Great quote from Tom Peters of In Search of Excellence fame
"In Search of Excellence basics in 127 characters including quotation marks and spaces:"Cherish your people, cuddle your customers, wander around, 'try it' beats 'talk about it,' pursue excellence, tell the truth."Q.E.D."
I always thought Peters work was not very scientific because in his book he only talk about the good traits of companies but I think his wisdom is worth a little poetic licence.
I remember a great quote from his book. Passengers judge how an airline maintains their engines by the coffee stains on the flip down trays. Another one was he was telling a retailer how poorly they were looking after their customers and their response was "we are not worse than the rest."
I think his great contribution was promoting strategic thinking and strategic management. In recent talk he said that the first line supervisor is the key for execution. One should take the most care in selecting these people not the executives. See his talk at Norwich University http://www.nsnsports.net/members/video/archive/?v=ToddLECT061511.flv
In the talk he talks about learning more from our mistakes than our successes. I think Graham and Stephen both really work on that. They have core values but ready to question approaches.