How to move up in the rankings.
In publishing this list, Chief Executive aims to show CEOs both where they stand with respect to their peers (awareness being the mother of improvement) and to make clear how to go about improving one's standing. Improving will require several actions that the company's CEO, division heads and general managers can take:
At the corporate level:
* Use EM to measure wealth-creation throughout the company.
* Manage your portfolio of businesses from a wealth-creation perspective. This includes sensing opportunities--entering lucrative or fast-growing businesses as well as putting businesses making sub-par contributions into other hands or shuttering them. Set the contribution hurdle rate to maximize economic value creation.
* Ensure that the company's capital structure is right. This affects the capital charge and invested capital. Equity is more expensive than debt, but too much debt can kill a company (witness recent debacles).
* Avoid overpaying for acquisitions or buying back stock at its peaks.
At the business-unit level:
* The general managers of businesses need to find the best things they can do to boost operating results. (See "Leading Your Business to Maximum Results" (CE, Jan./Feb. 2008).)
At all levels:
* Get all you can out of your assets. For years, IBM has been buying software companies so that its sales force, major leverageable asset, has more products to sell to customers. Get more out of the intangible assets--not just intellectual property. Work to improve customers' feelings about your company and its offerings, the promises your brands represent, your value propositions, etc. For more, see "The Economic Stimulus Package Inside Every Business" (CE Online, Jan/Feb 2009), "How Your Company Thinks About Prospects and Customers Determines Your Revenue" (CE, July/August 2009) and "Do Intangibles Matter?" (CE, July/August 2008.)
* Finally, manage internal and external risks across the company by taking a wide-angle lens to what could happen.--D.M.
Drew Morris (email@example.com) is the founder and CEO of Great Numbers!, which helps executives figure out how to create them, and to master the skills needed to do so repeatedly. He has no stake in any of the companies mentioned.
Michael Burdi (www.economicmargin.com/moreinfo.htm) is senior analyst for Applied Finance Group, Ltd. (AFG), a Chicago-based independent equity research advisory firm specializing in performance and valuation measurement using Economic Margin.