Friday, February 25, 2011

1911 Was A Very Good Year

The stars must have been aligned in 1911 to provide the right conditions for company start-ups that last: I mentioned earlier that IBM is in their 100th year. This morning I received an email from my student researcher, who is at a 2-day interview process with Whirlpool, about an announcement at the opening session that Whirlpool is celebrating their 100th anniversary this year (which they call "Countdown to 11-11-11").

It looks like we will have a whole new group of companies to add to our data base - it will be interesting to see what these 'younsters' have in common with each other and whether they differ from those companies established prior to 1900. Companies such as King Arthur Flour, founded in 1790! Headquartered in Norwich, Vermont, King Arthur Flour is now an employee-owned company using open book management methods. They report the qualities that have enabled them to survive - and thrive - for over 200 years are:

  • honest enthusiasm and for what they do, which results in earned respect from all those with whom they do business;
  • a culture of inclusiveness that empowers everyone in their organization as partners; and
  • viewing making money as the by-product or result of doing things well, not the focal purpose of their business.

Monday, February 21, 2011

IBM to Hit 100

While many local companies over 100 years old that I have interviewed are small, often family-owned businesses, a number of large, very well-known companies have been hitting the century mark in the last few years. IBM is celebrating their centennial year in 2011 and I have been invited to speak about my research on 100-year-old companies at the IBM Impact Conference/Forbes Business Leadership Forum in April. It is so interesting to see how a specific company exhibits the common traits that have emerged from the research!