This is the ninth year that KPMG in Canada has sponsored a survey that I would love to see conducted in the U.S. The survey, entitled Canada's Most Respected Corporations, asks 255 of the leading Canadian CEOs which companies they admire. The results are broken down into various categories and an overall ranking is given.

Financial performance, human resources management, innovation and product/service development, corporate social responsibility, high quality service/product, customer service, corporate governance, and long-term investment value are the measurements of success. The respondents are provided guidance on what should be evaluated in each of the categories. For example, human resources management includes consideration of workplace training, senior level succession planning, harmonious labor relations, and productivity enhancements via TQM.

The firm explains why it conducts the survey. "At KPMG, we believe that respect is a key, defining characteristic in the health and success of a business. In sponsoring the survey, we are proud to take a leadership role in helping determine what makes Canadian businesses respect others. KPMG is committed to ensuring that what we do as a firm and as a profession is respected, and that we associate with the Canadian companies and leaders that stand out as most respected."

What an interesting message KPMG is sending. Respect is the key word and the defining characteristic of a healthy and successful company. Interestingly, this is the ninth year of the survey. It preceded Enron's and WorldCom's downfalls and outlasted the dot.com boom.

It's so nice to see respect being identified so closely with an accounting firm and the clients that it considers the best. Part of the stated purpose of the survey is "to continue to support initiatives that raise the bar for performance and integrity in corporate Canada."

Maybe a survey like this in the U.S. would help raise the bar here.

The results of the 2003 survey may be found at www.mostrespected.ca/en/index.shtml

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