Hail to the (repeat) champions

Making IWs list of elite companies a second time requires something extra.

Championship performance -- whether in sports or in managerial excellence -- is hard enough to achieve even once. To be the best requires a level of sacrifice, a knowledge of fundamentals and planning, and a consistency of execution that few athletes and even fewer executives can muster. Yet to repeat a championship performance requires all that and one thing more: stamina. Winning one championship may be the result of chance favoring a prepared team; winning two -- or more -- is evidence of superior organization, talent, and commitment.

This second annual edition of IndustryWeeks 100 Best-Managed Companies includes examples of both kinds of championship success. Because even as 26 companies celebrate their initiation into the worlds most elite management fraternity, 74 others -- ranging from Abbott Laboratories to Zeneca Group PLC -- have reaffirmed their status as leaders in organizational theory, practice, and results. These 74 -- in industries that vary from automobiles to biotechnology to software -- have proven that even in an era of increasing global competition, companies with exceptional management can remain market leaders year in and year out.

Even more important than the "who" of the 100 Best-Managed Companies is the "how" -- the strategies these firms use to turn back competition and delight customers every day. In addition to our profiles of each winning firm, then, we also asked Senior Editors John H. Sheridan and Michael A. Verespej to scour the numbers and financial results for common themes. Senior Editor Bill Miller researched the traits shared by the CEOs of the worlds best-managed firms. Leading management theorist Warren Bennis rounds out our review with an essay on cultivating creativity.

Their efforts were part of another championship performance by the the Best-Managed Companies team. Led by Associate Editor Glenn Hasek (and assisted by Editor-at-Large Richard Osborne and Managing Editor Patricia Panchak), this group of more than 20 skilled professionals from four organizations worked for months to make sure that this years list was grounded in solid research regarding strategies, tactics, financial results, and market factors.

For the record, all decisions on who made the list (and who didnt) were made solely by the editors of IW. Yet we could not make those determinations without the information provided by our data partners, Dun & Bradstreet and Moodys Investors Service, two companies of the Dun & Bradstreet Corp. Likewise, without the help of researchers and programmers from IWs parent company, Penton Publishing, we could not have completed in time the complicated financial analysis involved in the selection process. Finally, we could not have kept the data organized without the dedicated assistance of editorial interns who worked and filed (and filed, and filed) throughout the last four months. Those individuals are:

From Dun & Bradstreet: Craig Albert, marketing manager; Michael J. Azzi, manager, public relations; William F. Doescher, senior vice president and chief communications officer for Dun & Bradstreet Corp.; George Lin, applications consultant; David Monfried, vice president, public relations; Thomas J. Shaw, vice president, international marketing operations; Cort Steel, director of international reference products; and Wendy Wong, director of marketing.

From Moodys Investors Service: David L. Callahan, senior business analyst, global fundamental data; Mikki N. Fardella, assistant vice president, director of marketing; Erik L. Fine, associate director, global fundamental data; Jerald I. Moskowitz, vice president, FIS Group; Vidar Pettersen, manager, global fundamental data; and Jeffrey M. Zazzaro, manager, global fundamental data.

From IW & Penton: Mary Weidner, special projects manager; Sarah Berger, editorial intern; Greg Cicero, application and training specialist, Information Technology; Michael Keating, senior research analyst at Penton Research Services; and Eve Proper, editorial intern.

Send e-mail messages to John Brandt at [email protected]

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