.PNGExcellent companies are brilliant on the basics…
  • Process may become so complex, that it “captures action as a fly in a spider’s web and drains the life out of it.”
  • Problem with Planning: “the planning becomes an end in itself..”  (And we are still arguing 30 years later if agile approach makes sense for marketing 😉
  • “after you get organized, you might through the org chart away…”
  • complexity.pngIgnoring “economy of scale,” allowing duplication and occasional mistakes allows
    companies  not to coordinate everything, what, in general, is not possible
  • Excellent companies “do” their way into the strategies, not vise versa.  (Interesting – the description of “emergent” strategy approach used 30 years later…)
  • Purpose/culture: “Profit is like health.  You need it, and the more the better.  But it is not why you exist.”
  • Organizations are to be sailed rather than driven… effectiveness of leadership often depends on being able to time small interventions so that the force of natural organizational process amplifies the interventions rather than dampens them.
  • Simplification of the forms, process, etc,: “some companies don’t have these problems; people simply talk to each other on regular basis.”
  • recognition.pngChampions and volunteers are the driving force within the organization (what makes complete sense, but still not always used by many companies)
  • “Chaotic action is preferable to orderly inaction”
  • “..Love affair with complex systems that often hide an inability to manage the basics..”
  • People want to be winners (sales quota system that allows majority to meet the quota, is more encouraging than a system that allows only a minority to succeed)

Ah, technology will change again and again, and we will most likely spend most of our efforts on being a “perpetual newbie” of latest system.  Will we be able to mastery of “people and process?”

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