A Passion for Excellence Author:Tom Peters, Nancy Austin A revolution is on, (and) managers in every field are rethinking the tried and,as it turns out, not so true management principles that have often served their institutions poorly. At the heart of revolutions, historically, there have been no more than a handful of people. But not it's time to enter another phase. The zeal to do something is clea... more »r. Video and audio cassettes new wave overwhelm the mind and the ad pages of airline magazines. A thousand seminars, all describing radically different approaches to managing, are in the air for the first time in memory. We ourselves have given hundreds of speeches and conducted almost five hundred seminars since 1982. Perhaps a hundred thousand to two hundred thousand people have gone through them. But the question remains: Who's doing much of anything differently?
And that's not even the most important question. The most important is: How many have sustained the new "it"? In Search of Excellence disgorged no magic: it simply said, Stay close to your customers; wander around. The absence of magic - "Practice common sense" - turned out to be its biggest selling point. And its biggest source of frustration: no surefire magic formulas for productive wandering around, no ten-step guides, how to begin, how to learn an above all, how to teach yourself to sustain success for decades. How, in short, do you practice excellence if your first name isn't Chairman and his or her last name isn't Kroc or Watson?
A Passion for Excellence is a first step along the path to answering those questions. It is not a how-to book in the traditional sense - there are no step-by-step guides. It is not a book on theory. It is rather an avowed Whitman's Sampler of the passion for excellence observed and celebrated. Each chapter tells paradoxical tales of obsession in pursuing both detail and a dream. Each has scores of examples, as well as suggestions for practical actions that you can start immediately. (As a respected colleague says with certainty, "If you don't get started in the next seventy-two hours, you ain't going to get started at all.") Each stands essentially alone, which means that you don't have to read them in order. Our hope is that ten years from now you will be going back and checking your underlinings to see if you're still really doing all the things you committed yourself to do.« less