If corporate success can be defined, at least in part, by longevity then it is sensible to look for common elements among organizations that have survived and thrived for the longest period of time. The Financial Times has been doing just that, and I enjoyed this piece on corporate values.
One interesting finding was that strong corporate values appeared to be essential to corporate longevity; essential but not sufficient on their own.
Probing further, one theme that emerged was that sensitivity and agility--an ability to cope with change--is an essential skill. Companies are communities of people, and Gerald Storch, chief executive of Hudson’s Bay Company, noted that adaptability meant paying attention not only to customers, but to employees too. “Listen to your people because they know what is going on. They know what is right and what is wrong, what will work and what will not work.”
Tolerance is also called out as an essential trait; companies that survive over the long term are tolerant of elements within the business exploring around the far edges of the current business. They are well positioned to take advantage of innovations and new opportunities when the competitive, regulatory, or technological landscape shifts.
-- Clara Shen