Editorial: Admirable but not flawless

As you can see from the name up in lights on the cover, we're at that Most Admired time of the year.

by Matthew Gwyther, MT editor

It's a mark of their enduring commercial success that Tesco and Sir Terry Leahy have scooped the top two honours yet again. Well done to them. How long are they going to be able to keep it up and where, if any, are the cracks in the Cheshunt edifice? Well, CSR is a continuing one - on that criterion, Tesco has fallen below the overall Most Admired mean this year. But we also detect problems on the quality of goods and services front and this could be highly significant for the future.

Professor Mike Brown, author of the survey, adds some compelling extra research. It concerns the age-old sin of pride. Brown studied the discrepancy between peer perceptions of the top Most Admired companies and how good the companies themselves think they are. He backtracked to 1997 to come up with the alarming discovery that the greater your hubris - ie, the greater the disparity between your firm's self-image and what your competitors think of it - the greater the chance of getting bought out or going bust. You've been warned ...

We're also running a feature about early thirty-something burnout. 'Too Much Too Young' investigates the alarming phenomenon whereby corporate high-flyers, becoming disillusioned with their employers, drop out to reassess their career or to go travelling, instead of taking the next promotion on offer. How should management approach this growing problem? Do you slow their progress up the career greasy pole? Pack them off on a sabbatical in the hope they'll return refreshed? Stick with their more plodding colleagues?

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