Achieving Business Excellence with John Spence

Tom Peters’ Bold Ideas

Five Bold Objectives

In an Office Solutions article, Tom rants: I am an avowed incrementalist. Try, test, and experiment are among my favorite words. I still fervently believe that a pragmatic, incrementalist approach to progress is sound. But I also believe the visions to which we aspire must be grand ones. Not so much because inspiring visions are superb motivators, which they are, but because we must markedly pick up the pace of change in our businesses. If we don’t, we face the prospect of a permanently reduced standard of living.

Bold Objective No. 1: Speed of innovation
Whether retailer, banker, or science-based company, reduce your product development cycle time–this year–by 50 percent. If we are to master the new competitive environment, shortening the product development cycle is imperative in every industry. Bold Objective

No. 2: Premium products
Through service, quality, and enhanced innovation, shift your product or service portfolio to differentiated, higher price, and higher value-added plateaus immediately. The specialty steel, specialty retail, specialty chemical, and specialty forest product companies outperform the diversified and generalist members of their industries by 50 percent or more.

Bold Objective No. 3: People and organization
Reduce the number of layers of management at any operating activity to two. Pare corporate staff by 80 percent; eliminate all first-line supervision jobs; get 100 percent of the people on the payroll into a profit-sharing program.

Bold Objective No. 4: Paperwork reduction
Reduce the paperwork and procedures in every operation by half.

Bold Objective No. 5: Time and attention
This year, devote fully half of your time to the single strategic priority that is most vital for you to achieve lasting distinction in your markets. Visit the customers–visit the stores!

Any of these five goals is imposing, especially for an old or large firm. Yet, I strongly believe these or like objectives are essential to the survival of most firms, whether they are high- or low-tech, service or manufacturing.

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