10 Questions for Success

May 23, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

The June 2003 issue of Fast Company article, “Is Your Company Up To Speed?”, asks what it calls “10 make-or-break questions” businesses need to answer positively if they wish to compete at the highest levels.

  1. Do you have an emotional bond with your customers?

  2. Does your strategy stand out from the crowd?

  3. Are you a fun place to work — and a fun organization to do business with?

  4. Are you built to change?

  5. Do you embrace the value of values?

  6. Are you as disciplined as you are creative?

  7. Are you winning the battle for talent?

  8. Do you use technology to change expectations and reshape your business?

  9. Are you built for speed?

  10. Have you built a company of leaders?

Among the 25 companies Fast Company said passed its test were Amazon, Dell Computer, eBay, Harley-Davidson, IBM, Krispy Kreme, Microsoft, Royal Dutch/Shell Group, Starbucks, Wal-Mart and Whole Foods.

Moderator’s Comment: Which retail and/or CPG companies
would you add to Fast Company’s list based on its 10 questions? Why?

In the grocery business, we’d add Trader Joe’s to the
list, although we’re not sure the company could answer yes to using technology
to reshape its business.

The convenience store industry has a number of operators
that would do well based on these questions. Top of mind for us were Casey’s
General Stores and BP/Amoco for their daily commitment to redefine their businesses
based on consumer opportunities.

Outside of the world of food, we would add three companies.

The Guitar Center would make our list, primarily based
on the bond it has with its customers. This personal connection is directly
tied to the talent level of store associates who work as well with novices as
they do skilled musicians.

Men’s Wearhouse deserves a mention also because the company
found a way through superior service to show men how to wear suits in a business
casual world.

The last addition to our list would be Apple Computer.
The company just marked the second anniversary of opening its first retail store.
According to the Apple, it has generated over $650 million in sales from its
57 stores. It plans to open another 20 this year.

Apple’s iTunes Music Store has also taken off. More than
2 million songs were purchased in its first 16 days of business and that was
just from Mac users operating on OS X. Apple will roll out a Windows compatible
store this year. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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