Fortune’s Myopic “Most Admired” List: Where are the Customers?
Quick question: What’s wrong with this list of criteria Fortune Magazine uses for determining its vaunted list of the world’s Most Admired Companies?
2. People management
3. Use of assets
4. Social responsibility
5. Management quality
6. Financial soundness
7. Long-term investment
8. Product quality
9. Global competitiveness
First, it's remakably inward looking. Only two of the criteria deal with external impact (social responsiblity and global competitiveness). And none—zero—deal with customers. Remarkably, Fortune pays no attention at all to how much—or even whether--its Most Admired firms are admired by their customers, an amazing omission. (Fortune surveys only peer company executives who rate competitors within their industries to determine its Most Admired lists.)
Neither does Fortune look at how willing its Most Admired’s customers are to provide references, how passionately their customers promote or spread positive word of mouth, how skillfully these firms engage in customer co-design efforts or customer co-marketing. Nothing about how well companies engage customers in increasingly critical social media efforts whose success depends, increasingly, on getting customers into the online conversations about them. Nothing about how well these firms develop the most important of all their assets: their customers.
So here’s my question for Fortune and it’s survey partners, the Hay Group: which group can do more for your firm, your competitors or your customers? And therefore, whose admiration would you rather have?