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Posted Jun 20 2012 12:00am

Here are examples of best-practices among leading businesses that have all at least DOUBLED the S&P 500 during the past 4 years. Just look at their stock prices . While organizations remain flat, these organizations are flourishing and building rich customer bases to prosper now and into the future. And all are ahead of the curve on social and environment responsibility, too.

Dropped incrementalism, short-term thinking and reporting in favor of long-term focus and big-picture thinking Unilever
Eliminated earnings guidance in quarterly reporting, and, in 2010, launched a business plan to double Unilever's revenue while cutting its environmental impact in half.  Listen to the podcast  which explains how fought for a long term vision and HUGE stretch goals... and achieving it faster than anticipated...
"Nobody has ever really made that public commitment, and nobody has ever really achieved it. Otherwise, the world wouldn't be facing these challenges. So they make us feel a little bit uncomfortable, but we think we can get there, or close to it, with our new business model over about a 10 year time period... So for us, it's an accelerator of our business"

Went for the why not culture, took risks, failed fast - and restored confidence Starbucks 
 "If not checked, success has a way of covering up small failures," he muses. "This is why, I think, so many companies fail. Not because of challenges in the marketplace, but because of challenges on the inside."

A crucial lesson he learned while tackling those challenges is one that's all too easy to lose sight of: "Growth, we now know all too well, is not a strategy. It is a tactic."

Leading with an emotional brand Apple  Enough said.  Look at this  letter  it sends to all employees on its first day. Think about the products it sells... Sleek, sexy designs with the ability to "put a ding in the universe" Top quotes from Jobs and Apple: “The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament.” "We're gambling on our vision, and we would rather do that than make "me too" products. Let some other companies do that. For us, it's always the next dream."  "It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them... You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new."
Starbucks is also a great case study of the "emotional brand"
Encouraging entrepreneurial endeavors Amazon  which are used to hire every employee, and measure every employee's performance include "Invest and Simplify", "Ownership" "customer obsession" Great on Amazon highlighting why principles like failing and innovating are key to success
Fostering, rewarding innovation   Google Not only are employees encouraged to spend 20% of their time working on any project they want (existing or self-initiated), they can also do skill-based volunteering outside of work. This has lead to some of its most major innovations, including Google Maps and Gmail. One of Google's core principles is innovation, which has a MAJOR focus on the Google jobs page . You should read more about Google’s 8 Pillars to Foster Innovation Also read Forbes article about Google and innovation
Empowering employees and partners Valve Software Valve is the most profitable company per employee in the world. Its Handbook is famous for how fun and flexible it is.  Read the article and handbook here . "We’ve been boss-free since 1996. Imagine working with super smart, super talented colleagues in a free-wheeling, innovative environment—no bosses, no middle management, no bureaucracy. Just highly motivated peers coming together to make cool stuff. It’s amazing what creative people can come up with when there’s nobody there telling them what to do."
Southwest is another great example with a rich culture that empowers employees. In fact, it encourages failure, too. A great Forbes article here . (Starbucks, too).
Delivering amazing experiences, and always improving Disney

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