In Search of Excellence (1982) identified 43 companies that consistently beat their competitors over a 20 year period … does your organisation have a model to match that?
Peters & Waterman started the conversation in 1982 with In Search of Excellence when they identified 43 companies that consistently beat their competitors over a 20 year period against six financial yardsticks. Eight themes emerged that drove ‘excellence’:
A bias for action
Close to the customer
Autonomy & entrepreneurship
Productivity through people
Hands on, value driven leadership
Stick to the knitting
Simple form, lean staff
Simultaneous loose, tight properties
In response to feedback that they had oversimplified the challenge, in A Passion for Excellence (the sequel) they collapsed their list to just two: exceptional care of your customers, and constantly innovate (although they acknowledge that things such as financial controls and sound planning have to be in place).
What is your mental model for ‘high performance’? Is this model shared among your leadership team? And do you have a roadmap to lead you on that journey?
 Peters, T., & Waterman, R. H. (1982). In search of excellence