Corporate Prosperity and Posterity (surprising new lists)

Step back for a moment and ask yourself which companies YOU hold in high esteem?

The Forbes list of the World’s Most Respected Companies – based on CEOs’ feedback – is a measure of their reputation among the wider business community. Forbes also publish a list of companies most respected by the investment community – an assessment of their long-term financial reputation. The annual “Great Places to Work” surveys rank companies according to how popular they are with their employees – one of few publicly available benchmarks of “employee engagement”. Membership of the lists varies and some are published globally whereas others are geographically restricted. Nevertheless there are some striking consistencies.

Companies regularly featuring at or near the top of all three lists, include the following (the date in brackets is the year they were founded):

  • IKEA (1943)
  • Samsung (1936)
  • PWC (1849)
  • Ferrero (1946)
  • Tesco (1919)
  • GE (1870)
  • Kraft Foods (1903)
  • Tata (1868)
  • Microsoft (1975)
  • Lego (1932)
  • Caterpillar (1925)
  • Coca-Cola (1886)
  • Mars (1911)


Since the work of Bob Waterman in the 1980s, it has been recognised that the short-, medium- and long-term performance of businesses is directly correlated with the degree of engagement of the employees, and that this in turn is directly related to the behaviour of the leaders within them. The shares of organisations high in engagement outperform the rest two- to three-times. With the exception of Microsoft, you will see that they also tend to have a far greater longevity. Companies low in engagement tend to last a few years and are then consumed or cease to trade.

What does ‘engagement’ mean? It means that employees trust the people they work for, have pride in what they do, and enjoy the people they work with, and central to this is the idea of trust.

So how, as leaders, do we build trust?

There appear to be five components to TRUST:


  • Credibility – Established through open and accessible communication, and carrying out the Vision with integrity and consistency.
  • Respect – Involving people in relevant decisions, supporting their professional and personal development and taking pride and an interest in the outcome.
  • Fairness – A balanced approach to reward and recognition, that is seen as fair and equitable by both those who do well and those who do less well.
  • Pride – An open, and two-way, interest in the work of individuals, their particular work area, and the organisation as a whole.
  • Camaraderie – A sense of ‘family’ and ‘team’ demonstrated in the day-to-day relationships among people.


Whether you run a multi-national corporation, a small or medium enterprise with a handful of employees or volunteers, some other organisation, or are self-employed yet somehow dependent on a loose association of suppliers and colaborators, it is worth giving a little time to consider how you build trust among the group of people on whom you depend and so ensure your own PROSPERITY and POSTERITY!

Best wishes


2015 update… read on for a little surprise

There are currently two well-researched lists published annually. The Barron’s Most Respected Companies list is based on the views of investors. The Fortune Best Multinationals to Work For list is based on employee feedback. Here are the results for 2014.

Barron’s Most Respected Companies

  1. Apple
  2. Berkshire Hathaway
  3. Boeing
  4. Google
  5. Johnson & Johnson
  6. Walt Disney
  7. Amazon
  8. Visa
  9. Mastercard
  10. 3M

Fortune Best Multinationals to Work For

  1. Google
  2. SAS Institute
  3. Net App
  4. WL Gore
  5. Bel Corp
  6. Microsoft
  7. Marriott
  8. Monsanto
  9. CISCO
  10. American Express

Notice that there’s only one company on both lists! Notice too, that there’s only one company in the 2008 list that also appears in one of these lists. I wonder what this says?

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