Saturday, February 25, 2006

Making Sense of the Most Admired

For people who know me, I spend alot of time making sense of the Fortune Most Admired Companies survey which debuts every February. This year's list is out and on its way to subscribers' homes shortly.

After a brief departure when Fortune featured Most Admired Company brands on the cover instead of CEOs, we are back to the CEO standing in as the company. GE's Jeff Immelt graces the cover in the new issue (March 6, 2006). I am actually fine with their choice because afterall "quality of management" is consistently the prime driver of most admired reputations in nearly all the industries that Fortune surveys (actually the Hay Group does the survey work). And as Fortune notes, GE is America's Most Admired for the sixth time in the past decade. No small feat.

Interestingly, Fortune is only displaying the top five or six companies per industry grouping in the issue. The remaining companies in each industry are listed only on the web site and dubbed "contenders." Contenders is a better term than "least admired."I assume that Fortune was getting tired of companies ranking eight or nine and issuing press releases calling themselves "most admired" when they really are not by Fortune's definition. At least this way the top most admired companies are truly the 2006 most admired "class." Makes sense to me.

Although many of the most admired in the top 20 list are consumer-oriented (GE, FedEx, Southwest, P&G and Starbucks), it would be interesting to just look at which b-to-b companies would make it to the top 20 most admired. I am going to check that out since b-to-b companies could use the attention and distinction.

I will continue to write about some random thoughts about the most admired as I dig in deeper.


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