Check It Out

Great article in current issue (April) of Business 2.0, titled "Best-kept Secrets of the World's Best Companies." Normally I dislike such stuff, but I think the odds in this case of finding something you can use are remarkably high. There are 25 ideas discussed. Among them: Toro's "Contra Team" that formally rebuts potential merger candidates; it in one instance led Toro to reject a hot $10 million acquisition candidate that was in fact a dud. Bloomberg's amazing offices. Corning's approach to R&D, utilizing outsiders. Southwest's hiring process ("The Job Audition"). W.L. Gore's peer-to-peer, almost hierarchy-free organizational processes—I was a pal of the late Bill Gore, and started writing about the company in A Passion for Excellence in 1985; but the approach is as fresh and provocative as ever; alas, the fact that it's still considered novel suggests how slow we are to adopt truly radical organizational reform. Urban Oufitters' support for partying on the company's nickel—that is, seeking out hot trends that can be translated into product. Etc.

Good stuff.