On one level, the calibre of a company's management is easy to ascertain: the better the business performs, the better it's run.
Looking only at performance fails to account for vital context, however, such as market conditions or the company's recent history. A struggling firm could have a stellar management team, without whom it would be struggling far worse, and the same applies in reverse.
That's why a high ranking in Management Today's Britain's Most Admired Companies study is so coveted. It reflects the assessment of a company's fiercest critics, and those who best understand the business context: their peers.