This chapter could consist of just one statement:
Great companies consistently outperform the FTSE All Share. Over the past five years the best companies would have earned an investor a compounded annual return of 12.1 per cent, compared with a 5.8 per cent decline in the FTSE All Share index as a whole.
Source: Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For list, 2003
Statistics by Frank Russell Company
How interested would your shareholders be in your corporate culture if they knew that? They would really want you to become an employer of choice because it is good for the bottom line.
It is a universal truth of business that no matter how unique or innovative your products and systems are, it is only a matter of time before someone else is doing it as well or better than you. If you are a market leader, you have to keep running hard to stay ahead of the hounds snapping at your heels, and if you are one of the chasing pack, you will get breathless just keeping up.
The only thing your competitors cannot copy - your only truly unique and lasting competitive edge - is your people. That familiar rhetoric of the annual report is true: your people really are your greatest asset. Or they will be, if you build a work environment in which they can shine.
It is not worth worrying that others might pinch your ideas and products - they definitely will, alongside undercutting your price. Better to utilise your people to the full and go right on leading the field, while they struggle to keep up. But how to do that? This book is full of thoughts and ideas from those named as Great Companies. And the facts below and in the draft presentation in Appendix 3 give you even more reason to read on.