Reputations are built quickly or given a nice boost when companies or CEOs make preferred lists. And there are plenty of lists that have come out lately. I just picked up Barron’s The World’s Most Respected Companies” for 2008 in the airport. This is an annual survey among money managers on the 100 largest companies in the world. The five most respected companies this year are J&J, P&G, Toyota, Berkshire Hathaway, and Apple. When asked what makes a most respected company, the leading factor among these portfolio managers was strong management. See below. Again, we see the importance of the CEO and his/her senior team as a critical factor in reputation-building. My argument all along. With so many signposts to judge companies the way we used to, leadership still remains at the top in reputation-shaping. Barron’s also adds: “Interestingly, the stuff of most company conference calls and analyst reports – product rollouts, balance sheets and profit growth – was assigned relatively little weight.” Perhaps it is just getting harder and harder to discern corporate worth and value.
Most Important Factors
|Sound business strategy||27|
Wal-Mart went from #21 last year to #7 this year. Clearly, the giant retailer is earning kudos for getting it right after its reputational skids of recent years. It is also managing itself well as it navigates through the seas of this turbulent economy.
As Barron’s reminds us, many of the financial companies have dropped out of the world’s top 100 as they have struggled with subprime losses, astronomical losses and CEO startovers. The sector’s respect has diminished among this stakeholder group. Let’s hope that next year brings a better showing. Interestingly, many of the list newcomers are energy, chemical and agricultural companies such as EnCana, BG Group, Potash Corp. and Monsanto.
The other list that I read on the plane this week was BusinessWeek’s Best Places to Launch a Career. I truly enjoy this list because I think there is an art to attracting the best candidates out of college, vocational school or high school. Worth checking out as the talent wars start up again soon.