Friday, August 10, 2012

What Is Unique About Old Companies?

My research partner in Japan, Makoto Kanda, recently completed a study of over 1,000 companies to test our theoretical framework regarding the behaviors of old companies that have enabled them to survive for over 100 years.  By comparing the survey results from 'young' companies with those from companies founded before 1911, he came up with several statistically significant items which indicate we are on the right track with our hypothesis regarding longevity factors.  Here are a few of the results:
* Old companies scored significantly higher in every aspect of developing future leaders and succession planning
* Old companies put much more emphasis on their relationships with suppliers, customers, and local communities
* As might be expected, the old companies focused much more on tradition and improving what they see as their core strengths; when large-scale change is necessary, they admit to taking a long time to plan and implement such change
* The old companies have conservative financial practices (emphasize profitability over sales volume; are reluctant to borrow money)

The complete results have been published in the IMDA book "Global Competitiveness in a Time of Economic Uncertainty and Social Change: Current Issues and Future Expectations" (ISBN: 1-888624-11-6).