Published in 1982, this work by Tom Peters is slightly dated and was much debated, if only because many of the companies they highlighted as excellent went down in the following decades. One may argue that it is hard to stay at the top of your game.
Nevertheless, the 8 principles quoted in the very first page of the book are all effective North Stars. Reading the book is not a requirement; though, knowing the 8 conclusions is.
Here they are:
1. A bias for action – a preference for doing something – anything – rather than sending a question through cycles and cycles of analyses and committee reports
2. Staying close to the customer – learning customers’ preferences and catering to them.
3. Autonomy and entrepreneurship – breaking the corporation into small companies and encouraging them to think independently and competitively (aka “split-up”)
4. Productivity through people – creating in all employees the awareness that their best efforts are essential and that they will share in the rewards of the company’s success.
5. Hands-on, value driven – insisting that executives keep in touch with the firm’s essential business.
6. Stick to the knitting – remaining with the business the company knows best.
7. Simple form, lean staff – few administrative layers, few people at the upper levels.
8. Simultaneous loose–tight properties – fostering a climate where there is dedication to central values of the company combined with tolerance for all employees who accept these values.