Great companies must have a great leader, great people, processes, products and services. They must have a great understanding of their marketplaces and clear knowledge about how and where they fit into that marketplace. These are core elements of any great business and what undergirds their success to a large degree. But there are other key things they need to be great. Here are a few:
Great companies realize that their success compels them to take a strong and continuous interest in the well-being of those around them who have not been fortunate. Great companies look for or create charities to serve the disadvantaged because they appreciate that in helping others they help themselves and in making a better world, they also benefit.
Today, empathy is often difficult to find in the business world, but it is remains one of the most valuable and important qualities. Empathy reminds us of what we have been given through our hard work and good fortune and that at any time, success or good health can be snatched away and we can find ourselves in need. In that event, we hope that there would be others who would offer help. The understanding and acknowledgement of this causes us to give when we have and share when it is needed.
Great companies realize these things and when they give, they gain the benefit of an improved corporate culture and a direct connection to the planet. Whether it is giving to a local community center or in the case of a great company like Jeunesse Global, a worldwide effort to educate and uplift needy children, any heartfelt effort is the right things to do. Those companies that give more ultimately receive more so the best companies always try and give all they can.
It is rare that a company gets things right, right out of the gate and never has a misstep. In fact, if you looked at business through the ages, you might only find a handful that has had this type of success. Most businesses and even those with brilliant leadership, goes through times and product or service offerings that just do not resonate with their intended audience. Great companies like Apple Computer, GE, WalMart and others have ideas that were brought to market that failed spectacularly causing hand-wringing and second thoughts. Every great company can expect these events to occur, but they also prepare for when they do happen to make sure that the enthusiasm needed to pick themselves up of the floor and continue on, is firmly in place at the company.
This kind of resilience is a quality of great companies and it is what they learn on when things get tough. There is a sometimes unreasonable level of persistence and drive that transcends any failures because they know that being able to fail again and again and still remain committed to your goal is a core requirement for success.
Business is about using your available resources to their maximum affect, so that they create success. The great companies make an art out of doing this and understand that it does not matter how many resources you have, it only matters that you use them efficiently. This is why companies like Apple computer can have a much smaller marketing budget compared to other companies their size. They know that marketing budgets, which can easily get out of control, need to be deployed smartly. So instead of plastering everything they make everywhere, they make strategic marketing decisions and go for impact rather than quantity. This approach is not based on the cost of marketing spends, but on the desire to be efficient and effective simultaneously that is built into their corporate culture. For great companies, this level of resourcefulness is standard operating procedure and a key part of why they do well.
These three qualities are not the ones most would think about when you think about reasons great companies are great, but as you look more deeply into their impact on a company, you come to realize their significance.