The Peters principle: Aim higher

Tom Peters is one of those management gurus paid a princely sum for stating the obvious. His books, including In Search of Excellence and The Pursuit of Wow! are great not just because they find and illuminate the best of our collective business wisdom, but because the message is so straightforward. Peters has a lot in common with PLANT ENGINEERING.

06/01/2005


Tom Peters is one of those management gurus paid a princely sum for stating the obvious. His books, including In Search of Excellence and The Pursuit of Wow! are great not just because they find and illuminate the best of our collective business wisdom, but because the message is so straightforward.

Peters has a lot in common with PLANT ENGINEERING. For example, both aggregate the best ideas out in the world and share them with an audience. That's what Peters did at the Bentley BE Conference in Baltimore in May to a packed auditorium of Bentley users. Peters insisted — practically begged — the audience to take the information he had collected and share it with everyone they could.

There were several gems in the presentation, and in the spirit of Peters' boundless, cranky enthusiasm that they be stolen and shared, I point you to not only the full presentation at Tompeters.com, but also a few of my favorites:

  • "A focus on cost-cutting and efficiency has helped many organizations weather the downturn, but this approach will ultimately render them obsolete. Only the constant pursuit of innovation can ensure long-term success." Daniel Muzyka, dean of the Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia.

  • "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less." U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki.

  • "What we sell is the ability for a 43-year-old accountant to dress in black leather, ride through small towns and have people be afraid of him." A Harley Davidson executive quoted in the Peters book, Results-Based Leadership.

  • "Groups become great only when everyone in them, leaders and members alike, is free to do his or her absolute best. The best thing a leader can do for a Great Group is to allow its members to discover their greatness." Warren Bennis and Patricia Ward Biederman in the book, Organizing Genius.

    • We are on an island of conformity surrounded by a sea of change. We make things, often the same things over and over again. The creativity in our work was created at the design stage. What plant managers and plant workers are asked to do is take that design and give it function and life, but that is often not the same as realizing an individual worker's dream.

      So how do we foster individual greatness, and transform those bits of individual greatness into the Great Group idea? I think it's about the means justifying the end, which is the opposite of just about every operating manual I know of in the world today. I think the answers to most of our plant productivity issues are found not just in the innovation of products to produce our work, but in the constant growth of the individual people who do our work.

      We do more work, better and faster, than ever before. Our quality is the envy of the planet. Still, we find ourselves in this global challenge to create goods that fulfill both the economic and aesthetic realities of a changed world. Winning that challenge is found in innovation, and Peters contends the drive to be better than just 'good enough' must permeate every corner of the manufacturing sector.

      Indeed, Peters pulled a quote from that great business tycoon Michaelangelo, who noted, "The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it."



Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
October 2018
Tools vs. sensors, functional safety, compressor rental, an operational network of maintenance and safety
September 2018
2018 Engineering Leaders under 40, Women in Engineering, Six ways to reduce waste in manufacturing, and Four robot implementation challenges.
July/Aug
GAMS preview, 2018 Mid-Year Report, EAM and Safety
October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
October 2018
Complex upgrades for system integrators; Process control safety and compliance
September 2018
Effective process analytics; Four reasons why LTE networks are not IIoT ready

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Material Handling
This digital report explains how everything from conveyors and robots to automatic picking systems and digital orders have evolved to keep pace with the speed of change in the supply chain.
Electrical Safety Update
This digital report explains how plant engineers need to take greater care when it comes to electrical safety incidents on the plant floor.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
click me