Broadly Admired Firms
post # 419 — August 17, 2007 — a Strategy and the Fat Smoker post
In my forthcoming book (STRATEGY AND THE FAT SMOKER), I revisit the “One-firm Firms” that I first wrote about in 1985.
It’s one of the few articles I have ever written that actually names the names of specific firms. Normally, I try to avoid doing that, because I don’t want to be accused of playing favorites.
However, people might be interested in how I came up with the list of specific firms to write about.
Back then, I went to every firm I was working with and asked “Who’s number two to YOU? I know YOU’RE the best, but – apart from yourselves, who do is the best managed firm in your industry?” I wanted to see if, ego apart, there would be a consensus within each industry as to who the leading firm was.
In some (not all) industries / professions, there was indeed a consensus or close to one. The same firms kept getting named again and again. They were (back then):
McKinsey in strategy consulting
Hewitt Associates in HR consulting
Goldman Sachs in Investment Banking
Arthur Andersen (now Accenture) in accounting-based consulting services
Latham and Watkins in law.
Note that my point is NOT that these were my nominations as best firms, but that the choices of those who had to compete with them.
Some of these firms have preserved their reputations in the eyes of their rivals, some not.
My question to you-all out there. Can we try to repeat the experiment on-line? In YOUR industry, who – apart from your own firm – would you nominate as the best managed firm in your industry? Who should we be looking to for lessons in how to manage a professional business?