One of the results of our research on old companies in Japan is the emphasis they place on relationships. They value and work at maintaining long-term relationships with employees, customers, suppliers, other business partners and their local communities. Whenever presenting this information at conferences, the response we often received was "Well, that's Japan...it's a cultural thing." There was much skepticism about whether we would find similar results in other cultures. However, when talking to CEOs of U.S. companies that have survived for over 100 years they echoed the importance of relationships, so we decided to use the same survey administered in Japan to find out how old U.S. companies responded. We have now collected enough surveys, completed our initial analysis, and are in the process of writing up the results. My research partner, Makoto Kanda, will be coming to the U.S. in August so we can discuss the statistical data and draw conclusions. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, I have started to tweet a list of local companies that have thrived for over 100 years (#100over100 @vtenhaken if you're interested).