Success is a basic requirement of all business organisations. Although there are different approaches, the American writer Thomas J Peters has suggested that successful businesses demonstrate eight particular cultural and organisational characteristics.
Peters focused on the process of organising and ignored many of the standard tools of management such as budgets and plans. He rejects ideas based on detailed forecasting and control, because these encourage a culture that rejects mistakes and concentrates on negative measures.
He emphasises the importance of culture and values to organisational success and the desirability of developing a strong, common organisational culture, capable of motivating employees to unusual performance levels.
He suggested that successful (‘excellent’) businesses displayed particular characteristics.
A BIAS FOR ACTION. The encouragement of an informal, innovative, task oriented culture not based on formal systems. A system of ‘management by wandering around’.
CLOSE TO THE CUSTOMER. A culture of listening to customers, being obsessed with customer service.
AUTONOMY AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP. The fostering of innovation and the use of product champions when practical risk taking by the organisation’s members is encouraged. An organic system of management is developed.
PRODUCTIVITY THROUGH PEOPLE. People in the organisation are seen as the basic source of quality. Staff are encouraged and praised; a team approach is developed based on mutual trust.
HANDS ON, VALUE DRIVEN. The values of the business and its objectives are shared by all the organisation’s members. Management is involved at all levels and there is encouragement for doing the job well.
STICK TO THE KNITTING. The organisation grows through internally generated diversification. There is no movement into markets or products outside the core business.
SIMPLE FORM, LEAN STAFF. There are no complicated organisational and management structures, simple product divisional forms are used.
SIMULTANEOUS LOOSE-TIGHT PROPERTIES. Autonomy and responsibility is pushed down the organisation. However, core values such as the control of quality are centralised.
Such successful businesses understand the basics; thinking is encouraged, things are kept simple and chaos is tolerated in return for results. The firm’s core values are prized.