MCBASSI & COMPANY

Good Companies Keep Winning

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Our 2014 edition of the Good Company Index Report contains a hopeful message: the good guys keep winning.

The report is a follow-up study on the behavior of Fortune 500 companies, first published in our book Good Company: Business Success in the Worthiness Era. The report contains an updated Good Company Index (GCI), which we use to assign grades to nearly 300 of America’s largest companies based on their record as employers, sellers, and stewards of communities and the environment. The top-ranked companies in the Fortune 100 this year are Apple, Ford Motor Company, and United Parcel Service.

We also analyze company stock market performance based on the previous GCI grades we assigned in 2012. The results? On average, those companies with higher 2012 GCI grades significantly outperformed their industry peers in the two years that followed.  The median outperformance was 5.1 percentage points, with almost 60 percent of the higher-ranked companies outperforming their lower-ranked competitors.

Further, a live portfolio comprised of the top-scoring companies on the 2012 GCI, invested since October 2012, outperformed the benchmark S&P 500 average (total return, including dividends) by 17 percentage points in its first two years, ending October 1, 2014 (see figure below).  The Good Company Index is used by the Enterprise Engagement Alliance to manage both their Engaged Company Stock Index and their People Centric Annual Awards.

Be sure to check out the full 2014 Good Company Index Report for complete details on the latest ratings!
(This post was sent this month via email to our monthly newsletter subscribers.  Click here if you’d like to subscribe.)

Five Questions & One Resolution for the New Year

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One of the frailties shared by human beings and organizations – the latter, of course, being made up of the former – is a proclivity to get stuck in endless do-loops of “urgent” activity, while losing sight of what’s really important.

Many of our classic New Year’s resolutions – spend more quality time with loved ones, eat better, exercise more – are intended to help us focus on what’s truly important in our personal lives.

But what about our professional lives?  What is the organizational equivalent of those personal New Year’s resolutions?  What will help us focus on what’s most important while helping to stop the urgent activity do-loop?

Here are five questions designed to help you shift your work toward what’s truly important:

1.  If I had 15 minutes on the agenda of my organization’s Board of Directors, what would I choose to do with the time?

2.  How could my organization become more worthy of the best efforts of our employees, the loyalty of our customers, and the ongoing support of our investors?

3.  Is my organization investing its time and resources in the most important areas?

4.  What aspects of the “accepted wisdom” in my organization are actually limiting our opportunities or even putting us at risk?

5.  Most importantly, what do I need to do to determine the answers to the four questions above?

Building on those questions, here’s our suggestion for a really powerful (and achievable!) “professional” New Year’s resolution: this year, seek to ask and learn how to answer powerful questions.

This is a resolution with real win-win-win potential – it can enhance your career, boost your organization’s performance, and leave you with more time and energy to keep your personal New Year’s resolutions.

(This post was sent this month via email to our monthly newsletter subscribers.  Click here if you’d like to subscribe.)

Good Company – Chapter 1 available

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First, a note about the book we’re in the process of writing. As we mentioned, finding the right title has occupied a good deal of our time. We’re optimistic that we’ve finally struck on the right title: Good Company. (This replaces our previous working title The Worthiness Era.)

Second, we’re excited to announce that we have a draft of Chapter 1 of Good Company available for you to download.  It’s still a work in progress, but we wanted to get it out there for feedback. (One caution: please be aware that the chapter draft was drafted based on the previous working title, so much of the text is still focused on the term “worthiness” and concept of the worthiness era. Our main ideas will remain the same, but we expect to reconcile the title with the text down the road.)

If you have thoughts or reactions on the chapter, please let us know!  You can post them on the blog itself using the comments feature, or you can email them directly to us (the email address is listed on the first page of the document).

Ranking companies’ worthiness

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As part of our work on The Worthiness Era, we’re developing a quantitative “Worthiness Ranking” system which we expect to apply to every firm in the Fortune 100 (this will allow us to “name names” among our largest corporations, both positively and negatively). 

In calculating this score, we’ll evaluate each company’s behavior in five different realms:

  • Employer
  • Customer focus
  • Sustainability
  • Absence of greed
  • Contribution

Whenever possible, we’re planning to use publicly-available information as the source for each of the five indicators that combine to yield a company’s “Worthiness” score. 

In future blog entries, we’ll explore some of the details of each of the five indicators.  (In the meantime, let us know if it looks like we’ve missed any major categories.)

The Worthiness Era

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As some of you know, Laurie Bassi, Larry Costello, and I have been working on a book over the past year. The book explores the new imperative for companies to behave in a way that’s “worthy” of the loyalty of its employees and customers. Current forces and trends (economic, social, political) are combining to drive organizations in the direction of worthiness – converting zero-sum transactions into win-win transactions. For this reason, we believe that the companies that survive and thrive in the coming decades will increasingly be “worthy organizations.”

After spending significant time doing research, we’ve now moved into the writing phase. Since its inception, the book has expanded, both in scope and in authorship. Reflecting the expanded scope, the new working title has changed from The Worthy Organization to (currently) The Worthiness Era. (Sometimes it seems we spend as much time on the book’s title as we do on the rest of the contents combined!)

Along the way, we were delighted to discover a kindred spirit in Ed Frauenheim, who’s come aboard as a co-author of the book. Ed is currently Senior Writer at Workforce Management magazine, where he covers people management and business strategy. A veteran journalist, Ed has 15 years of experience writing about topics including technology, business, and education.

In the weeks and months ahead, we’re looking forward to using the new McBassi blog both to keep you posted on the book’s progress and also as a sounding board for some of the book ideas that we’re currently bouncing around among ourselves. So please feel free to use the comments feature to share your thoughts.

A license to grow (or not)

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I recently had the good fortune to interview Sandy Ogg, the SVP of HR at Unilever.

(With three co-authors, I am writing a book called The Worthiness Era – or some such title.  Hence my interview with Sandy.  And more on the book in future blog entries.)

Here’s what Sandy said that I love:

“Companies are either going to get a license to grow, or not.” 

Sandy’s saying that with the increased transparency under which all companies operate, it is harder and harder to get away with dirty tricks and less-than-worthy behaviors.  Therefore, consumers are increasingly in a position of power – they can issue (or not issue) a “license to grow” based on what they know about a company.

The future in Sandy’s view (and mine) belongs to worthy companies.  I think Unilever is one of them.  Take a look at their web site – I especially love the work they’re doing with women in Africa.