What Are the Amazing Companies?

If I hear one more reference to Semco as an example of an amazing company, I’m going to scream. Really. And I’ve also heard the names of W.L. Gore, Whole Foods Market, and Southwest Airlines a few times too often.

Can we move on with the good examples please?

I blogged recently that Spotify is, according to my sources, an amazing organization. They not only delight their stakeholders, they are also a great place to work for employees. (At least, that’s what I heard.)

I’m sure that’s not all?

Which other companies in Europe, USA, or elsewhere, are examples of amazing companies, with great management, happy employees, delighted customers, and smiling shareholders?

Please let me know.

Maybe, somehow, we can convince a few of those organizations to come to the Stoos Stampede in July. To share their experiences with us. I’m sure that would delight the change agents who are hungry for good stories.

And it would relax my vocal cords.

(photo by mdanys, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

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  • http://www.hanoulle.be YvesHanoulle

    let’s start tweeting with #AmazingCompanies

  • http://agileanarchy.wordpress.com Tobias Mayer

    WorldBlu might point you to quite a few.

  • http://www.targetprocess.com Michael Dubakov
  • http://profile.typepad.com/eemelikantola Eemeli Kantola

    http://www.futurice.com is pretty amazing, too.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/vfqdev VFQDev

    John Lewis

  • http://management.curiouscatblog.net/ John Hunter

    I don’t see why the same companies are so annoying to so many people. But you certainly are in the majority. People don’t seem to say, jeez can’t we get paste the ideas of Einstein, I am so tired of paying attention to what he said. Trader Joe’s is pretty cool (private co, but the few shareholders I bet are doing well). Crutchfield is cool too. Cannon does lots of good stuff (maybe not for shareholders?). Netflix is pretty cool (a couple years ago maybe people didn’t want to hear about them anymore, now that the press has been bashing them maybe it is ok, to acknowledge they are still pretty great).
    Have you heard of Apple? They do some cool stuff 😛 Danaher does some good stuff (lean) – they are large but really quiet about lean, compared to some others. Ritz Carlton is one you used to hear about a lot but not so much anymore, I am pretty sure they are still good.
    Zappos seems pretty good (and their parent Amazon) – maybe they are too popular too? Google (too popular – too many people saying bad things now)?
    Another private one I hear good things about is SAS software.
    Staying great is hard. I think companies like Toyota, Gore, Southwest Airlines… deserve lot and lots of attention.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/ewokbbq Ewok_BBQ

    Okay Jurgen – this post of yours got me thinking quite a lot. I think if all of us were sitting around in our favorite cafe or Pub this would make for fun intellectual conversation over drinks or dinner. Tobias would name some super obscure company that no one really knew of but everyone would think was cool because Tobias is cool. Anyways – I am going to throw this one out there and try to defend it the best I can on this thread with anyone who wants to have a fun conversation about it. Fortune #1 – Wal-Mart.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/jurgenappelo Jurgen Appelo

    What is John Lewis? Is it the British department store? What does it do well?

  • http://profile.typepad.com/jurgenappelo Jurgen Appelo

    The problem I noticed, hearing the same few company names again and again, is that skeptical people will think those companies are the only ones. It is comfortable for them to disbelieve the power of change when they can claim the amazing companies are quite literally exceptional. If every time people are skeptical we answer with the example of Semco, then they have every right to remain skeptical. Instead, we should bombard people with many examples of organizations where things are much better. It is much harder for them to insist change is impossible, when in fact the change in other organizations is _not_ exceptional.
    Thanks for your additional examples! 🙂

  • http://profile.typepad.com/vfqdev VFQDev

    It’s the British Department Store.
    Number 1 and Number 2 in customer satisfaction surveys for years in the leading independent surveys. Almost untouchable.
    Employee owned, with all profits shared
    One of the oldest and best established company democracies.
    One of the longest serving staff on average in the world despite being in a industry renowned for temporary workers
    If you have been there 5 years, you have a 1 in 2 chance of retiring there.
    Considerable information shared weekly, beyond any public company in the world.
    Employs 81,000 permanent staff
    Five members of the board elected, one member one vote, can be any rank in the organisation.
    Gross sales of £8.9bn

  • http://management.curiouscatblog.net/ John Huner

    I understand people may be skeptical. I agree they have a “right to be skeptical” if we bring out the same names. By the way another good example is Herman Miller http://www.fastcodesign.com/1669397/an-american-made-miracle-how-an-aeron-chair-gets-built-every-17-seconds
    Lots of people just want to complain about things they don’t like, laugh at Dilbert and then behave like Dilbert’s pointy haired boss. Those seeking to avoid improving are plenty adept and making up new excuses. Overcoming one of their objections to improving normally just results in them making up another.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/rafaelmbr Rafaelmbr

    I think that the book Hidden Value: How Great Companies Achieve Extraordinary Results with Ordinary People, from Charles O’Reilly and Jeffrey Pfeffer may have great examples of great companies (at least, great actions)
    My two cents! 🙂

  • Michael Porcelli

    Holacracy One

  • Michael Porcelli

    By hearsay
    Holacracy One
    IMC2 (squared)
    David Allen Co.

  • Dirk Geurs

    Valve is the first company that comes to mind. I think they are the prime example of a self organizing company. Check out this report from one of it’s employees: http://blogs.valvesoftware.com/abrash/valve-how-i-got-here-what-its-like-and-what-im-doing-2/

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