Time was when there were great companies, and then there were home builders.
Exceptional business organizations distinguished themselves as academies of professional discipline, innovation, vision, and--more often than not--an outsized fixation on the needs and experience of people we call customers.
Customers, we learn, include a conventionally defined universe of those who pay for our goods and services. And more. Customers include employee associates who invest at least part of their career arc in our business model and culture. They Include financial stakeholders, and suppliers--the all-important labor force--and, even to some extent, those who sell us goods and services, like land.
Good companies, period, and home builders seemed for decades to operate in parallel universes, according to different rules.
Whether it was merely a perception or a reality that many of the nation's large home building organizations emerged out of legacy-bound, humble, blue-collar origins blended with highly speculative real estate gamblers, it was a stretch to mention a home building company name among leaders in corporate America.
Home building organizations have earned their way into stature among corporate America's leaders in many ways, not in the least being an unswerving commitment to individuals and families who are investing in the biggest-ticket consumer durable almost any of them will buy in their lifetimes, a home.
The evolving application of professional disciplines--across design, development, manufacturing and operations, land acquisition and planning, marketing, sales and retail, engineering, materials science, logistics and sourcing, data analytics, finance, human resources, management, and technology--in the world of corporate home building has been a marvel to witness over the past decade or more.
You are getting good. You're getting to be the best in anything, not just home building. Keep up the good work. There's more ways to go.
Meanwhile, let's toast and high-five five home building organizations who rank among 1,500 firms as "Fortune Most Admired" companies for 2016.
Toll Brothers shot up in the rankings across all industry sectors from 791 to 628 overall. What's more Toll ranked #6 among all 1,500 companies in the survey in the Quality of Products/Services category behind only Apple, Walt Disney, Amazon, Alphabet, and Nordstrom, and ahead of Netflix, Facebook, Alcoa and Wynn Resorts.
Lennar, D.R. Horton, CalAtlantic, and Pulte get props, not only as leading home builders, but as home builders who lead in professional disciplines, strategy, executional excellence, and customer focus.
The fact that we can talk about home builders in the same breath, as peers, as equals in skill and proficiency and customer focus, as Apple, Disney and Amazon is a credit to what you, as people who've chosen home building as your vocation and career, have brought about.
That's not something to take for granted. Applied brilliance is not exclusively the province of those trolling the halls and open work spaces of Silicon Valley or Seattle or some other tech hotbed.
It's what you're doing. Better and better. Clearly, not one of those vaunted brands has a deeper, more engaged, more visceral, more expansive, and more financially complex relationship with real-world consumers than you do. You know, or can know, more about what people really need than all of them put together.
What's gratifying to see is that you're all finally getting recognition for that.